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A Far Wilder Magic

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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.

384 pages, Hardcover

First published March 8, 2022

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About the author

Allison Saft

5 books975 followers
Allison Saft is the New York Times and indie bestselling author of A Far Wilder Magic and Down Comes the Night. After receiving her MA in English Literature from Tulane University, she moved from the Gulf Coast to the West Coast, where she spends her time rolling on eight wheels and practicing aerial silks.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,678 reviews
Profile Image for Robin.
310 reviews1,453 followers
March 28, 2022
↠ 5 stars

In an isolated manor on the edge of town, sharpshooter Margaret Welty lives alone and yearns for the day her mother will return. When she spots the legendary Hala in the woods one evening, she knows that the annual Halfmoon Hunt is about to commence. Last in a line of mythical beings, whosoever kills the Hala will unlock its power, giving way to riches and knowledge unimaginable. Despite the fact that her mother is long gone, winning the hunt may be exactly what Margaret needs to bring her home. The only problem: she appears to be short a partner and only teams of two can register. What she needs is an alchemist. Her wish is granted when Weston Winters appears on her doorstep, requesting an apprenticeship with her absent mother. Although they appear an unlikely pairing and he came there for different reasons, Wes is the answer Margaret has been looking for. As the hunt looms closer, the walls begin to close in, and catching the Hala may not be a matter of their intellectual prowess, but their own survival.

A Far Wilder Magic is a heart-pounding and visceral exploration of belonging and loneliness, amidst a search for the answers inside one’s heart. Following the hit that was Saft’s debut novel Down Comes The Night, I had no doubt in my mind that her sophomore novel would deliver just as much tenderness and longing as before. Full of words that drown you in their depths and an evocative fantasy atmosphere, Allison Saft has ruined me for life. This book has it all: a mysterious manor on the edge of town, conversations in a moonlit wood, and a hunt for an ancient being of great power. Few books have I ever read that felt so comforting and familiar all at once without reading very far in, as this one did. Saft’s capacity for storytelling is truly unlike anything I have ever known, seemingly effortless, yet intimate and magical at its heart. She crafts scenes that peer deep into the soul, teeming with all the yearning required to leave me an emotional wreck. The elusive Halfmoon Hunt anchored in the story suspends like a thread above the heads of the characters for a majority of the novel creating a relationship-driven internal journey, unlike anything that I was expecting. As the plot unveils, the most heartwarming romance between Margaret and Wes is brought into focus. Both outsiders in their own way, the two become closer as the hunt goes on and they are called to lean on one another more than they ever expected. The individual struggles were incredibly poignant, with Wes wanting to live and not just exist, and Margaret trying to escape the loneliness and entrapment of her family’s past. The added slow burn between them was simply exquisite and their all-encompassing love threatened to ruin me completely. Full of alchemy, myth, desperation, and sheer romance Allison Saft has created an uplifting novel that remakes the soul. Cemented in belonging, love, and the creation of a life you never thought possible.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this arc in exchange for an honest review

Trigger Warnings: blood, gore, emotional abuse, neglect, antisemitism, xenophobia, nationalism, animal death and injury, ableism, parental death (mentioned), PTSD
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.6k followers
September 2, 2022
ohhhh, i so desperately wanted to love this.

i think the concept of this story is cool. alchemy is always interesting and i think the different religions and how they play into the tradition of the hunt is done well. the characters are also great. both maggie and wes are strong, solid leads who have good characterisation and development.

however, the narrative commits one of my biggest pet peeves and it just kinda ruined my reading experience. this story has no idea what time period or place it is set in and the world-building is in absolute shambles because of it. theres a map at the beginning of the book that displays a made up land, which is great for fantasy. however, this is an urban fantasy. it takes place in the modern word with cars and phones, so how can it be a made up fantasy land? if there are cars and phones, then this cant be any earlier than the late 1880s. the clothing mentioned, societal norms, and the fact they say 25¢ is enough to buy groceries, also makes me think this is late 1880s to early 1900s. BUT! then we get mention of paramedics (thats what they call them) which isnt a term that is used until the 1950s. then it mentions a modern metallic condom wrapper, which design wasnt used until the late 1990s. so the setting is all over the place and it bugged the crap out of me. as you can tell. lol.

rant aside, i do think this story is a good bit of fun. readers who arent as sensitive as i am when it comes to continuity issues should enjoy this.

3 stars
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,203 reviews40.8k followers
May 30, 2022
Heart bounding, vicious hunt of one of the most dangerous, legendary, mystical creature with magical alchemy touches and slow burn- sweet romance between reserved, tough, neglected heroine and sweet, chevalier, good hearted, talented hero! I’m sold! Actually I was already sold when I saw Allison Saft’s name and this vivid cover which is definition of pure magic! Isn’t it so fabulous?

Margaret Welty is lone fighter, outcast of town, mostly spending her time alone in Welty Manor located in Wickdon. She already lost her father, brother and her mother dedicated herself to her researches, spending most of her time out of town, leaving her daughter by herself in the manor full of ghosts, trembling in cold, befriending her bloodhound Trouble, compelling living conditions for her own age.

Every child on Wickdon raised on legends of the hala. As Katharist church painted it as a demon, Margaret’s father has second thoughts. That’s the first time she realized her family’s different approach against church’s doctrines. She’s daughter of Yu ‘adir and they believe the Hala is sacred creature, carrier of divine knowledge.

As soon as she meets the legendary creature in front of her house when she is all alone, trying to protect herself along with her bloodhound she’s responsible of, she realizes Halfmoon Hunt will follow sooner. Killing the hala means earning high reputation, fame and it also means to unlock an ancient magical secret.

Margaret can join the hunt with her excellent shooting skills but she cannot get too far with an accomplice who must be an alchemist!

But luckily her prayers are already answered. Young Weston Winters appears in front of the mansion door, requesting to be apprentice of her mother after being fired each apprenticeship he’s landed lately. He has to take care of his mother and his sister. Working with Margaret’s mother is his last chance. Wes knows he possesses some innate magic.

He has a quiet powerful effect on people. When he speaks people always listen. He’s not alchemist yet. He doesn’t come from wealthy family and he’s undereducated but he is talented enough to fight for his last chance even though Margaret is too stubborn let him pass the mansion’s threshold.

Wes’ honest talk about his family situation warms her heart and she finally let him wait for her mother’s return but as soon as she realizes he has enough talent to help her join the hunt, she finally asks for his help.

They’re definitely unlikely team: Margaret is quiet fighter, survivor who endured to live in the outskirts for a long time. Wes already impressed by her bravery. And even though Margaret was quiet anxious to spend more time with him at the same place, she finds herself drawn into his kindness, genuineness.

But the high tension, dangerous hunt in the woods may result with unleashing dark magic! Whether they survive from the merciless conditions of nature, could they defeat the dangerous effects of dark magic which will risk their lives?

It’s action packed, exciting, well executed survival- enchanted alchemy story with sweet romance vibes! I truly enjoyed it! I’m looking forward to read next works of Ms. Saft!

Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,538 reviews9,826 followers
April 29, 2023
**4.5-stars rounded up**

When Weston Winters shows up on her doorstop, Margaret Welty is home alone and has been for quite some time.

