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Into the Heartless Wood

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,163 ratings  ·  355 reviews
The forest is a dangerous place, where siren song lures men and women to their deaths. For centuries, a witch has harvested souls to feed the heartless tree, using its power to grow her domain.

When Owen Merrick is lured into the witch’s wood, one of her tree-siren daughters, Seren, saves his life instead of ending it. Every night, he climbs over the garden wall to see her,
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 12th 2021 by Page Street Kids
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Juliana Niño
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Alicia There's no swearing in this book to my recollection. The most romantic they get is kissing. Not even detailed kissing. Just "warm lips on his" I think…moreThere's no swearing in this book to my recollection. The most romantic they get is kissing. Not even detailed kissing. Just "warm lips on his" I think is the most physically descriptive they get. They mostly describe the emotions around the kisses. It is however a very violent book if youre concerned about that at all.(less)

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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  1,163 ratings  ·  355 reviews

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Mar 29, 2021 rated it liked it
i will admit i was hesitant to pick this up. ive read so many ‘witches of the wood’ kind of stories that i wasnt sure this would be anything new or exciting.

and i was kind of right. this is your classic fairytale/folklore story of a dangerous magical wood and the monsters that lurk inside it. it has your sweet village boy and the siren who longs for a different life. you have your ruling kingdoms, the natural beings, and the war between them.

and while i did like the lovely writing, the dryad a
Helena Paris
I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

So, I’m sure after my screaming over Echo North when it released (and then when I proceeded to bully you all into reading it :P), it comes as no surprise to you that I completely devoured this novel. Joanna Ruth Meyer can truly do no wrong in my eyes! There’s just something about her books that appeals to me so much. What is this magic? How does she do it?

From day one, when Joanna announced a gender-swapped Be
Nilufer Ozmekik
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh boy! I’m crying my eyes out! What a heartfelt, tear jerker, soul crusher, extremely emotional, poetic love story it is!

A soul without heart of true love and a heart without her true soul!

A powerful, dark, forbidden love story between a monster girl and a human boy!

There are so many Beauty and the beast, Phantom of the opera and Shape of water vibes in this story. But it’s not a retelling! It’s unique, intense, moving love story!

Once upon a time there was a girl who crushes the souls and
C.G. Drews
May 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
This story was such a lovely mix of whimsical, cozy fantasy and inner darkness. I truly love books about monster girls and soft boys 😩👌🏻 and this did it perfectly. It felt like a fairytale too, in style and how the story unravelled. I really enjoyed the slower pace, the way it began with the softness of a brother caring for his sister and baking bread and mapping the stars -- and being cautious but not as wholly terrified as the rest of the world of the tree sirens who lure people to their death ...more
Miranda Reads
Oct 16, 2020 is currently reading it

So excited about this Book Haul Video !
The Written Review

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Rosamund Hodge
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars!

You are only a monster because you choose to be.
I never knew I had a choice until you.

This is a story about a boy who longed for the stars & a tree siren who longed to have a heart.
It is also a fairytale about what it means to be human and about what makes us human.

Once, long ago, a spiteful prince stole the crown of a maiden.

Into the Heartless Wood is a quiet story, crafted so masterfully that it takes hold on your heart from the first sentence and with every page
Abbie | nerdyabbie
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
In this atmospheric Beauty & the Beast retelling, Meyer weaves together a tale of humanity and heartbreak destined to captivate fairytale lovers everywhere 🧚

”You are a fool, to wander the wood alone.”

Do you remember those old fairytales that your parents would read you to lull you to sleep? This book is that. Everything from the aesthetic, to the hidden lessons, the prose - it was all so beautiful. The tree sirens and their stories, as well as the backstory with their mother, were so interes
Deborah O'Carroll
Whenever I dive into a Joanna Ruth Meyer novel, I prepare to be enchanted, but somehow I never prepare quite enough!

