Cover Image: The Waking Forest

The Waking Forest

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Member Reviews

This was a little difficult to read via Audiobook. It's actually quite difficult to tell the difference between the parts that a written in the past and ones that are more current. I struggled to keep things straight
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This book was wild. I spent the first part in a state of suspended disbelief, because we were alternating between this story of a witch in the woods with the dreams, getting told a story about a princess, and a world that seemed like our own, but strange things kept happening to this family. I just wanted to know what the heck was going on! 

Rhea has her family, they're close knit, but she also is dealing with these night terrors, that are pretty confusing and awful to go through. And as family members started disappearing, it was chaotic and strange and I wanted to know more! 

Then we had the story of the witch, who granted wishes of children in the forest, and it was bizarre, while she was being told this story of this world, and I just wanted to know how all these parts came together in one story. 

The first half of the book was pretty slow, because like I said, it was hard to know what the heck was going on, as we were getting both parts of the story, figuring out what was going on. But that second part, when it all came together, that read like a breeze, with all the building blocks that the first part made, the second put together, and it was really great! 

This was a really great read, I had a great time with it!
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2.5⭐️ (rounded up)

Rhea sees the waking forest in her backyard, but she can never enter or touch it and no one else can see it.  So of course Rhea wants to learn its secrets and she finally can once a mysterious boy shows up and promises to reveal all of its secrets if she plays a game.  The forest is the home to the Witch, where she grants wishes for dreaming children.  Life is the same everyday until a visitor asks her what SHE wishes for.  Something is wrong in the forest and when Rhea and the Witch collide, the truth could be more dangerous out in the light.

The imagery was beautiful but this story was SO confusing, especially after the 45% mark.  I got through the beginning of this book very fast but as soon as 45% hit it took me nearly ten days to finish it… But I need to state this again, the writing is BEAUTIFUL.  I could picture the forest, Rhea’s home and the Witches throne SO easily, its very poetic.  

I LOVED the first half of this book but as soon as the two stories collided, thats when things started to fall apart.  The beginning is also very slow, there’s a lot of imagery and the action doesn’t pick up until the end of the book and by that point everything is a huge question mark.  I wish I liked this book more but it just wasn’t for me!  

If you love poetic, lyrical, beautiful writing about fairytales, this book is for you!  I also received an audiobook version which was narrated by Katelyn Levering and Katelyn’s voice is so sooting!  She did an amazing job!

Thank you NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for an advanced audio copy for an honest review.
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this was middle of the road for me. I wanted to love it more than I did. I kept waiting for it to pick up and it just didn't. however I do feel like you would like this if you prefer a slow build.
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This was an interesting pick for me to read and I think that I was really confused from about the half-way point until the end, but I think it all came together for me. I like a good "made you think" sort of read, but I'm not usually this confused during a book. I think the narrator was great, but maybe I wasn't paying as close of attention while listening out in the world because it was a little harder to follow some of the changes between chapters and settings. This one definitely took a little more concentration to follow than some other audiobooks I've tackled in the past.
3/5: world-building
4/5: narration
3/5: chapter segmentations
4/5 characters
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This was a fun story to find adventure. At the beginning there were little parts of my imagination that made me think of my youth when reading Peter Pan. The creativity for young readers has increased dramatically, but in a good way. Because I am an adult, I still get confused on what age to truly recommend these types of books, but I think my nice would pleasantly be wrapped up in the story. It’s adventure coming out of the pages.
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I wanted to like this book but I just could not get into it. I like the idea of the contrast between fantasy and the real world,  but the writing styles between the two were so drastic that it was too much to try and follow.  The fantasy story was too complex.
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This was a hard pass for me. I tried, I did. But this was SO hard to get into. So hard to the point that I just gave up.
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DNF 30%

I so badly wanted to like this story. 

To be completely honest, I found myself thoroughly disappointed with this book, despite its stunning cover and intriguing premise. I was unable to complete this book. As I immersed myself in the pages, I struggled to make sense of the narrative. Just as I thought I grasped the premise, it would abruptly veer in an unexpected direction, leaving me utterly confused.  And with having received an audiobook version via NetGalley, it was even harder to visualize what was happening. 