Margaret's mother, a famous alchemist, is traveling for work and Margaret, essentially abandoned, has no idea when she will return.

Wes is an aspiring alchemist seeking apprenticeship with Margaret's mom, hence his sudden and previously unannounced arrival. Although Margaret is annoyed by his mere presence, he is able to break down some of her walls and she agrees to let him stay until her mother returns.

Margaret may have ulterior motives. The Halfmoon Hunt approaches and she is desperate to participate. The winner of the hunt, the one who is able to slay the legendary Hala, the last living mythical creature, will win fame and a large sum of money.

The catch is only teams of two are allowed to sign up. Margaret is the best shot in town, but she needs an alchemist for a partner. Perhaps Wes can serve a purpose after all.

As you can imagine, with two young people living and working together under the same roof, sparks begin to fly. It's not immediate and certainly not discussed between them, but as Margaret and Wes learn more about each other, they discover they may be more alike than they initially thought.

I was swept away with this story. Saft is a master at creating lush and fully-consuming atmospheres. I loved the world she created here; it felt very greater-Boston area, maybe mid-to-late 1920s, but with magic.

Additionally, I was impressed with the different layers woven into this story. For example, there was quite a bit of commentary on discrimination against ethnic minorities and immigrants. It never felt forced, which I appreciated. It felt like a completely natural aspect of this story.

Both Margaret and Wes had experienced outward discrimination and hostilities towards them based upon who they were and where they came from. Eventually, they were able to talk about and bond over these shared experiences.

I was moved by both of their stories and how they learned to stand strong in the face of aggression; how they both sought to make changes for the better for all.

That is just a minor part though, for me, the highlight of this book is the Halfmoon Hunt. I loved learning about it, the lore, history, dangers and watching Margaret and Wes prep for the big day. Of course it doesn't go entirely smoothly.

Drama abounds as the event nears and I had no idea where it was going or what was going to happen. I was completely head over heels for this team by that point though, I was ready to cut down the competition myself!

While Margaret and Wes have their ups and downs over the course of the story, one thing that never waned was their growing feelings for one another.

This is a YA Fantasy Romance after all and I thought the romance was splendid; so natural and satisfying to watch evolve. From the early neurotic days of pining and questioning, all the way through to the end, I was invested.

There were no eye-roll moments for me, no wishing for it to be over, it was organic and fun.

I really enjoyed Saft's 2020-release, Down Comes the Night. It was an impressive Romantic Fantasy debut. In A Far Wilder Magic, I feel like Saft's writing has really blossomed. This is a complex story and it was so well executed.

Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot wait to for Allison Saft's next book. I look forward to following her career for a long time to come!!

Profile Image for Cait Jacobs (Caitsbooks).
303 reviews14.3k followers
March 3, 2022
Allison Saft is quickly becoming one of my all-favorite authors.

This books is beautiful. From the writing to the characters, it's stunning. I was captivated from the start, immediately falling in love with our two protagonists and their journey. I also especially loved the world-building. A Far Wilder Magic place in a fantasy world similar to the 1920's, but with alchemy and magical creatures like the hala. What I loved most was the political and religious themes in this book. Margaret is a Jewish-coded character, and Wes is Irish Catholic-coded, and both of them live in a primarily (fantasy version of) Christian society that frowns on both of their religions and the Banvish (this book's version of Irish people).

I can't speak to the Jewish rep, but as someone from an Irish Catholic family that immigrated to the US in the 20's, I can say it was spot on from the stories I would hear from my grandparents. YA fantasy has played with Irish folklore and culture before, but I can't put into words how excited I was when reading Allison Saft's interpretation.

This book is more than its world and magic, it's inherently a story about characters and their relationships, and damn does it excel at that. First, the romance. It's so cute and precious and I can't talk about it without squealing. But what I really want to talk about is the family dynamics. You have one character with a loud, chaotic, but over-all supportive family, but due to the recent loss of his father, he feels he needs to be strong for them. Then you have our other main character, who is neglected by her frequently-gone mother. She also suffers from trauma that occured because of her mothers obsession with alchemy. I really loved how this aspect of the story was handled. I personally have PTSD and loved how it was presented in this book.

I genuinely can't recommend A Far Wilder Magic enough. It an incredible novel that now holds a special place in my heart.

TWs: animal death, abuse, violence, hate crimes, antisemitism, death
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC to review
Profile Image for aly ☆彡 (sick).
346 reviews1,048 followers
November 10, 2022
This book is beautifully written but I think the expectation that comes with it is what makes A Far Wilder Magic fell short.

I'm so torn to give this thousand stars or cocoon with my disappointment for what it promised me but never delivered. Well, I guess, I'm going to give this a sit and think through.

December 2, 2021

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DNF @ p.53

I always feel like such a shit when I get an ARC of a book and don't like it. Especially if it's a hard copy. I know a lot of money goes into producing those copies and dispersing them, so I really try to only ask for books I think I'm going to like. And I totally thought I was going to like this. That cover! That premise! No, don't take me on a coffee date, I want to hunt mythical monsters through a moonlit wood. That was my first impression and I totally stand by it.

Sadly, this book didn't really do it for me. The writing is clear and very pretty but the characters just felt really bland. Especially Wes. I didn't really get what his deal was. It felt like the author was trying to make him seem quirky but he just kind of seemed like a dick. The author does something I personally really don't like, where she writes what is basically historical fantasy but changes all the names around. So the "Irish" become the Banvish (with signs that say "Banvish need not apply" on New York-- I mean, "New Albion"-- shops), and Katharists (Catholics?) with fancy churches who seem to hate the Celtic-inspired religions. These stand-ins feel like a short-cut for world-building but taken out of context from their real-world counterparts, they don't really have the same significance. So I wish authors would either set a book in our world and make it actual historical fantasy or bite the world-building bullet and go the extra mile in crafting their own settings. The "wild hunt" angle which hooked me in also didn't feature in the 50+ pages I read. It was more of a Victorian-esque steampunk setting, and if I had known that, I probably wouldn't have requested a copy of this, either, because I'm not really a fan of steampunk.

I think if you like authors like Maggie Stiefvater and Emily Duncan, you'll enjoy this book. I don't particularly care for either of them, unfortunately. I know some people really like their characters and writing style but I don't. For teens who really vibe with steampunk and like those deliberately "quirky" characters that seem to be vogue among the YA set these days, you'll probably love this. I wish I had too, but I just found myself setting this book down every time I picked it up and eventually I just gave up. Thanks so much to my friend Heather for reading this with me (sorry I bailed!).

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

1.5 to 2 stars
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews113k followers
January 1, 2023
Loved Allison Saft’s writing in this book! It’s lovely and descriptive while still contained in a cozy, low-stakes fantasy setting. While there are magical elements mixed with alchemy and science, the strongest emphasis goes into the well-rounded characters and their slow burn romance. We get a great understanding of both the central characters and their outward pretenses vs. inner vulnerabilities. I also liked how the book explored religious persecution and finding belonging - these themes added more depth to the story.

