Fantasy-lovers, unite! “Into the Heartless Wood” is about to jump to the top of your reading list.
At the beginning of the year, I read “Echo North,” a truly unique and impactful tale by Joanna Ruth Meyer. I immediately fell in love with her writing style and gobbled up everything she had released. (You can find all these reviews on my Goodreads). When she announced a new story in the works, filled with tree sirens and astronomers, I squealed with excitement.
I was truly lucky to win an advanced reader copy of “Into the Heartless Wood“, before its official release in January 2021. I read the book nearly a month before writing this, but I have been slowly working on my review over time because it has meant so much to me, and I wanted to do it justice.
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What I Thought About “Into the Heartless Wood”
Below, you can find the Goodreads synopsis, along with my honest review of the book.
Epic, heartbreaking, and darkly atmospheric, Into the Heartless Wood is the story of impossible love between a monstrous tree siren and a boy who lives at the edge of her wood.
The forest is a dangerous place, where siren song lures men and women to their deaths. For centuries, a witch has harvested souls to feed the heartless tree, using its power to grow her domain.
When Owen Merrick is lured into the witch’s wood, one of her tree-siren daughters, Seren, saves his life instead of ending it. Every night, he climbs over the garden wall to see her, and every night her longing to become human deepens. But a shift in the stars foretells a dangerous curse, and Seren’s quest to become human will lead them into an ancient war raging between the witch and the king who is trying to stop her.
“Something calls out to him. I am different than I was. I do not want my mother’s song, my mother’s souls. I want – I do not know. But I want something more than the death that she offers me. I want something more than her voice, her power. I want something more. I want something mine.”Into the Heartless Wood
I waited two days to write a review after finishing the book and I still found myself somewhat speechless. I wasn’t sure Joanna Meyer could top her novel, “Echo North” – but this story was something truly spectacular. If I could give a book more than five stars, I would do so for this one in a heartbeat.
I sat on my bed after reading the last pages, unsure of what to think or feel. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so deeply affected by a fantasy novel (or any novel, for that matter). I had to just sit in silence and allow the emotions to wash over me. I fought back tears for the last third of the story.
Haunting. Breathtaking. Soul-shattering. Those are a few of the words I could use to describe this book. The character development is beautiful (even down to the chapter headings changing for Seren as the story goes on). It’s a true roller coaster of emotions as you fall in love with the characters and the characters fall in love with each other. There is such depth to this story, and I’ll never really get over it.
I had the worst book hangover of my life after I completed it. Not a single story I started could even compete with this poetic masterpiece.
Clearly, I was deeply affected by this book, and I can’t recommend it enough.
I will also say that Joanna Meyer is one of my favorite authors of all time. One of the things she does best is write a story that’s never been told before. Though “Into the Heartless Wood” is described as a gender-swapped retelling of Beauty and the Beast, it’s definitely something much more than that. The same can be said of everything she writes. I hope that my review encourages you to pick it up for yourself this coming winter.
This book sounds like a deep read but a good one nonetheless! I loved reading your review lovely x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
It was pretty incredible! I was so touched by the story and the poetic layout of some of the chapters was so unique. I really hope you get a chance to read it at some point 🙂
I am always looking for new book recommendations and I loved your review for this one!
Well, I certainly recommend this one! It’s my favorite book of the year, hands down. I already want to read it again and again. It was so spectacular.
Anything that gives someone a massive book hangover is one to add on the TBR list! Great review and I LOVE your photos so much!
I feel the same way! I truly wasn’t sure how to move on to another book after finishing this one – it really was THAT good!
Sounds like a good book – I like how it’s sort of a retelling of Beauty and the Beast!
It has some similar vibes for sure. I wouldn’t have noticed that had it not been in the description, I’ll be honest. I just thought it was an amazing fantasy tale!
You had me at, “gender-swapping retelling of Beauty and the Beast”! This book sounds fantastic
I keep admitting that I would definitely have never noticed that if I hadn’t read it in the description haha! To me, it was just so unique I couldn’t compare it to anything!
Oo it sounds like a fun book and great to read deep into Winter. I might get it!
I wouldn’t necessarily call it “fun,” because it’s a really melancholy and heartbreaking story throughout. But it’s beautiful and well-written and I loved every second of it!
Sounds super interesting. I will add it to my list (which feels like it grows every day!)
I relate to that! My reading list triples almost daily haha. Good thing I read a LOT and fast!
This sounds so good!! I love your review and your blog is so pretty. Thank you for sharing.
That’s so sweet of you! Thank you 🙂 I’m glad you liked the review. I hope to do more like this soon!
This book sounds very interesting! There’s something mysterious in it that definitely makes me want to read it.
I know you love a good romance, and while this isn’t your typical style, it certainly is romantic. Beautiful and haunting and sacrificial romance!
I’ll have to add this to my reading list. Sounds so good!
You definitely will. It’s the best book I’ve read all year – and I’ve read nearly 100 books!
Ah! I’m so happy for you that you were able to preview it. I know how much you love reading!! And those pants are too perfect. Adorable – I love the saying and the placement, too!
It was such an exciting moment when I found out that I’d won a copy. How cool! It’s such a special book to have on my shelf. And the story was all sorts of incredible! Yes… these pants are the comfiest I own. They’re from The Bookish Shop!
