Book Review: For the Throne by Hannah Whitten

book review for the throne hannah whitten
for the throne hannah whitten

Title: For the Throne (The Wilderwood #2)

Author: Hannah Whitten

Publisher: Orbit

Publication date: June 7, 2022

Genre: Fantasy

One Sentence Summary: After Neve falls into the Shadowlands, she sets herself on a path to fulfill a prophecy she doesn’t know, alongside a once-King she hates, while her sister Red will do anything to get her back.


For the Throne is a satisfying conclusion to the duology, wrapping up with Neve’s story. Where For the Wolf felt more reliant on fairy tales, For the Throne took on a life of it’s own, crafting a fascinating world and an interesting story for Neve that more fully explores the mythology of this world. It also takes a close look at the exceptionally close relationship between two sisters and how, despite being complete opposites, they will literally do anything for each other. Their love for each other was a beautiful thing in this book, which is great considering the romance felt almost non-existent. This was a great way to end the duology, but Red’s story kind of felt like a let down and the story was slow to get going.

Extended Thoughts

After the events of For the Wolf, Red and Eammon house the entirety of the Wilderwood within their bodies and Neve has slipped into the Shadowlands after doing everything in her power to save her sister from the Wolf. For the Throne is Neve’s story, her journey through the Shadowlands, accompanied only by once-King Solmir. In order to fulfill a destiny she doesn’t even know she and Red are hurling towards, Neve and Solmir set off across a world in shades of gray to get Neve out of the Shadowlands and to deal with the Five Kings for good, while they will do everything in their power to manipulate things to go their way. In the meantime, Red will do anything in her power to save her sister, including letting a foreign princess she knows nothing about in on the plans.

Unlike For the Wolf, For the Throne didn’t feel as steeped in fairy tales. Instead, Neve’s story felt like it took on a life of its own, one that was actually centered on the mythology of her world. I loved that it shed the fairy tales and loved that it places the sisters on center stage. This turned out to be a beautiful, almost heartbreaking story of sisters and what they’ll do to get back to each other. The love they have for each other is special and beautiful, and their bond was a lovely thing to see. But this is also a story of what it means to be monstrous and what being a villain in a story means. Neve and Solmir are not exactly good, but they try, making their journey feel like it kept swinging back and forth while a forgotten prophecy holds them in its grip. As a story of sisters, For the Throne hit every note, but the romances left me feeling dissatisfied.

For the Throne takes on the conflicts between light and dark, life and death, and man and nature and swirls it into a story of sisters who are mirrors of each other. I found it to be a fascinating concept of how two people who are so different still love each other so much they’ll die for each other. There’s Red who has always been painted as the good sister, as the beautiful one everyone loves and adores. She also epitomizes life and nature since taking in half of the Wilderwood. And then there’s Neve who is so far from good she’s practically a monster. She hasn’t made good decisions and she’s hurt many, many people trying to pursue her own goals. She’s basically the complete opposite of her sister, taking a darkness into her as she travels a world in grayscale. I loved the idea of the sisters basically being two sides of the same coin, as exact opposites and mirrors of each other. They were so different, but held so tightly together by their love for each other.

In the first book, I found myself more fascinated by Neve. Her desperation and single-mindedness turned her into the monster she believes herself to be, and this book wasn’t so much a redemption of her as an acceptance by her of what she is and what to do next. It’s so painfully clear to her how very different she is from her sister who is so well-loved by everyone and just how monstrous she is in contrast. But, other than how horrible a person she is, I didn’t get much more of a sense of her. There were times when she just felt like she was feeling sorry for herself and other times when she just felt so cold she may as well have been ice. I liked how she held herself as a queen and managed to keep her poise so well, but I also longed for something a little softer, a little more human from her.

But I did enjoy Neve’s story. It was fascinating and strange, even if I really had no clue what was going on for much of the book. The story was slow to get going and felt kind of plodding for the first half. Neve’s thrown into this horrifying world with a man she hates with a passion and there’s just not a lot going on. The second half, though, really picked up Neve’s story and so many threads came together all at once. Really, it felt a little on the simplistic side with a journey and then hard decisions. I did like how it ended, but it also felt like it took far too long and some of it felt a little too repetitive. Red’s story, on the other hand, mostly felt unnecessary. For the first half she and Eammon didn’t seem to do much more than look through books. I liked the sense of desperation, but knowing the sisters are locked into a prophecy just made it feel interminably long. She didn’t seem like she really had a purpose, but, because she has a pretty important role at the end, I suppose the reader had to be continuously reminded of how much Red loves Neve.

In terms of romances, there were three that really stood out. There’s Red and Eammon who are now happily and deliriously married. Honestly, they felt so lovey dovey it made me feel like I was wading through a field of sweetness. It’s nice to know they’re so happy, but it felt like it took that a step too far to the point where they felt even more irrelevant during the first half of the story. Then there’s Neve and Solmir who were so slow I barely believed how it ended. It felt like their romance was a little forced and maybe they might have made for really good friends. I did like how they kept denying they were good enough to be loved, but even that got a little tiring after a while. Overall, I just had a hard time believing them and I wish a romance between them hadn’t been written in. The one romance I did enjoy, though, was between Red and Neve’s friend Raffe and an unknown Nioh princess, Kayu, who arrives suddenly in Valleyda. Raffe’s been in love with Neve forever and Kayu clearly feels drawn to Raffe, but there’s this shadow between them. Not much of their relationship is woven through For the Throne, but I loved picking up all the little details, all the looks and glances. The subtlety won me over.

The one thing I adored about For the Throne was the world building. Valleyda and the Wilderwood are well-established, and I enjoyed reading about how the Wilderwood going into Red and Eammon changed things. But the story mostly took place in the Shadowlands, a world that is the inverse of Valleyda. It’s fascinating and horrifying as it’s the home of the Kings and the Old Ones, monstrous beasts worshiped like gods. Lesser beasts still roam the world, and the remaining Old Ones are frightening in their own ways. But the fact that the world is colored in gray scale was absolutely fascinating to me. To be in a world washed of color sounds like quite an adjustment and I really enjoyed the details of how dark or light something was. Otherwise the world felt fairly empty with, I suppose, similar landscape to Valleyda, including an utterly interesting castle. The Shadowlands was a fascinating world and I enjoyed getting to know it.

For the Throne is a satisfying ending to the duology. It’s a lovely story of sisters and what they’ll do for each other despite all the other people they love and who love them. I wish more of what happened in this book had been hinted at in the first book to really tie them together, otherwise I couldn’t help feeling like that was Red’s story and this was Neve’s and that was enough to hold them together. Even the overarching story of getting rid of the Kings was elusive to me as I finished the first book. But, like the sisters, these books felt like two parts of a whole, so I appreciated that reflection.

For the Throne is a story of sisterhood and what it means to be monstrous. Neve was a fascinating character to follow through an equally fascinating world. I wasn’t a big fan of Red’s story, and the romance between her and her husband just felt a little too overdone to properly enjoy, but I liked the inclusion of a new character and loved getting to see characters from the first book. Overall, I enjoyed that this shed the fairy tale skin in order to become something different and interesting.

How many cups of tea will you need?

4 cups

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Thank you to NetGalley and Angela Man at Orbit for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

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for the throne hannah whitten book review

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