I think what would have rounded off this book to be a 5-star read is restructuring the story to make sure the hunt takes up more space. We spend a long time doing internal work with the characters while external events are building up to the hunt, which is supposed to be the climax, yet it doesn’t happen until the very end of the book and is super rushed. I would have liked more care and attention given to such an important event in the story as much as the characters’ daily lives. Can’t complain too much though because I also prefer writing romantic scenes over action scenes, haha.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
235 reviews222 followers
March 8, 2022
A Far Wilder Magic is a YA fantasy novel teeming with teen angst and ancient magic.

Alone in a crumbling manor, Margaret Welty survives day by day, waiting for her mother to return from extended research trips. Her mother is a well-established alchemist who often leaves Margaret alone for months at a time. Due to her religious background, Margaret is an outsider to many in her community.

Then there is Wes Winters. Wes desperately wants to complete an alchemy apprenticeship in order to become a politician and raise his family out of their current struggles. He’s failed out of countless apprenticeships thus far and is nailing his hopes on securing one with Evelyn Welty, Margaret’s mother. When he arrives unannounced at the Welty’s manor, he is stunned to find that Evelyn is away on one of her trips. Margaret is uncertain when she will return. After much persuasion, Margaret agrees to let him stay and wait for Evelyn’s return.

Meanwhile, a hunting competition for a centuries-old fox will be starting soon. Margaret plans to enter with Wes as her alchemist so they both can achieve what they’ve always wanted.

This character-driven story alternates between Margaret and Wes’ POV. It’s an easy fantasy to immerse oneself in. There’s a bit of info-dumping in the beginning, but after that, it’s fairly straightforward.

It has themes on religious persecution, belonging, and the many facets of love.

Since the book’s synopsis emphasizes the hunt, I thought it would take up more pages than it did. Alas, the hunt only started in the last 50 (ebook) pages. I was expecting something more in the vein of Hunger Games or the like. But it didn’t take long for me to become invested in Wes and Margaret’s shenanigans. I enjoyed watching their relationship grow and evolve.

This novel works as a standalone, but I really hope that this isn’t the last I’ll see of these characters.

YA Fantasy is hit-or-miss for me, but this one worked so well. I think Adult Fantasy readers may enjoy this book too. Readers who want to dip their toes in Fantasy might find this a good place to start as well.

Thank you to Wednesday Books for an arc provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for alaska.
236 reviews438 followers
March 19, 2022
Let’s just say reading this on the bus wasn’t the greatest idea because 1) I was freaking out because Wes + Maggie <3 2) there were tears in my eyes and 3) I needed to catch another bus right when I reached a little cliffhanger so I was STRESSED.

r a t i n g - o v e r v i e w :
characters: 5/5
writing: 5/5
vibes: 5/5
plot: 4/5
enjoyment: 5/5

representation: Jewish and dyslexic main characters, gay and sapphic side characters.

trigger/content warnings: animal death and injury, antisemitism, nationalism and xenophobia, PTSD, neglect and emotional abuse by a parent, mentions of parental death, mentions of death of a child, graphic descriptions of blood and wounds.

I don’t know whether Allison Saft is an angel or the devil herself, but what I do know is that she’s, without a doubt, one of my favourite storytellers. Whether we’re talking about the characters she crafts that steal my heart or her words that literally make me drown in the atmosphere she created, or perhaps about everything she hides between the lines; I adore it.

A Far Wilder Magic completely lived up to my expectations, which says… quite a lot, given it was one of my most anticipated releases of 2022 and I, well, cried when I got the arc.

Wes and Maggie’s story is one that is definitely heavily focused on romance, but for me, above all, it’s a story of these two characters and the internal conflict they have to work through. Their emotional journey and growth is the heart of this book and though it’s definitely character-driven, too, it’s undeniably emotionally driven as well.

As for the external plot… I’ll warn you that not much really happens. It will definitely be something some readers will have a problem with, but for others (me included) it will be greatly appreciated since this makes the focus on the internal plot (aka the emotional journey) more powerful.

Here I am, once again wanting to analyze this entire story because there’s so much to it, but I want to let you discover it yourself. All I’ll say is that it’s incredibly strong.

"What is there for her, beyond the looming wall of her mother's return. Who is she without the ache of her absence and the fear of losing her again?"

What I also really loved about A Far Wilder Magic is the themes it explores. It talks about religion which was really interesting, but it also deals with parental neglect and emotional abuse in a way I haven’t really seen in fantasy before. Maggie’s journey is one of learning to see your worth and who you are beyond your pain. It was written with so much care and definitely made me tear up because it hit.

Plus, though Wes definitely helps Maggie in her journey, her struggles weren’t romanticized at all. It wasn’t like he came into her life and everything was okay, but she really had to learn. She had to learn how to accept love after what she’d been through, and especially learn that she deserved it.

I definitely saw my own insecurities in her and I’m sure more people will find hope in her journey, as I did.

Now, enough of my whole psychological stuff, let’s talk about who Maggie and Wes are beyond their pain! Just thinking of them makes me emotional because I—I adore them. Allison Saft has crafted very realistically flawed yet lovable characters. Wes is such a caring himbo and (definitely) the sunshine to Maggie’s grump.

As I said, this book focuses heavily on romance and I’m RUINED. Their love for each other is so big and I was just full-on crying on the bus (well, for multiple reasons BUT OKAY). It just made me feel so much and… I can’t believe Allison Saft invented romance, y’all.

"All her life, love has been a scarce and precious resource, something earned or denied, something she starved for every day. But with Wes, love is different. It is reckless and inexhaustible. It is freely given. It simply is."

Allison Saft’s sophomore novel is one with so much love and hope in it. I adored everything from the themes it explores, to the characters and their beautiful romance, to, of course, the amazing writing and atmosphere! It’s a book I can see myself returning to for comfort since I already read it twice before its release (and I wanna read it a third time…).

I fell deeply in love and cried a lot of tears on the bus, but it was all worth it. A Far Wilder Magic is not to be missed and I will already be looking forward to Allison Saft’s next masterpiece.

b o o k - o v e r v i e w :

One-sentence pitch: When Wes goes to Welty Manor in hopes of getting an apprenticeship so he can become an alchemist, he finds nothing but a girl his age named Margaret who takes care of the house on her own, waiting for her mother to return home, and before they know, Wes and Maggie have no one to depend on except for each other in a magical hunt.

Definitely read it if: you are a sucker for grumpy x sunshine relationships, you like fantasy books that heavily focus on romance, you love atmospheric fantasy, you’re interested in reading about themes like parental neglect, self-isolation, and religion in fantasy.

Maybe skip it if: you tend to like (external) plot-driven books more, you don’t like flowery writing.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review! This did not affect my opinions in any way.

All quotes are from an advance copy and may differ in the final publication.
Profile Image for charlotte,.
3,132 reviews820 followers
February 23, 2022
On my blog.

Rep: Jewish-coded mc, dyslexic mc, gay side character, sapphic side characters

CWs: antisemitism, animal injury, animal death, gore, parental neglect, panic attacks

Galley provided by publisher

A Far Wilder Magic is a must-read for fantasy romance fans, a book that utterly consumes you, that you finish reading and find it’s thrown you straight into a reading slump. On some level, I’ve been thinking about this book for every minute of every day since I read it.

The story follows Wes Winters and Maggie Welty, two outsiders and polar opposites, who team up, each for their own reason, to capture a mythic creature and achieve what they most want. And, of course, they end up falling in love along the way.

