Winterwood Review: a dark poetic fairy tale

The writing of this book is beautiful. That’s my biggest take away from reading this book. It’s also the perfect modern fairytale book for this fall and winter. I didn’t read The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, but I’ve heard a lot about it in the booktube and book blog universe. So, I was really excited to read Winterwood!

I was just discussing in class fairytales and how authors recreating them are able to subvert our expectations. I believe that this book perfectly does this. It’s not necessarily a recreation of a specific fairytale, but I believe it’s a fairytale in its own right, and it’s recreating what we know about witches–which is so cool!

It’s also giving life to the woods so often featured in fairytales, except now the woods is a character in its own way and is much more sinister than we could have ever imagined.

The atmosphere and aesthetic of this book is so beautiful and immediately sucked me in. Ernshaw’s writing is so poetic and it truly felt like a like fairytale being told to me by a witch. I couldn’t get over the beautiful prose and the descriptions of scenery.

The characters she created are also so whimsical and mysterious. Nora is what I want Snow White and princesses to be like if they were also born a witch. Nora is a witch from a long line of witches, and we get to read the stories of her ancestors throughout the book and I really enjoyed each one. They are each unique and quirky in a way that made them utterly human and completely foreign due to their connection to magic.

The plot of the book was also really engaging, and had a great twist I could not get over. I also thought Oliver was such an interesting character opposite of Nora and I think their two perspectives worked so well together. If you like The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo, then this book is 100% for you!

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