When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. If Margaret wins the hunt, it may finally bring her mother home. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.
Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist–yet. Fired from every apprenticeship he’s landed, his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret and her bloodhound Trouble. Margaret begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.
Although they make an unlikely team, Wes is in awe of the girl who has endured alone on the outskirts of a town that doesn’t want her, in this creaking house of ghosts and sorrow. And even though Wes disrupts every aspect of her life, Margaret is drawn to him. He, too, knows what it’s like to be an outsider. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt – if they survive that long.
I adored Down Comes the Night when I got an ARC of it back last fall. It was stupendous and everything – so I was so pleased when I was sent an eARC of Saft’s next novel, A Far Wilder Magic. I was humming with excitement! A Far Wilder Magic combines magic and a quest together in a way that works. Much like Saft’s debut novel there is much to love about this new one. I was delighted by it. I can see the inspiration Saft got from Fullmetal Alchemist in terms of characters, especially if you like the ship Roy/Riza. Plotwise it isn’t at all similar.
First, Saft’s writing is stupendous. It is stellar. I cannot exclaim enough about how much I love it. It is sumptuous. Ugh I can’t even explain just how much I love it. But her writing does so much, it crafts feelings and atmospheres. I live for this type of writing and Saft just excels at it. You will just want to drown yourself in this writing and bathe and live in it forever. Yes, I am ridiculous.
“Alchemy is neither progress nor salvation. It’s the stench of sulfur she can’t scrub out of her hair. It’s packed suitcases and locked doors. It’s blood and ink on the floorboards.”
I loved Margaret in this book, I found her to be a strong character. I loved her perspective and her strength. I also loved Wes! Wes was a great character as well. He was sweet and delightful. I loved getting to see these two characters fall in love (despite not liking the Roy/Riza FMA ship they seem to be based off of) because it was done SO WELL. Saft always does an amazing job with romances, and this was no exception. It was truly well done. I wanted to cuddle Margaret and Wes.
I think the pacing in this book is also good, you get time to become invested in the characters and what happens to them, but it also isn’t boring which can happen sometimes. Thankfully it doesn’t happen here! This is a slow-paced plot, and it isn’t really about the hunt, but more about relationships, so there isn’t a huge amount of action/adventure.
It’s a personal issue – but my ONE big issue – with the book is that because I am so familiar with FMA I kept comparing all the characters/relationships to it, and so sometimes I fell out of the book. And that’s a me thing – not a book thing! This is all on me. If you’ve never heard or seen FMA, this isn’t going to be a problem for you. I will also say a line, “all is one, one is all” is ripped directly from FMA which is “one is all, all is one”. That really bugged me because that was specific to the series. I love the homage to this series but sometimes I felt like I was reading a very well written AU fanfic. (I love fanfic, so this isn’t necessarily bad, I just wasn’t really expecting it.)
Overall, this is a lovely book!