I loved Down Comes the Night when I read it and, like a fool, thought that that couldn’t be topped. And then Allison Saft goes and proves me wrong. I’m not sure I can find the words to explain just how much I adored this book. From the writing to the world to the characters in it, I loved every aspect so much. Every time I’ve attempted to review this book, all I’ve ended up with is some kind of nonsensical babbling about how much I love it. I can’t guarantee that this review won’t just go the same way.

Let me start at what first struck me about the book, and that’s Maggie and Wes. Two POV characters who I loved from the first instant I met them? Thank you very much! Give me a relationship between characters who are complete opposites but who, somewhat begrudgingly at first, find comfort in one another and I will simply burst into tears. This is perhaps partly the reason I can’t review this book very well. I just start crying whenever I think about Maggie and Wes.

The worldbuilding and writing tie together for me. The writing is gorgeous and evokes the world so well, you feel like you could be right there with Maggie and Wes. I mean, I knew this would be the case from Down Comes the Night, but do you ever read a book where you know something’s gonna be how it is, and still find yourself in complete awe of the writer’s craft? That’s how I felt reading A Far Wilder Magic.

In all, I would rank this book as perhaps one of the best I’ve read this year and, if not that, then definitely one of my absolute favourites. This is a book I would say you really really don’t want to miss out on in 2022.
Profile Image for J  (Midnight Book Blog).
162 reviews558 followers
February 15, 2023
What a cute lil magical story! This was a pretty character driven romance, with a solid magic system backing it up. The hunt did end up taking a small portion of the novel, which I think made the pacing feel a little off as it was very built up. But if you like grumpy/ray of sunshine tropes (which apparently I do), definitely give this one a try!

Click here for the full review on my blog!

*ARC received in exchange for honest review
Profile Image for Laura.
1 review
May 21, 2022
Can we talk about the fact that this book is an incredibly blatant Fullmetal Alchemist ripoff?

This book was suggested to me on Twitter, advertising itself for fans of The Scorpio Races and Fullmetal Alchemist, and while I haven't read The Scorpio Races yet, I'm a big fan of FMA, so naturally, this book piqued my interest. I was active in the FMA fandom for years and know the lore and characters well, therefore, when I read the summary, I couldn't help feeling like I've met the two main characters before:

After this, I definitely needed to read the book to decide whether the similarities were "homage" to FMA and its characters, a repurposed Royai fanfic, or a blatant ripoff. I feel like this book, while probably being very enjoyable to those who are not familiar with Fullmetal Alchemist, managed to do the latter.

Let's talk about the main characters first. Wes and Maggie look and act exactly like Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye; down to so many character-specific details that anyone who is familiar with FMA would notice them from a mile away.

Maggie is blonde-haired and brown-eyed, and wears her hair pinned up with a tortoiseshell barrette. She's strict and headstrong and very organized —did I mention that she's also a sharpshooter?

Maggie lives alone in a shoddy, abandoned manor in the countryside. Her mother is a renowned alchemist who buried herself in her alchemical research after the death of Maggie's brother and the subsequent disappearance of Maggie's father, to the point that she ended up neglecting Maggie and eventually disappearing on her to pursue clues about the Philosopher's stone. Maggie is thus left to tend to their house alone until her mother returns. That is where Wes finds her when he visits their town in hope of scoring an apprenticeship under Maggie's mother.

Riza's backstory is very similar in FMA: after the death of her mother, her father —a renowned alchemist — buries himself in his research, to the point of neglecting Riza, their house and his own health, and Riza is left to tend to their empty countryside manor alone, until Roy appears on their doorstep, hoping to score an apprenticeship under Master Hawkeye.

As for Weston, I think the similarities are even more uncanny here. Wes has black hair that is very specifically described to be "shorn close" at the nape but with a messy fringe he likes to slick back when he wants to look more put-together (like Roy does in FMA), dark brown/black eyes, a "round, boyish face", and a long black trench coat he loves to drape over his shoulders like a cape. This is especially funny because Roy's coat is practically a meme in the FMA fandom .
There are literal memes about how Roy can't wear his coat properly. There is a friggin' blog dedicated to the coat.

As for his backstory, Wes is a city boy who comes from a large and poor minority family. His father died two years before the current story, leaving his widowed mother to raise Wes and his four sisters (all of whom are named after FMA characters, mind you). Wes, however, has big dreams. He aims to become an alchemist to launch his career as a politician and dismantle the fascist government of New Albion, as only state-employed alchemists can become politicians in their country. He is ambitious, charming, a real sweet-talker and a womanizer, but he tries to hide his wit by acting, well... like a himbo most of the time. He's been kicked off all his previous apprenticeships (either due to his dyslexia/ADHD or his ethnicity) and he seeks out Maggie's mother as a last resort.

Roy in FMA is pretty much the same: a city boy whose parents die when he is young, who ends up being raised by his aunt, a bar (brothel) owner, amongst many girls who work there, who Roy addresses as his "sisters". His dream is to become a politician and dismantle the fascist government of Amestris, but for that, he needs to become a State Alchemist first, and that is why he seeks out Riza's father. He's ambitious, charming, a real sweet-talker and a womanizer who acts like a dumb himbo to hide his actual wit. He's widely headcanoned to be half-Xingese, and I've seen a several people say that he is dyslexic or ADHD-coded.

Weston ends up learning flame alchemy throughout the book (like Roy) and even draws a transmutation circle onto the back of his hand once. :)

Can you see the pattern here?

But if you can't, I still have a few things to mention:
- The setting (both are set in an 1920s America-ish world)
- There are few vague mentions of the country's history (enacting expansive politics, conquering other nations, repressing minorities, using state-alchemists as weapons of war) which made me believe that New Albion had its own "Ishvalan War of Extermination", somewhat diluted with some elements of IRL WWII history and the Holocaust.
-The alchemical terminology used in the book is pretty much the same as in FMA, which wouldn't be a problem in itself because there are only so many ways you can interpret historical descriptions of how alchemy was performed, and Arakawa naturally doesn't have copyright on common Alchemical terms. However the book quoted the whole "One is All and All is One" monologue from FMA word by word The principle of "One is All and All is One" does not exist in historical Alchemy, it was made up by Arakawa.
-The way Alchemy is performed, especially the way transmutation circles are used, is the same as in FMA
- Alchemists encoding their research in other books to keep them secret
-An in-world counterpart to Roy's ignition gloves actually made an appearance somewhere near the end
-Evelyn (Maggie's mother) literally looks like a genderbent Hohenheim. Long blonde hair pulled into a ponytail at the nape of her neck, gold eyes, glasses, very tall, brown trench coat. Even the fucking suitcase.
-SPOILERS: Evelyn tried to bring Maggie's dead brother back with Human Transmutation and failed. That is essentially why she ended up leaving Maggie alone, to pursue the Philosopher's stone and resurrect Maggie's brother with its power. Her character is basically an amalgamation of three FMA characters: Hohenheim, Izumi Curtis and Berthold Hawkeye (Riza's father). The whole human transmutation scene plays out THE EXACT SAME WAY as Ed and Al's failed resurrection of their mother in episode 1 — down to the point of Evelyn transmuting a charred, twisted body with inverted joints and protruding ribs, incapable of movement and survival.

