Book Reviews · Middle Grade

Review: Wilder Than Midnight by Cerrie Burnell

Silverthorne is a place of secrets. A forest of twisting paths and tangled thorns. A castle with locked towers and whispers of tragedy. A village trapped between terrors known and unknown. But something is stirring in the leaves…

Saffy is a good girl, tired of being told to stick to the forest paths, and always follow the rules.
Aurelia is a hidden girl, locked in a castle tower, dreaming of escaping the fate she’s told awaits her.
Wild Rose is a fierce girl, raised by wolves, full of spells and fearlessness and cunning.

Together, they will change life in Silverthorne forever.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wilder Than Midnight immediately enchanted me. The way Burnell writes is so beautiful, and I have never longed more to be running through the trees with a pack of wolves as Wild Rose does. The book borrows heavily from many well known fairy tales – Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks, Rapunzel, the seven dwarves – but blends them together masterfully so that I enjoyed the references rather than feeling annoyed at reading yet another retelling.

The story centres around three girls, all born around the same time, who’s stories are woven in and around the woods. Wild Rose was taken from the castle as a baby, and because she was born with a missing limb, she was seen as cursed and given up to the forest. She was raised by wolves and the Folk of the forest, and even as a young girl she is the source of many legends. Saffy has heard these legends, but when she actually comes face to face with Wild Rose as she journeys through the forest, she discovers there is so much more to the story. Saffy is also the link between Wild Rose and Aurelia, the princess cursed to prick her finger and fall into slumber, locked away in a castle to keep her safe.

Each girl longs for freedom; freedom to leave the woods, freedom to wander freely, freedom to fly. And between the three of them, they might just come up with a way to get what they long for. This was such a girl-power story, with each character bringing a different talent, and learning to love one another in ways they hadn’t experienced before. If you’re looking for an uplifting, exciting, and artfully told story, this is the one!

Book Info

Published: 28th April 2022 by Penguin
Genre: middle grade, fantasy
Pages: 289
Narration style: third person, multiple points of view
Format read: eARC
Content Warnings: ableism, general prejudice, child abandonment

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