INTO THE HEARTLESS WOOD is a stunning and unique tale, with touches of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast (both of which I got so happy about when I noticed nods to them) but simultaneously its own story. I stayed on the edge of my seat the whole time, never knowing what was going to happen next, and utterly enthralled the whole time. I couldn't put it down! With brilliant
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Bewitching, brutal and beautiful. Joanna’s power as a mythic storyteller grows with every book, and this may be my favourite thing she’s written yet.
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, rating-pg-13
I think this might be my favourite of Meyer's books yet, particularly as it draws less on recognisable existing stories (as BENEATH THE HAUNTING SEA did on the SILMARILLION, or ECHO NORTH did on EAST OF THE SUN, WEST OF THE MOON) to create something that feels much more its own tale, while retaining the mythical feel of a fairytale or legend in its own right.

INTO THE HEARTLESS WOOD is the story of a young stargazer's romance with the monstrous tree siren from the Creepy Forest outside his back d
Lindsay (pawsomereads)
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Into the Heartless Wood was a true masterpiece. It read just like a classic fairytale and was completely spellbinding from the very beginning.
This story followed a boy who yearned for the stars and a tree siren in search of her soul. The two are separated on either side of a war with tensions that have been building for hundreds of years between the king of Tarian and the witch of the woods, Gwydden. Owen, the son of the king’s astronomer, always hated the woods for stealing his mother awa
Madison Mary
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
"I want him to look into my eyes and not be afraid. I want him to see me as something more than a monster."

A stunning and sad tale about a boy who loves the star, a monstrous girl, and the ancient war that splits them apart.

For centuries the witch, Gwydden, has ruled the woods. She sends out her eight tree-siren daughters to lure men and women to their deaths and collect their souls to feed the Heartless Tree. The Kingdom of Tarian lives in fear of the woods and its growing power but
Hannah Whitten
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got to read an early draft of this beautiful book and it absolutely lives up to its amazing description. Get excited.
Jan 22, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-english
My disappointment is immeasurable, and my day is ruined.
Kristina (heartsfullofreads)
Into the Heartless Wood was a very atmospheric read and I loved the folklore vibes of the story. Those aspects were very well done and my favorite thing about the book. The writing was beautiful at times, but there were also times that things didn't match up with the story and that was annoying. Unfortunately, the characters and their romance didn't shine for me either. This was not a bad book by any means, but I didn't love it as much as I hoped I would. If you like books with a cursed wood and ...more
Anna Bright
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
joanna's imagination is so whimsical and gorgeoussss ...more
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was the first book I read off my 2021 five star prediction and I definitely was not disappointed!

This is a whimsical, dark, and beautifully written fantasy romance that follows a world that is being overtaken by an evil forest. The forest is haunted by a witch and her 4 tree siren daughters who lure and kill anyone who enters the forest. But when one of the tree sirens meets a young boy who lives on the edge of the woods, she begins to question whether or not evil is something you are or c
ʙᴇʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。.
Into the Heartless Wood tell us the story of Owen, a human boy that lives at the edge of the forest with his family, and Seren, a tree Siren made by an evil witch destined to kill everyone who enters the forest.
Owen and Seren end up meeting and upon that meeting, their lives change.
The prose of this novel is lovely, read like an old fairytale and the worldbuilding is atmospheric, clear, and easy to get into. It is reminiscent a little bit of the animation Over the Garden Wall, where we have sma
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
THIS REVIEW & MORE → Paws and Paperbacks

Thank you to Page Street Books for sending me an ARC!

“He will die thinking the monster in the wood never lost her heart to the boy who is lost in the stars.”

Joanna Ruth Meyer’s standalone fantasies have impressed me a lot thus far. Echo North quickly became one of my favorites after I read it last year, and now I find myself enchanted by Into the Heartless Wood as well. This book can easily be described as a gender-swapped loose retelling of Beauty and
Tracy (Cornerfolds)
I would literally read this woman's to-do list.

Into the Heartless Wood is the fourth book by Joanna Ruth Meyer I have read and it has cemented her place on my all time favorite authors shelf. I did not realize going into it that this story was a bit of a genderbent Beauty and the Beast, but the connection is obvious after reading the author's note and it makes it even more perfect. To be frank, I will eagerly read anything this author writes.

