Bookish Blind Date: The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees
Good Morning Witches and Warlocks,
Today’s post is all about my second Bookish Blind Date. This time around, I went with The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees.
Now before I start my review, a little bit of backstory. My Bookish Blind Date segment is where I basically go in blind and pick a book off the shelf at my local library and give it a go. I’m not allowed to research it as much as I do my planned reads, and I stay off of GoodReads, only reading the synopsis and looking at the cover.
Going forward, I’ll be revising this segment to allow myself to actually read a few pages of the book before going forward. If I had done that, I would’ve realized that this book is in second person.
I’ve always had a rather extreme aversion to reading anything in second person. There’s just something about it that doesn’t read quite as well. That being said, once I started reading I decided that this was a chance to broaden my horizons and do something out of the box.
I’m relatively glad I did, and will consider other second person POV books in the future on a limited basis.
All right, now that I’ve talked your ear off, let’s get into the review!
The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more—until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.
To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.
The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?
I gave this book three stars, and I think that score is fair based on my experience.
This is my first time reading one of Alyssa Wees’s works, and while my journey was conflicted, ultimately I am glad to have read this work. New authors deserve an honest review more than most people realize.
This is also my first time reading a book in the second person point of view. I’ve always had a hard time understanding why anyone would write in this perspective, but I have a little more respect for it now for taking a chance like I did.
I picked this book up with high hopes. I mean, that cover though! It’s very dark and ominous, spooky. So why the three stars?
To be honest, the entire first part of the book. This book was split into two parts, vastly different from one another if you ask me, and I had completely different opinions on each part.
In a nutshell, this book is about a girl Rhea Ravenna and her family that live in a house near the beach. She’s always had disturbing visions of decay and death, and when she encounters a strange entity in her attic who claims he knows her and can take her curse away, she resolves to find out who this stranger is and considers his offer.
I had a lot of issues with the first part of this book. If the entire book was set here I probably would’ve given the book two stars, but thankfully it wasn’t. I think the concept of the first section was interesting enough, but there were also plenty of issues.
For starters, everyone in Rhea’s family’s name starts with an R. This is a big no no in the book world, and I still don’t understand why this was done. It’s confusing, especially when you have five female characters in one house, all with similar names starting with the same letter. I still can’t tell you who is Renata and who is Raisa. It’s just too similar.
Secondly, the first part of this book revolves around the MC’s house. While I can understand that that’s a part of the plot, after a certain point I was aching for the MC to just go somewhere else for a change of scenery. I mean, you can only spend so long in the same setting without getting bored, and this definitely tested my patience a bit.
The author did take us to a couple of other places throughout the first section, but it didn’t feel like enough of a change of scenery to really do much for me.
These first two issues I had were relatively minor when compared to my biggest issue. The MC drags the events of the first section out way too much. After the stranger in her attic offers to take away her curse (not saying more than that because of spoilers), Rhea reacts to certain things he says as well as to her family in strange ways.
Numerous times, she runs to her room and goes to sleep. While I can understand this reaction a time or two, it becomes a broken record, and to be honest it evolved into a plot hole after a certain point. The MC knows what she needs to do to resolve the issues presented to her, yet she keeps running to her room or saying how tired she is. She’ll just deal with it later, right?
No, that doesn’t make any sense, especially given what is happening in the book and the sense of urgency. If things get serious, you can’t just sleep through your issues. I got really close to DNF’ing at this point in the game, but I was determined to read this entire book.
Luckily, the second part of this book was quite a bit better.
There is more of a fantasy element to things (again, not saying more to avoid spoilers), and it really ties things together. Also, I found the reading to be a bit easier from this point on.
The ending was a little cliché and a bit too easy if you ask me (I didn’t really feel there was enough of a climax), but it was definitely acceptable.
Still, if I’m being honest, I would’ve preferred that the entire book be written in this fantasy perspective. There’s just not enough in the first section to carry a reader through to the better part.
Ultimately, only you can decide for yourself whether this book is worth your while. Pick up the book and read a couple pages. Who knows, maybe you’ll love it! I would definitely try another work by Wees, I would just have to read it through a little bit before making a decision to continue.
If you’d like to check out my review of this book and others on Goodreads, check it out here. Happy reading!
I think the cover of this book is great! I was ready to check out the book. I’m sorry it wasn’t as good as you anticipated. I’ve never read a book in second person and really have no desire to do so. I’m not even big on first person — it has to be really well written.
Yeah, super creepy right? It hooked me right in.
Honestly, I didn’t even realize it was in second person until I got home and then I thought “I may as well try it out.”
I’m still not completely sold on second person, but definitely have a bit more respect for it now. At some point it stopped bugging me as much as I read.
Yeah, I stick with first and third person for the most part, and I think you’re right. If the perspective and writing isn’t strong enough in first person, it can turn into a dud.