-Maggie and Wes have a scene where Maggie promises to shoot Wes if he ever deviates from the rightful path during his political career. Riza and Roy have the exact same conversation in FMA.

The list goes on but I rambled long enough. Some praise, for the end: the prose was beautiful and captivating and I liked the main characters (although I cannot decide whether I liked Maggie and Wes themselves or I just liked them because they were copied and pasted from FMA into a world that is technically the same). A lot of people criticized the slow-moving plot but I think this book was primarily character-focused.

The original plot the author came up with (the hunt) is done in like three chapters and is thoroughly underwhelming, but the buildup to it was sweet and I loved the escalating tension between the main characters. My heart is bleeding because under different circumstances I know I would've enjoyed this book. However, I think I speak for all of Saft's readers who are fans of FMA when I say that the book left a very bitter aftertaste in my mouth, because while a lot of authors go around publishing repurposed fanfiction (i.e.: Fifty Shades of Grey, The Love Hypothesis, etc.) those were all originally Alternate Universe stories. This is not an AU story. This is technically an FMA-inspired story about FMA-inspired characters in an FMA-inspired world. It is not an AU.

What I said at the beginning still stands. I consider this book not just a reiteration or a homage to FMA; the characters and the world were downright copied from the show and I think this is not okay.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,162 reviews1,518 followers
April 14, 2022
A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft is a standalone young adult fantasy novel with a lot of romance in the story. The story in A Far Wilder Magic is told by changing the point of view between the characters to show all sides.

Margaret Welty has been living alone waiting for her alchemist mother to return from her latest adventure when spots the legendary hala. Margaret knows that seeing this creature means the Halfmoon Hunt will be beginning soon and the winner will be blessed with fame and riches.

Weston Winters wants nothing more than to become an alchemist but his chances of realizing his dream are dwindling. Weston figures his last shot is Master Welty taking him on as an apprentice but when he arrives at her home there is only her surly daughter. Margaret agrees to let Weston stay and wait if he would only join the hunt with her with both looking to please her mother.

A Far Wilder Magic is the second book written by Allison Saft and the second book of hers that I’ve read. I really enjoyed her debut novel so I was expecting to find myself really engaged and enjoying this one too but that didn’t happen as much this time. The story in here had so much more potential in my eyes than what I found as it really became one that crawled along at such a slow pace until the very end. This wasn’t a bad story but when finished the pacing and the feeling of just wanting more that I found for me had this one turning into a just so-so read.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for ash ✩‧₊˚.
293 reviews764 followers
March 16, 2022
this was such a fun fantasy read, with it’s slowburn, grumpyxsunshine, trauma exploration and Jewish-inspired elements! The writing was so beautiful and this book was a bit long for me but I enjoyed it overall.

Final rtc.
Profile Image for aileen | ✾.
327 reviews205 followers
August 10, 2022
“How many times will she watch someone leave this place and never look back, while she is left here like a ghost to haunt it?”

First of all, the cover is gorgeous.

It's the first thing that caught my eye and the main reason why I picked this up. And since I've always been a sucker for the mystical and all that stuff, this sounded like the perfect read for me. Which it was.

But I also need to be honest; it's a slow book. Very slow. It took me almost a month to finish it due to the long chapters and little time on my part.

If you're looking for an action-laden hunt through the forest or a flaming hot romance, this one ain't for you. A Far Wilder Magic is a strongly character-driven book. It is about relationships, found family, different religions and beliefs, and magic. The world-building is only secondary.

I hope you will enjoy and cherish this as much as I did!
Profile Image for Allison Saft.
Author 5 books975 followers
Want to read
January 10, 2022
Hello! We are just about two months out from publication, and I am SO excited to share this book with you. I wrote A Far Wilder Magic for those whose dreams feel impossible and for those who feel dreaming is impossible. Writing this book felt like letting light into a room that had been locked for a long time. It’s about the sharp edges of ambition and the search for belonging and love. If you need it, I hope you find comfort in its pages.

I don’t engage with reviews on Goodreads, so I’m here only to share a quick update and the content warnings! If you have any questions, you can submit a question on my profile or reach out on Twitter, Instagram, or my website's contact form.

I’m currently running a preorder campaign running for the book, which is open to international readers! If you submit a proof of purchase of a library request, I will send you some art. I’m also offering signed and personalized copies through my local independent bookstore, Kepler’s Books and Magazines. You can find more details here.

If you like the quiet, yearning whimsy Scorpio Races and the torturous slow-burn between two deeply oblivious and deeply in-denial people, this one’s for you. I hope you fall in love with Margaret and Wes as deeply as I have. Thank you so much for reading!

Content warnings: animal death and injury (the dog lives!); antisemitism; nationalism and xenophobia; ableism; PTSD; neglect and emotional abuse by a parent; mentions of parental death; and graphic descriptions of blood and wounds.
Profile Image for Sylvie .
634 reviews822 followers
April 20, 2022
3 out of 5 stars.

I may not have given this book 5 stars, but Allison Saft knows exactly how to create the perfect atmosphere and make her readers become consumed by the stories she has created.

Also, this may seem like an odd confession since I gave both of her books 3 stars, but I will definitely reread them in the future.

Whenever I see this cover my mind immediately thinks that it's a classic, then I see the name of the author and realize it is indeed not a classic.

I've read Allison Saft's debut novel and I liked it, so obviously I got curious in this one as well.
Profile Image for Zainab.
381 reviews501 followers
February 27, 2023
if you're looking for a stand-alone fantasy book, I've got you covered. This BOOK. I was not expecting to like it this much. The characters are phenomenal, especially our beloved Wes. I love him so much.
It's not very heavy fantasy either so if you're looking for something light and not much time-consuming, I 100% recommend this.
March 8, 2022
Run, don't walk, to purchase this one today! *all the heart eyes*

The more dangerous the monster, the more glorious the hero who slays it.

Where do I even begin this review? I literally, from the moment I started, fell in love. There are just some books, ya know, that feel right when you start them, like they were made for you at this exact moment in your life-this is one of them. And from that final page, all I’ve thought about-day and night-is getting to this review. So many thoughts. So many emotions. So much gratitude. I request arcs, sure, but when I sent out my request with this one, my heart went with it.

“Besides, dreams don’t always have to be practical. That’s why they’re dreams. And now ours live and die together.”
“Together.” It’s such a foreign concept.
He grins at her. “It’s you and me against the world, Margaret.”

It began with the cover-that beautiful, unique cover-I saw it and just had to know more. Upon further inspection, I just knew it was a book I was going to devour, to love, to cherish-it did not, at any juncture, disappoint. My heart leapt into my throat the minute I saw it in my inbox and I plotted for days to make time for it. I’m a simple girl-give me a steady, slow-build fantasy with a slow-burn romance…I’m sold.

She pauses, drawing in a shaky breath when her throat begins to burn. She will not cry—not in front of him. “I’m asking you again, Mr. Winters. I won’t ask again after this. Please stay. There’s no one else I can ask.”
“God,” he says softly. “Please don’t look at me like that.”

I don’t ask for much, so when a book delivers just that-my simple tastes-it better be well-written and deliver in spades. Don’t worry, it did its job splendidly. And here I am, days after finishing and DYING to write this review, and I am, of course, sick [again] and not saying things how I had planned on saying them due to my foggy mind-I apologize to this beautiful, amazing, mesmerizing book, because it deserves so much better, but I also cannot wait another moment to spill my fresh thoughts onto the page, so bear with me.