That header image is stunning! How do you take your photos because they look so good! And this book sounds amazing tbh, defo going to add it to my Goodreads shelf! 😊
🌿 Marissa Belle × marsybun.com 🌿
Thank you! I use a Canon Rebel t7i with a 50mm lens on a tripod in natural light and edit with my presets 🙂 I know that’s a nutshell version, but there’s plenty of BTS on my bookstagram page if you wanna see in action haha!
What a great preview! This will be a great read during the fall season. Love the mood of your pics as well!
I definitely plan to read it again and again until its January release. It’s the perfect cozy read!
Sounds like a total escape of a pick…love the review! xoxo, Sarah
An escape is right! It’s definitely a story that will transport you to another time and place!
Wow, what a glowing review! I can be picky about fantasy but with this recommendation I’ll have to try it. I’m glad it will be on audiobook as well because that’s how I’m reading a lot of books right now!
I’m ridiculously picky about fantasy because it’s my favorite genre, so I relate! I highly suggest listening to her first novel, Echo North, to see if you like her writing style. If you enjoy that as much as I did, you’ll love this book too!
Aw this sounds like such a great book! I love fantasy. The story sounds really unique and interesting!
I’m always excited to find another fan of fantasy since that’s not as typical for adult women. I just love the genre so much!
Your photos have been amazing! I am absolutely loving the whole style and substance of your blog. I haven’t read many fantasy books in the past. Maybe it’s time I branch out. This book sounds incredible!
That’s very kind of you! Thank you so much 🙂 If you’re looking for fantasy recommendations but don’t know where to start, I have a whole post with around 100 of my favorite fantasy novels – and ones I recommend for “newbies”!
Everything about these pics makes me want to go get mega cozy and read! I have been on the hunt for a new, compelling book that will really suck me in and this one sounds absolutely perfect!! Definitely going to check it out.
Well, that’s certainly the goal, so I’m glad! I hope you get a chance to read it when it’s released in January!
Wow, this looks wonderful! The cover is cleverly designed as well. It sounds like it is a wonderful book that is a perfect winter read. You’re so lucky that you got to it first!
It’s a beautiful cover, isn’t it? I’m very picky about the covers that I find truly gorgeous, but this one stole my heart immediately. And the story is magnificent! I’m really grateful that I got a chance to read it before the release 🙂
I’ve only ever preordered a handful of books in my life, but I’m totally sold after this review. I wish it was coming out sooner!! I always read more in the fall, but at least this will give me something to look forward to after the holidays. 🙂
Oh my goodness YAY! I’m so glad to hear that! It’s an incredible story, and I really can’t recommend it enough. Out of the nearly 100 books I’ve read this year, this one is definitely my favorite! I hope you love it just as much when you read it 🙂
I love fantasy, and you have TOTALLY sold me on this book!
That’s great to hear! It’s an incredible book, and the author is beyond talented. She’s got the most unique writing style and I just can’t get enough!
This sounds like a great read! I’ll have to add it to my list.
You definitely will! It’s a phenomenal story!
This book sounds SO good! You’ve been opening my eyes to so many amazing new genres and can’t wait to order a few books!
I know you’re not typically a fantasy reader, but I do think you should give some of the books a try 🙂 You might discover that you love them as much as contemporary. I also saw that you’ve been reading some Elizabeth Acevedo, which makes me so happy. Her work is amazing!
This book seems such a fun. Thanks so much for the recommendation! I love reading books.
I don’t know if I’d call it “fun,” since it’s really dramatic and heartbreaking. But it is a beautiful story and an incredibly written tale with excellent character development!
It sounds like an extremely interesting read! There are so many positive reviews and I’m always looking for a new and exciting book to read!
cute & little
Well, it hasn’t been released yet so the reviews aren’t even rolling in as much as they will when the book comes out in January. But it definitely deserves 5 stars and more!
Thanks for sharing, this sounds like a great read! I’m always looking for unique fairytale retellings to try.
I am not usually a big fantasy fan, but this is intriguing. I like that it seems to be a bit different than other fantasy settings I’ve seen before, with the tree sirens. And the story sounds so compelling and interesting. Your review has me thinking of going out of my comfort zone to give this fantasy book a try.
ou know I am always looking to add more books to my TBR and this one sounds interesting, although I’m not typically a fantasy reader!
I love fantasy books! This one sounds right up my alley, I’ll have to see if my library has it!
Well, it won’t yet since it doesn’t come out until January (oops, I thought I did a good job making that clear – sorry for any confusion)! But hopefully, when it’s released it’ll be available at your library 🙂
You inspire me to find more time to read, especially during this season change!
Wow this book sounds like something amazing to read this fall/winter. So cool you got to read it early!
Wow, sounds like such a great story! I haven’t been reading as much and miss it. Thanks for sharing!
I love your book reviews! Always have the best recommendations. This one sounds like a good Fall read.
I’m reading this book tomorrow in my hammock. I got an ARC copy and can’t waitttt.
I am not much of a fantasy reader but thissounds very interesting! I may keep it in mind.
Oh my goodness! That is quite the recommendation. Honestly, I love books that leave you longing for me. If you’re grieving it coming to an end, that’s a fabulous choice in my opinion. I need to read this one!
omg I got this book for christmas and I couldn’t put it down. i ate it up in a matter of hours, and cried openly during the last chapters. It hit me so hard, i made my boyfriend read it!!!