A Far Wilder Magic
Published March 8, 2022
About A Far Wilder Magic
When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. If Margaret wins the hunt, it may finally bring her mother home. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.
Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist–yet. Fired from every apprenticeship he’s landed, his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret and her bloodhound Trouble. Margaret begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.
Although they make an unlikely team, Wes is in awe of the girl who has endured alone on the outskirts of a town that doesn’t want her, in this creaking house of ghosts and sorrow. And even though Wes disrupts every aspect of her life, Margaret is drawn to him. He, too, knows what it’s like to be an outsider. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt – if they survive that long.
In A FAR WILDER MAGIC, Allison Saft has written an achingly tender love story set against a deadly hunt in an atmospheric, rich fantasy world that will sweep you away.
I really, really liked Allison Saft’s debut, DOWN COMES THE NIGHT, so my expectations for A FAR WILDER MAGIC were set pretty high. For the most part, I think the book delivered on my hopes. The setting feels raw and strange and a bit like a fantasy version of a tiny seaside English town.
Margaret’s character is tragic and closed, but so full. She is a closet full of emotions. Wes is awkward and charming and sometimes a bit doofy, but in a lost puppy kind of way that I found endearing. I loved his sisters, especially Mad and Colleen.
Probably the thing that I struggled with most– which is totally a me issue– is that the book is written in third person, present tense. I don’t know why I tripped over that so much, but I know it slowed me down in my reading because I kept translating it to past tense in my head and then confusing myself. It took a long time for my brain to get with the program on that one, unfortunately.
Other than that, I was pretty easily swept away by the story and characters. I liked the mythical, magical hunt, though I think I kept waiting for something else to happen with the hala, for it to turn out to be not what they expected. And I guess in some ways it wasn’t, but not in the ways I thought it might.
I thought the way the author set up different religious groups/cultures and the animosity between them was really interesting, too. It took me a long time to interpret some of the representation, but some of the clues are pretty obvious. I like the way this reviewer explains it on her Goodreads review.
On the whole, though, I really enjoyed reading it, especially for the moments of banter between characters and some of the sweet, awkward exchanges between Wes and pretty much anyone else. Ha.
Recommended for Ages 16 up
Margaret is a Jewish-coded character, called Yu’adir in the book. Wes and his family are Banvish immigrants (kind of a fantasy version of Irish Catholic). Both experience racism and prejudice.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat frequently.
Brief reference to two men being married. One of Wes’s sisters dates girls. Kissing between a boy and girl. References to oral sex. One scene includes nudity and sex.
Margaret remembers Shabbos dinners and celebrations with her father, and longs to learn more about her heritage. Wes has been raised to believe that the hala are holy, created by God and containing part of God’s divinity, so that they should not be killed. Both their belief systems are at odds with the majority culture and religion.
Violence against animals and animal death. Situations of peril. Some reference to racist slurs. Two boys get into a fight more than once. Some animals are injured and killed by a magical creature. A boy is also pretty severely injured by the creature.
Characters drink alcohol socially.
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