The day he met her, streaked in dirt and despising him, he never imagined she could do this to him. How could Margaret ever think he’d lose himself to alchemy when he has already hopelessly lost himself to her?

Maggie and Wes were two characters that made my heart soar simply because they were written into existence. The flip and play on grumpy/sunshine (can I call Wes sunshine? I don’t know. And can I call Maggie Grumpy? No…she’s just steadfast, serious, and unsure, but...) where the female wasn’t bubbles and sunshine was refreshing.

Girls like her don’t get to dream. Girls like her get to survive. Most days, that’s enough. Today, she doesn’t think it is.

And I really enjoyed Wes being the goofy, playing-at-being-light-hearted while undoubtedly tortured underneath hero.

Misfortune has hardened them both. It’s roughened her, but it’s polished him to a sheen. If he lets the world believe he is all surface, then there is nothing to expose. Beneath her implacable stare, however, he is utterly naked.

It was nice to see that, while he put up a good front, he had inner demons, too. Wes felt he couldn’t show them, so it made his character far more complex than what the heroine could see.

He’s survived this long by letting everyone believe he’s selfish and shallow. It’s better that way. No one knows how to hurt you if you always play the fool. No one can truly be disappointed in you if they don’t expect any better.

The depth of these two characters pulled at my heartstrings so brutally, sneaking slowly into my bloodstream and pumping into my heart resolutely and without invitation. They were embedded in my DNA far before I even realized it, and that is truly the sum of my favorite kinds of stories. The stories where nothing big is happening at all, just small moments building up into a storm of wants, needs, and desires, of heart and soul being woven into every page, fracturing your heart in tiny fissures until you are a part of the book as much as it is a part of you. You live and die as these characters breathe and fight and mourn for one another-you are them and they are you, and there is nothing you can do about it but hope it doesn’t end in heartbreak. Dramatic, yes, but no less true.

Love is not the sharp-edged thing she’s always believed it to be. It’s not like the sea, liable to slip through her fingers if she holds on too tight. It’s not a currency, something to be earned or denied or bartered for. Love can be steadfast. It can be certain and safe, or as wild as an open flame. It’s a slice of buttered bread at a dinner table. It’s a grudge born of worry. It’s broken skin pulled over swelling knuckles.
It’s not enough anymore to do this for Evelyn. Maybe it’s for Wes, too.

I can’t even begin to explain how hard it is for me to connect to a book-truly connect-to the point of not caring what happens so much as the ride is worth the while. Does that make sense? Maybe not every moment plays out as you’d hope (though, I could argue that almost everything I could possibly wish for comes to fruition), but every moment stays with you, builds up to something, makes you feel. At a certain point I realized I didn’t even know what the hunt was, just that I was ecstatic it was there and we were living in it.

As she watches him walk away, the answering squeeze of her heart is as distressing as it is painfully familiar. How many times will she watch someone leave this place and never look back, while she is left here like a ghost to haunt it?

I think that is partially what scares me about my precious book-that maybe others, like me, won’t understand that this isn’t a days long hunt (where did I even get this from? I was straight up imagining a Hunger Games situation??) even though, honestly, I should have known better. Most of this book is literally a crescendo of happenings leading up to the hunt-the hunt does not last long, and I only say this in forewarning for those who might not know and might expect more. If you want MORE hunt, LESS build-up/preparing/small town hatred and bias, this simply is not for you. Me? I’d say my rating is fairly on the nose, but my heart is not so obvious.

If she must be seen tonight, she will be incandescent.

I like both scenarios, if it’s not clear in literally every other fantasy review known to man I’ve written or in the earlier part of this review-I both LOVE books where we have more buildup, characterization, less action based but a wonderful payoff of heart and depth in the end, and books that are more about getting deeper into the grit of the moment that the book was aptly named for. I like both. But there is, now that I am a more seasoned reader and more self aware as to what works for me, a common key that makes or breaks a story for me: character depth and character interactions.

As hours became days became weeks, she realized that if her mind could protect her from remembering Evelyn’s failed experiment, it could protect her from this pain, too. She could learn how to make the sting of abandonment fade into numbness. She could learn to detach until it felt like she wasn’t real at all.

That’s right-you can have the most romantic and perilous beast of a book but it doesn’t mean squat to me if you haven’t built up a relationship between our main characters or fleshed out their thoughts, desires, and inner selves thus making them into actual relatable people. I may be picky…but I think anyone who doesn’t value character development can’t possibly have lasting love for a book or series. If your love for the main characters fizzles out, what do you even remember about said book or series? How can any tension or high action moments make your heart palpitate to the point you can't breathe if characters' actions and justifications weren't built on what all you knew the characters struggled through and grew from to get to that point? Just my opinion, though. There is no lack for character love here, at least on my part.

Today, one of them could die. There’s nothing for them to tell each other that they don’t already know. He sees it in her eyes. He’s tasted it on her lips. She writes it on his skin every time she touches him. But in all his mother’s legends, there is binding power in words, and Wes doesn’t want to die without his soul entwined with hers.

And, to really-truly-end it with a final thought, this novel also heavily touches base on religion as a means for being outcasts of society. While I may not have wholly grasped every concept, I loved the way the author made me connect to the characters because they were outsiders. That may be the loosest way we were meant to connect, but I fell hard for our two outcasts, their struggles, the way they felt a kinship to one another and never judged the other for who they were or where they came from. Cast aside and bullied, this made for some very amazing scenes that became favorite moments.

This is nothing more than they’ve already exchanged. A sacrifice for a sacrifice, a dream for a dream. Their bargain is its own kind of alchemy.

I still feel so honored to have received this novel early from the publisher and count my blessings that one of my most anticipated releases became a quick instant favorite. I don’t know that this will be for everyone, my closest friends included, but it was for me, and that’s really all that matters. The depth, the pusle-pounding, the slow-burn of so many things (romance notwithstanding), and the creepy vibes the hala emitted…I’d say this book ticked all my favorite boxes. I hope that so many more people agree with me, because I can’t wait to gush about it over and over as people around me discover this wonderful gift of a book.

I've recently decided to start a friend scale for my closest friends (WHOSE READING PREFERENCES I KNOW INSIDE AND OUT) on if they'd enjoy it since they almost always ask if I think they'd like a book. It's really just for fun because, honestly, I hook them with sending quotes and fangirling with my favorite passages and that's generally how they decide, but either way, here it is.


Arielle- You might find a lot of enjoyment, but I didn't envision you reading it at any point
Jen- No
Cassie- Not likely
Anna- Yes! I really do think you will enjoy it! You'll have your qualms, but, well. Oh well.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
descriptive text here


Slow-burning, torturous, intoxicating-I am irrevocably in love with this book.

I couldn’t be more obsessed if I tried. Any book that I read through a migraine (from literally beginning to end) and have to read late at night with my eyes barely open and I STILL love and cherish it-there’s something to be said about that. I don’t think it’ll be for everyone, but it was perfect for me. I am so grateful to the publisher for this arc and I cannot wait to read it again.

