A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft
Publisher: Wednesday Books, March 8, 2022
When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. If Margaret wins the hunt, it may finally bring her mother home. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.
Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist–yet. Fired from every apprenticeship he’s landed, his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret and her bloodhound Trouble. Margaret begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.
Although they make an unlikely team, Wes is in awe of the girl who has endured alone on the outskirts of a town that doesn’t want her, in this creaking house of ghosts and sorrow. And even though Wes disrupts every aspect of her life, Margaret is drawn to him. He, too, knows what it’s like to be an outsider. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt – if they survive that long.
In A Far Wilder Magic, Allison Saft has written an achingly tender love story set against a deadly hunt in an atmospheric, rich fantasy world that will sweep you away.
Trigger Warnings: neglectful/emotionally abusive parent, antisemitism
This book gripped my hand tight. The best books are those that drag you out of depression, allowing you to breathe. Allison Saft’s sparkly prose consumed me. My every thought drifted further away from reality, sinking deep into the autumnal vibes of Welty Manor. I enjoy it when a book ruins me, like A Far Wilder Magic did.
Allison Saft made me feel every single drop of the world. The atmosphere of the forest, the burnt leaves, misty woods, and the foamy sea. Old alchemic texts, the creaky floor of the Welty manor, and rustic things laying about an alchemist’s study. All of this made me feel everything about the world, leading me to also feel for the two tortured souls of the novel: Margaret Welty and Weston Winters.
I love a heroine that kills a man with a single dagger-eyed stare.
Margaret Welty, daughter of a famed alchemist, wants something no one can give her. The love of her mother. Neglected by her mother, she takes rein of her own future. She hopes to enter the contest, but the town is determined to keep their pride for those like them, not some Yu’adir girl. Weston Winters, a Sumic Banvishman from the city, arrives in Wickdon with the sole determination to become the apprentice of one of the most famous alchemists in the nation. By entering the contest together, Margaret and Wes hope to achieve their goals, but as is typical of a fantasy romance, these two torture each other with ruinous romantics.
In A Far Wilder Magic, we enter a fantasy world with the nationalistic politics of early 20th century America. Immigrants and Jewish people are not welcomed in this place where pride is tied with supreme nationalistic identity and colonial sentiment. An immigrant and a Jewish girl (Sumic Banvishman/Yu’adir) enrolling in one of the town’s most honored traditions is not who they had in mind.
The romance between Margaret and Wes will surely ruin most readers, myself included. Wes going on about how Margaret’s hair makes him feel depraved makes for an absolute fun time. It’s always great to read a puppy dog love interest completely baffled at how a single thing can make them obsessed with the one girl they don’t want to fall for.
I’m in love with Margaret. If ever there were a heroine like a wolf, she would be it. She’s all edges and claws, just like every great heroine should. I love how Wes and Margaret annoy each other. No matter how much they try to resist it, they melt together. Their dynamic is perfection. I love their messes, complications, and mistakes just as much as I love their good choices, perfections, and attributes. It made them real and honest in the way that truly fleshed out characters shine.
As a romance and fantasy reader, this book was a joy to read. I can tell the author appreciates and loves the traditional romance novel. There’s even a fun scene featuring a historical romance novel (by inserting a duke for an alchemist), painted covers and all. Saft is fantastic at tension, slowly building that development between two people falling for each other.
It was fun and exciting. The highest praise I can give an author is that their book made me escape from the world. Allison Saft made it so easy to sink in and enjoy the characters. A Far Wilder Magic is about fighting for your self. That you are deserving of healthy love and happiness, no matter the obligations other make you feel.
I highly recommend falling for Weston Winters and Margaret Welty.
Thank you Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s Press for providing an e-arc for review