Wyrd & Wonder Fantastic Five: Forest Fantasies

This one was actually a lot harder to write then I thought it would be! I don’t know if it’s because I read a ton of fantasy set in more urban environments, or if I read books that have forests in them, but not in a way where they feel like the “star” environment of the book. Still, I managed to find some options for those who want to run away to the woods for a bit!

If you’re interested in any of these titles, I’ve linked the cover to Goodreads!

 For the Wolf  The Shadow of the Gods  The Bear and the Nightingale

FOR THE WOLF by Hannah Whitten
This is all about a young princess who is sent into an enchanted wood to live with a monster. Only, she might be more connected to that wood than anyone realizes. While the publicity and title may make you think this story is Red Riding Hood inspired, it pulls much more from Beauty and the Beast, complete with a strange castle inside an even stranger forest.

THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden
Vasya may live in a small village, but her true gift comes from her interactions with the mystical denizens of the surrounding forest, and not just the mysterious and powerful Winter King. Vasya is one of the last of her people to respect the folkloric spirits, who are fast disappearing because no one leaves them offerings or even believes in them anymore. This is such an atmospheric woodsy tale, perfect for curling up in front of a fire with.

THE SHADOW OF THE GODS by John Gwynne
This Viking-inspired fantasy blurs the line between myth and reality, and goes traipsing through all kinds of woods, some of which are really quite haunted and not to be messed with. It’s a tale where most of the time is spent in the wilds, and you’re never quite sure which story from campfire tales is just a story, and which will show up to try and destroy you.

 Redwall  Written in Red

REDWALL by Brian Jacques
Everyone’s favorite story of anthropomorphic mice with swords is of course set in Mossflower Forest and an easy add for this list! When I was younger, I loved to imagine being a squirrel in the world of Redwall and jumping around the trees of the forest, it seemed like such a freeing experience!

WRITTEN IN RED by Anne Bishop
This is technically an urban fantasy, but the supernatural embassy of sorts that Meg ends up at while fleeing from her human jailers contains large wooded grounds where the various supernatural entities live. This whole book is a clash between primal, ferocious beings of the natural world, and humans with their cities and desire to expand no matter the cost. It’s also a series with found family and delicious slow burn romance.

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