Profile Image for Ava Reid.
Author 5 books1,615 followers
September 14, 2021
My official blurb: "Tender, intimate, and atmospheric, A Far Wilder Magic is unlike anything on the YA shelf. With devastatingly gorgeous prose, intricate worldbuilding, and an utterly original plot, Saft weaves a love story that will tear you apart and then stitch you whole again."

With this book, Allison has created two of my favorite characters of all time: Margaret, a survivor who shuns the outside world for its cruelty, and Wes, a dreamer who would do anything for the world to love him. As with all Allison Saft books, AFWM is a book about the healing power of love--but it is also an exploration of nationalism, of the American dream, and who history allows to play the hero.

ALSO: Wes is my perfect son. He can come over for playdates but he is my child. Okay? Okay. I will not allow any Wes slander in my presence.

ALSO ALSO: In case you needed any more reasons to read this beautiful book, there is a DOG!!! His name is Trouble and he is the sweetest boy (and do not fear, he lives!)
Profile Image for Kaya.
368 reviews62 followers
November 16, 2022
A Far Wilder Magic is a story that is unique and wholly magical. On that note, Allison Saft’s brilliant character work and atmospheric prose reminds me of all the best parts of The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Steifvater. Both authors create complex characters and develop them in the most beautiful, brilliant ways. Also, this cover is absolutely jaw-dropping.

Margaret (or Maggie) Welty is a practical, clever, and all-around incredible girl. She would do anything to earn her mother’s love, and so when she first meets Weston, she hates him. I loved getting to see her slowly become vulnerable, and begin to heal from the emotional abuse wrought upon her by her mother. Also, can we just appreciate that Maggie is a great shot with a gun? AND SHE HAS AN ADORABLE DOG NAMED TROUBLE. AND A HORSE NAMED SHIMMER. I want to be friends with her so badly.

Weston Winters has his sights set on becoming a great alchemist and changing the world…once he doesn’t fail out of an apprenticeship. He’s the only boy in a chaotic family of girls, and he’s effortlessly charming. His sunshiney contrast to Maggie’s grumpiness was everything to me. Gosh, I love him.

Okay, but can we talk about the setting for a moment? The majority of this story takes place in a 1920s sort of time period, complete with a seaside village and lush forest. When the whole “magical foxhunt” thing starts, you’re already deeply entrenched in the atmosphere of this book. And oh my gosh! If Down Comes The Night feels like winter, A Far Wilder Magic somehow manages to capture the very soul of autumn. This world is so rich and real in my mind. How are writers so talented someone please explain.

“The water is rough tonight, frothing itself into a mist so thick she can scarcely see the moon beyond a veil of silver.”

and now: the best part.

The romance is so slowburn and beautiful and perfect. In a world tinged by magic, Weston and Maggie’s connection feels so intricately human. So infinitely real. The amount of pining, longing, and sheer want is so entrancing. But you also know to let their relationship run its course because as wonderful as the love story is, the character development that comes of it is chef’s kiss. As far as the plot goes, there’s very little action and high-stakes excitement. Where the real heart of the story lies is in the characters and their relationships. And that’s why I say it reminds me of The Raven Cycle.

“All her life, love had been a scarce and precious resource, something earned or denied, something she starved for every day. But with Wes, love is different. It is reckless and inexhaustible. It is freely given. It simply is.”

And oh, it isn’t just the romantic relationships! I love the Winters family and their loving chaos. There are so many well-developed characters in this book SEND HELP. I can’t just keep screaming about the same stuff this entire review but Allison Saft does character so well! I also loved how Weston was dyslexic, and how there was a running theme of religion and how people harbor such prejudice over those who are different. I appreciated how you can take the basic theme of the atrocities of nationalism and warped biases, and apply it to Jews and African-Americans and countless other minority groups who have suffered because of how much irrational hate some people have. In fact, Margaret specifically is Jewish, and she faces so much prejudice. I’m not Jewish myself but I’ve heard from other reviewers who are that the representation is fantastic!

To be perfectly honest, this book did everything right. The writing, the characters, the romance…I loved every wondrous second of it. Obviously, this is 5/5 stars for me. Thank you so much Wednesday for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

pre-read: y'all, wednesday books was kind enough to send me an ARC I'm screaminggg. hoping this book is as good as DCTN!

a sweet love story!
a seaside village!
a gorgeous cover!

someone save me and my bank account.
Profile Image for Booktastically Amazing.
470 reviews391 followers
September 2, 2022
This is a book you have to be in the mood for.

Rating: ✨✨✨ 3.4

Perhaps life sucks at the moment, maybe exams are piling up and the possibility of having a heart attack is really apparent. And to clear your mind, you do what? Talk to someone, pfft. NOPE. Read a book.

Not that that is the healthiest way of coping with messes in real situations, but I've never willingly done anything considered healthy, so why start with stressful factors?

And you see... you choose this book. Thinking it'll be a thriller, quick, Hunger Games- esque, death everywhere- you know, the usual thing you would hide from the FBI. Sometimes this book worked for me, cogs turning in sync, movement erratic and deliciously rapid, however then the car would give up halfway. LEAVING YOU HOMELESS AND IN AGONY.

How did cogs turn to failing car and then to homelessness, I don't know. I never claimed my brain functioned properly🙂
(why is that face so passive aggressive and accepted as an emoji, but when I do it, I get the cops called on me. I was holding a knife, but helloooo discrimination, the knife was color neutral)

Anyhow, I wasn't into this book as much as I needed--nay--WAS DYING to be. The literal chemistry moments failed to entertain me, something that normally would have me staring in awe but this time, I was just not feeling it.

The romance, for instance, was sad. And pitiful. And I want it a hug with warm cocoa, because it needed a break. The break was indeed taken, for half of the book. Now, can you explain to me how the dude was a total brat and still ended up with the girl? The girl whose heart was made of stone, who yearned for something other than rude hateful glances and vitriol. THE GIRL WHO WAS SMART. Fell for this guy? Pffft.

Oh, I'm sorry, I thought it was a joke.

And okay, there were moments where it was alright? The glances, those two seconds they made eye contact 300 pages into the book. *sigh* That one was felt and appreciated. But in all sincerity, not all the romance was dead. It was just in a very long, very precise, very messy coma. On a good note, there was a kiss that I liked, one where I was holding my breath in anticipation AND KABAM LABAM, interrupted.
I. will. murder. that. person.

And yes, I'm all for slow burn romance, it's torture, but the kind we like- yet there wasn't the palpable tension between the characters that you would think would be present in this book.

Yes, I did throw tantrums.
Yes, my eyes were burning.
Also yes, I swooned when the Blob (as I've dubbed the main guy) said some nice things. *mumbling* I can see planned ish when I see it, but it was sweet. Heheh

And you know what? I think I didn't like the romance that much because of the double POV. In this case, I didn't want to know what was going through Blob's head. With Dual POVS it's sort of like a 'Will this suck-', scenario that my mind automatically goes down in and that's totally on me. So I go into it hoping against fate that neither of the characters are whiny, playas in Spanish.

But the Blob?????? I had wishes for him. He was an alchemist for goodness’s sake, one that was supposed to be familiar with chemistry reactions and yada yada, not one that I wanted to hit because he made so. so. so. many bad decisions.
Not even good bad decisions.
But like, get drink from stranger- almost destroy your entire work because of it- decision.

