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The waking forest by Alyssa Wees

The waking forest (edition 2019)

by Alyssa Wees

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885223,080 (3.1)None
"When the lives of a girl, who has terrifying visions, and a witch, who grants wishes to children in the woods, collide in the most unexpected of ways, a dark, magical truth threatens to doom them both"--
Title:The waking forest
Authors:Alyssa Wees
Info:New York : Delacorte Press, [2019]
Collections:Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Your library, Favorites

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The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees



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Showing 5 of 5
Literary Merit: Good
Characterization: Good
Recommended: Yes
Reading Level: Middle to early high school

Review: This book was intriguing. It alternates telling the stories of two characters every other chapter.
It’s not clear at the beginning how the two characters are related, so I found that I wanted to read more
in order to see if and when the Witch and Rhea would interact with each other. It’s darker, but not scary
or gory. It just gives off a mysterious, mystical vibe. The writing is descriptive. It can be confusing if you
try to read it too fast, but the mystery drew me in and made me want to continue. ( )
  SWONroyal | Feb 4, 2020 |
Student Review by: Hayley K (12th grade)
Grade range: 8th Grade and up
Genre: Science Fantasy
Literary Merit: Good
Characterization: Mediocre

Ever since Rhea was a young kid, she has been able to remember her dreams. Now her dreams are becoming out of control, and once pleasant dreams have become nightmares that cause Rhea to sleepwalk at night. During her waking hours, Rhea begins seeing a mysterious forest looming behind her house. As soon as she steps too close to the border of the forest, it vanishes. The forest holds a secret, a witch hidden away in the darkest part of the forest, granting wishes to kids who stumble upon it in their dreams. The Witch and Rhea have one thing in common, they both have encountered a mischievous boy that loves to play a game. The game is guessing the boy’s name, if they get it wrong the boy and the players both lose. Rhea and the Witch must play the boy’s game to uncover the truth of the forest.

The Waking Forest has a very predictable plot. The book’s key plot points were heavily foreshadowed throughout the book, and the pace was not consistent. The book is divided into two parts, the first part focuses on mundane life while the second part delves more into the fantasy aspects of the book. The book itself was a confusing read, every chapter was switched narration between Rhea and the Witch. Each chapter also alternated between third and first person perspective, which made it difficult to keep a grasp on the plot. Rhea’s chapters were first person based and the Witch’s were third person. The best part of the book is part two, where it’s more focused on magic. The magic was lively and creative, but the author did not clearly state the logistics of the magic. The book needed more world building to help lessen the reader’s state of confusion as they try to grasp the plot. Instead of dividing the book into parts the author should have just focused on one part of the book and extend the concept throughout.

Recommendation: Holly Black fans and fantasy lovers would enjoy. ( )
  SWONroyal | Jun 19, 2019 |
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

The Waking Forest is an experience! I had no idea what was going on for the first half of the book, but I had my guesses and trusted the author to get me to where I needed to go for the story to make sense. I really enjoyed how strange and dark everything was; the mood was absolutely perfect for what was going on and the writing is absolutely GORGEOUS. It is expertly crafted language and I would read it just for the beautiful lines, to be honest. Luckily, the plot is pretty interesting too.

We follow two characters: Rhea, a girl who has living nightmares and the Witch: a girl who grants children wishes. They are each struggling with a strange visitor into their world and try to figure out what he wants and how to get rid of him so they can keep living their lives. I really enjoyed the mystery surrounding both these stories and had a fun time guessing what was going on.

However, the story itself fell apart a little once we find out what’s going on, unfortunately. Up until then, the world building and characterization were fantastic, but the pacing started to feel rushed and things didn’t seem as fleshed as they were in the beginning part of the book. I kept getting lost as to what was happening and how everything was connected. However, the beginning of the book did such a good job in establishing the characters that I was still satisfied by the ending and pulled in enough by them to make it through to the end.

I would not give this book to a reluctant reader; things are very confusing for most of the book and you have to trust the story and author that it will work out and start making sense; I can see this being very frustrating for someone just starting out reading. Fans of weirder sort of stories or dark fantasy will enjoy this, I think.

Also posted on Purple People Readers. ( )
  sedelia | Apr 22, 2019 |
As I've seen others mention, the writing in here is beautiful. Poetic with a touch of whimsy. However, it is also slow and a little difficult to follow. I'm someone who needs fast-pace and action with their fantasy (The Hobbit bored me to tears). ( )
  Kristymk18 | Mar 18, 2019 |
Once upon a time, there was a princess. This princess possessed magic, but needed to hide it because her grandfather the king kept people like herself in chains. She survived for a while living two lives, but then she was discovered, and faced with death or enslavement, the princess made her own choice. This is the story that Rhea Ravenna hears in the darkness of her attic, and it is a story that will change her life.

At the beginning, I loved The Waking Forest. Alyssa Wees's writing is a little flowery, but I like that aspect. Part One weaves between the Witch in the Forest who grants wishes, and young Rhea Ravenna and her sisters. Both of these worlds were interesting and I liked them. The voices were distinctly different and the pacing between each with great. Early in The Waking Forest, I thought I was going to love this novel.

Enter Part Two.

For me, Part Two felt like it was written by an entirely different person. The toy box of characters and world building elements was dumped on the table. It was quickly paced. Where the contemporary was interesting and grounded in Part One, and the fantasy was rich and blossoming... now we're entirely in fantasy, everything is getting done very quickly, and the characters are still behaving fully like contemporary characters. All the goals are accomplished easily. The magic system is not really explained. The beautiful language from the start of the book is gone. Part Two was jarringly different, and it was not the fantasy I was promised in Part One. I didn't believe that things would have worked out for Rhea. I felt like the sister dynamic was lost. The magic system was assumed rather than explained. I can't get past how much it felt like two different books, and I felt hugely let down.

Many people compare this to The Hazel Wood, and that's a fair comparison. It's the same type of story. The Waking Forest is more magic in the beginning, with a better integration, but people who enjoy the pacing and beat of contemporary YA will probably prefer this one to The Hazel Wood. At the end of the day, The Waking Forest was not for me, but I believe it will find a good audience. ( )
  Morteana | Feb 16, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alyssa Weesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Nickolls, LeoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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