Book Review

Wilderwood by Halli Starling

Genre | Fantasy / Romance
Page #s | 256
Publishing Date | August 2021

“They say we are born, not made, as vampires. Created vampires are feral, ruthless killers who desire blood above all else. Those who are born into this fate have better control and thus are civilized. That we are only brutal if we choose to be. And so because we have free will, we are more like the humans and the other creatures with souls. I have never once felt human, or like anything else. I know what I am, and it is because of that feeling, and because of the marks on my flesh, that I stand steadfast in my cause.”

Wilderwood is a haven for those who have been cast out of “proper” society: academics, artists, the eccentrics and undesirous. It is also home to other kind and having weres, mages, and even an ancient griffin living amongst mortals just isn’t done.

Except in Wilderwood.

Octavia Wilder cares for those who live in the town her ancestor built and when a feral vampire threatens the peace, she partners with the Ranger who has brought word of the threat.

Ranger Roderick Arman hunts Corbin Luther, the feral vampire who killed his partner two years ago. When Luther’s trail leads him to the odd little town of Wilderwood, he quickly realizes there’s more to the town – and his hunt – than expected.

Ranger Bellemy Eislen disappeared two years ago when what was to be a quick trip to the Faelands on behalf of the Rangers went entirely wrong. Trapped in another realm, they tirelessly sought a way back to their world. And to Wilderwood and Octavia.

The three of them must fight to save Wilderwood from an invasion from another realm and protect the town from the Faelands Queen.

Wilderwood is a fantasy/romance book with some violent and sexual elements. The story features a polyamorous, queer romance between three consenting adults.

Goodreads

If you’ve ever read a book and rolled your eyes at the developing love triangle, thinking, “Why don’t they just bone each other?” then boy, is this the book for you! It was so refreshing to see three competent adults deal with their attraction to each other with communication, a priority for their partner’s happiness, and an openness to new experiences.

Although Wilderwood is set in the “1800’s,” it’s first and foremost a fantasy, with all the word’s implications. If you have to handwave away a linguistic anachronism here or a modern concept there, well, get used to it. There are vampires and encroaching fey worlds; realism is not the point here.

You know what’s also not realistic? How horny everyone gets in the most horrific situations! I have a feeling that my opinion is only revealing how rarely I read erotica, because these people sure got turned on at the most inopportune times. The sex scenes were good fun, but I couldn’t help wishing that they would like, rest before the big battle or just have an anxious sulk….This is probably why no one is writing a book about my life.

The highlight of this book for me was how unapologetically queer it is. There is a trans character whose pronouns are immediately respected by all, gay love between side characters, and the aforementioned polyamory between magical beings of all genders. It was so nice to see diverse relationships play out with no mention of their diversity. This is my favorite part of fantasy – showing the world as we want it to be (though I would prefer mine with a LOT fewer melted cows).

Check out our Queer Lil Library for more book recommendations and reviews!

1 comment on “Wilderwood by Halli Starling

  1. Pingback: I Read 66 Queer Books in 2021! – Roar Cat Reads

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