This book begins with Owen, a boy who lives on the ed
Celia McMahon
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
ECHO NORTH solidified Joanna Ruth Meyer as one of my favorite authors. It doesn't help that she's super sweet on social media. So when this book was announced, you bet your bum bum I was refreshing Edelweiss and Netgalley for the arc.

So here's a HUGE thank you, Netgalley and the publisher for the e-arc.

Meyer has a way of pulling me into her books and never letting go. Just like the heartless trees in INTO THE HEARTLESS WOOD. This gender-swapped retelling of Beauty and the Beast follows star gaz
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Uprooted meets The Little Mermaid and Maleficent in this haunting fairytale of sirens, dark woods, and forbidden love. Instantly I knew this book was for me. I have a weakness for books deeply rooted (pun intended😁) in lore and dark retellings. This was no exception. It was lush, enchanting, and heartbreaking in the best way.

Meyer takes an atmospheric approach to dryad mythology, weaving together a story written in old fairytale verse. I really enjoyed the very beginning and end of the novel. T
Rayne ♥
I GOT AN ARC TODAY AND I'M SO HAPPY! I can't wait to read this!

(and can we just talk about that cover? IT'S BEAUTIFUL)

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a review copy. All opinions are my own.

instagram | goodreads
Maya Joelle
I wanted to love this, I really did. I think part of the reason I didn't is how fast I read it... only took me two days. But I'm counting that as a good thing because it's been months since I read a book that fast, and enjoyed doing it.

There were plenty of good things, and I can totally see why someone else might love this book, but it's not one of my favorites. However, I love the author's style and will definitely be checking out Echo North!

// things I liked //

✨ THE CHARACTERS. Owen, Seren, R
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*I received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review*

I don’t even know where to start, or how to compose myself and write a review. This book was heartbreakingly beautiful from start to finish. If you know me, it’s no secret that I absolutely love Joanna’s books. I’ve been a fan ever since I won an arc of her debut, Beneath the Haunting Sea. Her writing is just so brilliant. It’s lush and lyrical, and draws you in from the beginning. I was completely and utterly bewitched with this story about
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-novels, 2021, fantasy
Thanks to Netgalley and Page Street YA for the gifted e-ARC.

When I first started reading, I thought this would be an interesting fantasy story about two people who become unlikely friends. I didn't imagine there to be a romantic element, but it was so well executed. The relationship between Owen and Seren felt so natural despite being natural enemies. I loved how they started off as fearful of each other, but they kept their minds opened and fell in love with each other over the course of the st
Restless Isabelle
Feb 09, 2021 rated it did not like it
Time to call it, DNF at 53%.

Absolutely devastated I didn’t love this as I was really looking forward to this. The synopsis sounded moody, dark and twisty with some whimsy but, nope. For a book about lush, deadly forests it felt so dull and grey and meh.

The characters felt flat. I just couldn’t care. The stylistic choice with the tree sirens chapters made it SO HARD to connect with her in any way.

Anyway, there you go. Incoherent review because sad.
A young stargazer and a created monster cross paths and change the alignments in their lives. They will soon find what lurks in the darkness isn't half as troubling as what stands in the glow of the light.

The kingdom of Tarian is surrounded by the Gwydden’s Wood and is filled with tree sirens who use their song to lure those in, and then they are fed to the heartless tree. This grants the witch of the woods even more power than she already has. It's a place to fear and one to avoid at all cost
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to be gushing about this book to everyone I know. Lush prose. Beautiful world building. This book totally swept me away! ...more
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Joanna Ruth Meyer is the author of the critically-acclaimed Echo North, as well as the companion novel duology Beneath the Haunting Sea and Beyond the Shadowed Earth. She writes stories about fierce teens finding their place in the world, fighting to change their fate, save the ones they love, or carve out a path to redemption.

Joanna lives with her dear husband and son, a rascally feline, and an e

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