Review: Wilder than Midnight

Written by Cerrie Burnell
Cover Illustration by Flavia Sorrentino
Map and Interior Illustrations by Sophia Watts
Published by Puffin Books

Wilder than Midnight is a spell-bindingly magical adventure that utterly entranced me from the opening lines.  I was transported into a world that I thought I knew – a world of fairy tales, of forests and castles, of wolves and witches – but instead, I found an intricately woven world, presented in a wonderfully fresh and original way, with a dream-like, lyrical quality that captured my heart and led me on the most breath-taking adventure.

A baby, born in a castle at the stroke of midnight with the Mark of the Witch, is left in Silverthorne Forest, to be raised by wolves and the Forest Folk.  A baby, born at the stroke of midnight, and cursed by a wicked fairy, is locked in a tower until her betrothal.  What tragic secrets and truths will be revealed should these children ever meet?

Saffy lives with her woodsman father and mother in a cottage on the edge of the forest.  She is given a red velvet cloak in exchange for delivering a letter but, on her return home, finds herself lost in the woods and without her protective lavender.  When Saffy finds herself hunted by a wolf pack, she is saved by a girl who has made her home with the wolves, and gives her the red cloak …

Wild Rose is at home in the heart of Silverthorne Forest although she is eager to explore beyond its boundaries and cross the Spindle Wood, a tangled wall of impassable thorny briars, through which there is a tower …

Aurelia has been locked in a tower, hidden from the world, in order to protect her from a curse.  She longs to escape into the forest to find a cure, and has formed a plan to gain her freedom …

This is an utterly mesmerising adventure as the three girls, Saffy, Wild Rose and Aurelia meet and together plot a course to change their destiny.  They are all wonderfully strong, courageous and kind-hearted girls who find friendship in each other.  They celebrate and accept difference, thread their own path, and have a natural affinity with nature. I loved how Wild Rose does not allow others to define her, rises above prejudice and fear and grows into a strong, fearless girl who does not allow others to detract her from her chosen path.

This story is written in three parts:  The Wolf Child, The Cursed Princess and The Stolen Daughter.  These parts are intricately interlaced to form a rich, detailed tapestry embroidered with deeply held secrets, terrible deeds and life-changing revelations.  I adored the fairy-tale references sprinkled throughout, and loved that they were never quite what I expected!

Wilder than Midnight is a heart-warming, magical adventure radiating with friendship, found family and acceptance.  A delightfully captivating read for those of 9+.

Thank you to the Publishers and NetGalley for an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

4 thoughts on “Review: Wilder than Midnight

    1. I couldn’t resist it when I saw on NetGalley and thought it was such a great read – just very clever interweaving of fairytales and really beautifully written. The Waterstones sprayed edge copy is also gorgeous!

      Liked by 1 person

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