Also, on top of that, he had A LOT OF CHAPTERS LIKE YOO.

However, I'll give him some slack because his family was awesome.
That was kind of hypocritical, anyways-

WAIT A SECOND THOUGH- don't think I didn't see the gender roles twist, where the guy in this book was more soft handed and caring, the girl was rough and critical of everyone. That's a bonus star from me!

And you know what I liked? How the MC was portrayed. Yes, she was strong and fearless and this force of nature, but she also was broken and yearning for human love. They both were, and for that reason, I cannot give this book less than 3 stars. Her issues were so valid and real, so much so that I found myself empathizing with her pain. Even when I hadn't felt anything close to what she was experiencing, before.

The Blob wasn't all bad either (ignore the ranting up above, Booksy was not coherent enough so she's trying to fix it), he had these uh- the thingy- *snaps fingers*- these moments when he didn't tempt me to drown him. Si, those.

After taking a few steps back (more like a few weeks) after reading, I can tell that this book was one I could've loved if I had been in the right space of mind. The plot was interesting enough, though I still believe the ending came out of NOWHERE. Like I was in the middle and then the end was all 'Hellooooo *giggle gigle* I'M HERE WITCHES-' and it was over. I wasn't given the proper opportunity to get used to the world and magic systems.

On a closing note, I did rant a lot, but it's not because the book was bad per se, it was just because the book wasn't for me. I crave fast passionate paragraphs, flirty glances, tension galore, agony moments whereas this book was distance love, slow-fast-slow-end type of pace and the odd sprinkle of family drama that we so amazingly enjoy.

(this was a mess-)
(like me-)
(OooOO, we match😏)

~👑Special thanks to Netgalley and the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!👑~


I don't know if it was me or the book, but this killed years off of my life.

Thank you NETGALLEY for the opportunity to read this!

RTC, my dears. When I sacrifice someone to give me back the years.
Profile Image for A Book Shrew.
596 reviews133 followers
August 9, 2021
You may now refer to me only as an Allison Saft simp.

Full review at A Book Shrew

The Halfmoon hunt occurs once a year throughout the region, and the proceedings begin whenever the legendary hala is spotted. A vicious and magical beast, it is the very last of its kind. Sharpshooter Margaret Welty is the first to see it, and she enters the hunt with Weston Winters, the boy who showed up at her doorstep hoping to apprentice with her alchemist mother. Both have their own reasons for entering, but as they get to know each other and the world teams up against them, their priorities begin to shift.

After falling head over heels in love with Down Comes the Night, I truly didn't think it possible for Allison to top it. What a fool I was to doubt her. A Far Wilder Magic is a stunning story from start to finish. It is downright magical, romantic, evocative and oh so compelling. I found it next to impossible to put down. Her writing is such a joy to read. To me, it feels like coming home. Warm and familiar, but then she throws out an effortless line of imagery that just takes your breath away. The family dynamics in this are incredible and so realistic, with a big, loving family falling on hard times and a family of two that can't figure out how to love in a healthy way. But where the true magic lies for this book is in its main characters.

Margaret is a bit of a recluse and very much a serious individual. Her mother is one of the greatest alchemists alive, but she leaves Margaret alone in a rickety old house for months on end in her quest to create the philosopher's stone, which she intends to use to resurrect Margaret's long dead brother. Lots to unpack there. All Margaret has for company is a hound named Trouble. I love girls like this. The ones who feel like they have no one to care about but in turn care so deeply for the people they do have in their lives. She is desperate to kill the Hala because to give the magical beast to her mother will be all thats needed to create the stone and she can love Margaret again. Her character development was phenomenal, and watching how she shifted in her relationship with Wes was exactly as tender as the synopsis promises. She is jewish-coded, and how she chooses to navigate the bigotry levelled at her is so heartbreaking.

Wes is a witty charmer and an incorrigible flirt, but it's all a front to hide what he really feels. After losing his dad a few years ago, his large family needs him to support them, but he has to leave in order to help the way he wants. If he can become an alchemist, he can go to the fancy schools, get into politics, and make true change for his family and people like them. Like Margaret, he is part of an ostracized community and deserves none of the hate he gets. He is such an endearing character, who feels so much yet can't quite seem to say it when it counts. He is dyslexic, which causes him problems with reading and absorbing the information he needs to succeed in at least one apprenticeship. His determination is so admirable, and I couldn't be happier with how he and Margaret were able to help each other out.

Alchemy and religion play very interesting roles in this story. While the core of the story is built around Margaret, Wes, and the lead-up to the Halfmoon Hunt, there are a lot of influences on the periphery that develop their characters. The hunts for these magical beasts is a heritage the people of New Albion lay claim to, and as Yu'adir and Sumic respectively, Margaret and Wes threaten the pure sanctity of the event. It feels very white conservatives getting up in arms about Black people entering "their" spaces. Utterly ridiculous but a true threat to the safety of those deemed as "other."

The hunt itself doesn't take place until the last 10%, but there's a lot of preparation alchemy-wise that occurs beforehand. Alchemically-enhanced items are the only way the hala will be killed, and it's so cool how alchemy is applied to everyday things. Ways to make bullets incendiary, threads in saddle blankets to make the weight of a person more bearable on a horse, and so on. The hala itself is actually quite terrifying and something of a conundrum. A monstrous, all-white fox, it is the last of its kind and a horribly vicious thing. Once spotted, its powers grow over the next month. It destroys entire crops and livestock herd before eventually turning on humans. On the one hand, you want it to be left alone, but also it really needs to be stopped. I never knew how this was going to go but I will admit that I am satisfied.

It goes without saying that I will read anything Allison writes. Anything. I can't believe I got to read this as early as I did but that's okay, because by the time it releases I will be itching to reread it.
Profile Image for Lindsay (pawsomereads).
683 reviews376 followers
January 1, 2022
Allison Saft’s sophomore novel did not disappoint! I really enjoyed her first book, Down Comes the Night, and its atmospheric and captivating qualities. A Far Wilder Magic followed in the same vein, being equally atmospheric and gripping with its small-town coastal setting and rich fantastical elements.
This book follows Margaret and Wes, an unlikely pair who have to team up in a hunt for a magical fox. The Halfmoon Hunt requires an alchemist and a sharpshooter to work together to find the mystical creature and claim the prize for killing it. Margaret hopes that winning the hunt will bring her mom home to her, while Wes hopes it will win him a new teacher to become an official alchemist. As they dig deeper into the mystery of this fox, they uncover a dark magic that may put everything and everyone they love at risk.
The immersive writing places the reader directly into the atmospheric setting. The whole story was told through really detailed descriptions that created fantastic world-building with intricate layers to the society. There was a lot of important commentary about immigration and religion as Margaret and Wes were both forced to overcome prejudices based on where they were from and what they believed in.
The slow burn romance was absolute perfection. It was grumpy meets sunshine with so much tension, longing and angst. I loved Margaret and Wes together, their relationship throughout the book was never simple but they always felt so right for each other. Margaret’s independence and strength and Wes’ charisma and determination made for a great balance between the two in this character-driven story.
With an adventurous yet cozy feel, this book was a great pick up for the winter months.
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