Book Review: Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Goodreads: Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology #1)
Publisher: Tordotcom
Published: 18 June 2019
Genre: Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads. When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.

What did I just read? This was WAY too short and I didn’t want it to end! I don’t often read novellas or short stories because I have a very hard time connecting to them and most of the time I feel like before the story has even begun it’s already ended. Emily Tesh managed to make me really care about this story that’s a little over 100 pages and I’m amazed! I have a feeling that this book will continue to grow on me the longer that I think about it and I love books that do that ❤️ I don’t even know how to adequately describe how wonderful this short story is. It’s so full of heart and emotion and it’s a perfectly dark fairytale story set in the woods! Not to mention that cover? *chefs kiss!*

This was so beautiful and deeply emotional. It’s a bit sorrowful and goes down an unexpectedly dark and creepy path. Tesh’s writing is so atmospheric and she manages to breathe such life into the forest that it almost feels as if you’re walking through the woods with Tobias and experiencing all the life that teems inside it, both light and dark, alongside him. There’s an almost dreamlike foggy quality to the writing that lends itself so well to the folktale atmosphere of the story. I don’t know how to describe it because I’m terrible with words but the story itself feels old and it fits perfectly with Tobias’ character and the ancient tales we learn about from Silver. As I said, the story takes a much darker turn than expected and it not only surprised me but as the dots slowly connected and the tension built, I felt really delighted by where it took us!

One of the elements I struggle with most in novellas is connecting to the characters but I had no issue with that in this book and I adored this small but full cast. Tobias, Bramble, Henry Silver and his mum, Mrs. Silver, were such wonderful characters with rich distinct voices and personalities! I really loved Tobias. He’s grounded and there’s a sense of calmness–though it could also be a resignedness–that surrounds him. Although he doesn’t use a lot of words, his presence is so large that it fills up all the space and you feel truly immersed as you read through his POV. His love for and connection to the forest was at turns aweing and heartbreaking and I loved how he doted on the feisty and fiercely protective dryad, Bramble. I can’t imagine this story being told by anyone else. On the other hand, Henry Silver is full of youthful enthusiasm (I honestly pictured him a bit like a puppy) and he comes bounding into Tobias’ world every now and then burning with a curious energy. I loved the contrast in their characters and their slow-burning romance was soft, so very sweet, and it made my heart sigh in contentment 🥰 Mrs. Silver was another great addition to this story. She kicks absolute (monster) ass and has a no-nonsense attitude that’s slightly intimidating but fiercely admirable.

There were very small issues that I had which is why I’m only giving this 4.5 stars. I had hoped to get a better understanding of how exactly the villain came to be and Tobias’ role in it, as that part was a slight blur to me so that left me a bit wanting. I also thought the book lost a bit of its strength heading towards the end. There’s a quiet sense of disbelief that filled those pages but I thought that it was a bit rushed and I didn’t connect with it as much as the rest of the story. While the story does end abruptly it does conclude in a satisfying enough way that you don’t necessarily have to read the sequel to get ‘closure’–but I obviously will and I can’t wait!

Have you read Silver in the Woods or is it on your TBR?

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

  1. Silver as a puppy is the perfect image. xD He’s just so stinking cute and dramatic. I had pretty much the same feelings as you about everything when it comes to this! I’d love to see these characters and this world in a full novel, because I think there are so many possibilities left for them!


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