A dark, mysterious forest. A witch that grants wishes, a girl with nightmarish visions. I was intrigued and hopeful for The Waking Forest. And while some of the prose was beautiful, it quickly grew out of hand.
The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more—until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.
To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.
The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?
There was some downright beautiful writing in The Waking Forest. Unfortunately, a lot of it was drowned out by the overwhelming amount of purple prose. It got in the way of enjoying the story and the creepy, dream-like setting for a good portion of the book.
And then things got weird.
And not the good kind of weird.
There were two POVs throughout the story: Rhea, the girl with nightmare visions, and the Witch of Wishes, a witch that lived in the woods granting children’s wishes. I was intrigued by these two, and I really wanted them to meet (and for there to be some magical queerness). But that didn’t really happen.
And when the two POVs merged, it grew impossible to follow the story at all. It became a chore to read, and I don’t like when vacuuming the entire house and deep-cleaning the carpets becomes a more enjoyable experience than reading.
I was intrigued enough to get about halfway through the book, but never invested enough to want to keep reading. And eventually, I just got tired of it. So I had to DNF it.