Photo from @beautifulbookland on Instagram
Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Release date – 18th September 2018
Holy crap, this book is good. Before I read it, I thought it sounded similar to The Hazel Wood (which I loved!) but once I started, I couldn’t really see any similarities apart from the creepy house (and the fact that I enjoyed both books immensely, of course).
Because, for me, The Hazel Wood had quite a whimsical, behind-a-pane-of-glass feel to it, where I knew what was going on but I wasn’t quite sure all the time.
But What the Woods Keep is written in a way that makes the story easy to follow, all the while keeping its cards close to its chest, allowing it to keep some of the mystery. There are twists in the plot that will keep you gripped, and the writing is simply addictive.
What It’s About
With What the Woods Keep, Katya manages to weave a deliciously creepy story that follows an eighteen-year-old girl who, on her eighteenth birthday, is left her childhood home by her late mother – with the request to uncover her mother’s darkest secrets, and put her past wrongs right.
This book is written in first person and is narrated by Hayden, who is a fabulous main character. She has just the right amount of dark to be mysterious (without being a raging psychopath), and is very science and logic based, resolutely refusing any supernatural possibilities.
At the beginning of a lot of the chapters, Hayden tells us different scientific discoveries and theories, and then explains how they can fit in with her life and what she’s going through. I found them incredibly interesting (despite being incredibly confused – but impressed! – by a lot of them).
As well as interesting science theories, I also loved learning about the Nibelung. I must admit, I’d never heard of the Nibelung and had to google the term to see if it was an actual thing, or just something that Katya had cooked up for her story. The Nibelung are part of Germanic mythology, and they’re pretty fascinating (and, I must say, Katya has definitely done her research for this book!).
As I mentioned earlier, Hayden is a brilliant character, but the secondary characters are also fab – especially Hayden’s best friend, Del. Del, who is funny and flirty and is the light to Hayden’s dark. She’s a brilliant best friend, despite Hayden not being the easiest people to get along with; she follows Hayden to her home town without a second thought. They are literal friendship goals, and I loved their relationship.
There’s also a very sweet love interest, Shannon, the boy next door who is now all grown up (I don’t know if this is just me, but I’d literally never heard of a guy being called Shannon before, so it did sort of take some getting used to because I kept picturing a girl). The romance is by no means overpowering, though, and because Hayden and Shannon were best friends growing up, there’s no insta-love!
I loved this book! It had my heart racing, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It’s literally mental how this is Katya’s debut novel; I can’t wait to read what she does next!
*Thank you so much to Katya for sending me an arc, I greatly appreciate it*