Under the watchful eye of the Mother Shrine, twelve-year-old Wisp ekes out a simple, but challenging life with Dad, foraging for food and losing herself in old books from the world that came before. She loves the Endless Forest ― except when the Tree Walkers come for her.
In ages past, the great rain of fire and ash destroyed the Earth, wiping out the ancients and everything they had made. Nature has reclaimed much since then, spreading out in a vast forest full of wonder and dread. Ever in fear of being taken away, she follows Dad’s rules without question while learning to survive off the land.
No longer a small child, she accompanies Dad on one of his treks, her first time more than a few steps away from the cabin. A day exploring with him is the happiest time of her life, but joy is short-lived.
A monster follows them home.
Safe in her Haven, she hides while Dad goes outside to confront the beast. She wakes alone the next morning, and waits. Alas, her hope of his return fades with the daylight. Desperate, she breaks his strictest rule and goes outside alone. Not far from the cabin, she discovers his rifle abandoned next to the monster’s strange footprints.
Afraid but determined, Wisp sets off on her own into the Endless Forest to find Dad ― before the Tree Walkers catch her.
Wow. I just finished this book a few minutes ago, and I wanted to write a review right away. This book is absolutely full of surprises. I definitely wasn’t expecting a twist this big to actually occur!
First things first. Even though this book has a twelve-year-old as a main character, this book is definitely not for middle graders. Wisp and her father have the body of Wisp’s dead mother in their house as a “shrine,” and they speak to the all the time. Wisp even describes touching her mother’s dried out hand, and looking into her body’s empty eye sockets. Even I got shivers while reading that, but Wisp and her dad think that this is normal and so they don’t think that it is creepy or weird at all. On the other hand, Wisp is still very innocent about other matters. She doesn’t even know the real difference between males and females before she goes out on her adventure to try and find her father. This story is definitely entertaining for both young adults and adults as it does not conform to just being a “children’s book” because Wisp is only twelve.
The world-building in this novel is absolutely incredible. When Wisp describes her Haven and the Tree Walkers that are trying to get her, even I felt like I was there with her. I cheered her on as she went on her adventure, discovering how other people in the dystopian society lived, and learning more about the world outside her home with her father. Wisp is not a weak little girl and she is determined to do everything in her power to find her father again.
The pacing of the plot was perfect as there were no dull moments in the entire story. I had no possible way to know about the twist that was coming before the end of the story when it actually happened. I won’t spoil anything, but that twist changed the entire story for me. I might have to re-read it now that I know the ending. There were also no editing errors even though I received an advanced copy AND was reading from computers the entire time. There weren’t even any formatting errors!
I wish that the novel had been a series, as this world has me addicted. All of the characters were so unique and had their own backstories. Even if we can’t see Wisp again, I want to learn more about the lives of the people she encountered on her journey, and learn more about how everyone has to live after the devastating war.
Overall, I was absolutely enticed by this novel. I wish I could just read it over and over again. Wisp was an inspiring main character, and the story was one of the best dystopian tales that I have ever read. This novel is definitely not one to miss.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new YA or adult dystopian novel.
I received an advanced copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 6/5