The Waking Forest did not resonate with me. The main issue I encountered was the overwhelming abundance of simultaneous events, none of which were adequately explored or detailed. This lack of depth proved underwhelming and hindered my reading listening experience. Its intricate plot was confusing, making it difficult to discern between the realms and comprehend the unfolding events. Also, I did not like the main character, she felt underdeveloped, lacking both substance and a distinctive personality.

While I did enjoy the glimpses into the witch's forest, even those aspects felt underdeveloped, which made me not want to continue. It was just way too chaotic feeling for me.
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Narrator was okay. Would have been fine listening to her if it had been a different book but tbh she didn't seem to be all that engaged with the subject matter either.



This wasn't for me so I'm just not going to rate it. I loved the concept but the book switches from Rhea's pov to the witch's and with that switch we're also going back and forth on two ideas. Not a deal breaker but the book never really reconciles these contrasting parts. And unfortunately I found it to be an example of that thin YA urban fantasy that I especially dislike - low plot, flat characters, overly focused on mood and 'feels', very linear storyline and pretty predictable. I actually quite like lush prose - even purple prose if it goes with an excellent story. The flip side is that if the story is threadbare, the purple prose glares out in a way that doesn't do anyone any favours. I can see why others have rated this so highly but I just couldn't connect with it at all. Great idea, execution didn't work for me.
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I couldn't get through this one! The prologue caught my interest, but unfortunately the rest of the story didn't, and the prose was VIOLENTLY purple.
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I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

What to say here… I really wanted to love this book. Honestly, the idea is amazing and it’s executed well enough but it just falls short for me. The writing is very smart and it reads like a nightmare fairytale but once the “truth” was revealed it felt like the dialogue (which had been so realistic) became very young quickly.  The writing is beautiful but the lyrical nature, at times, made it feel like there was filler which could have been taken out to be more concise with the language. I also felt that there wasn’t enough depth for the characters for me to really hold onto.
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The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees is a haunting and beautiful audiobook that seamlessly blends together elements of fantasy, horror, and contemporary fiction. The story follows the journey of Rhea, a teenage girl who dreams of a mysterious forest that seems to be calling out to her. When she finally ventures into the forest, she discovers a dark and twisted world that is both alluring and dangerous.

The audiobook is masterfully narrated by a talented voice actor who brings the story to life in a way that is both gripping and emotional. The narrator's voice is soothing yet haunting, and the way she brings each character to life with unique voices and accents is truly impressive.

The story itself is a thrilling blend of magical realism and horror that will keep listeners on the edge of their seats. Wees' prose is lyrical and vivid, painting a vivid picture of the dark and mysterious forest that Rhea finds herself in. The world-building is top-notch, and listeners will feel like they are right there alongside Rhea as she navigates the twisted world of the Waking Forest.

One of the standout features of the audiobook is the way it explores themes of identity, memory, and family. Rhea's journey is not just a physical one, but an emotional and psychological one as well. Wees explores the complex relationships between parents and children, and the impact that trauma and memory can have on our sense of self.

Overall, The Waking Forest is a captivating and immersive audiobook that is not to be missed. With its stunning prose, masterful narration, and hauntingly beautiful story, it is sure to stay with listeners long after the final chapter.
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I liked this book overall. I struggled to get into it but I'm glad I stuck with it. The story is very intriguing and I was left very happy with it
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This was a fun fantasy novel. Very ethereal, whimsical, and fairy tale-esq. There are two main timelines, one about a witch who grants wishes to children and lives in the woods and another about a mostly normal girl in the modern world who is plagued by recurring dreams. I really enjoyed the difference in the writing and the narrator's treatment between the two story arcs. They were easy to identify through narrative style.

I had a hard time getting invested in the book, however. I did not like the narrator's accent in the real-world parts and the whole thing was just a little too dreamy and unreal for my taste. However, I'm sure this book will have many fans.
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Thank you to netgalley for the advanced reading copy of the waking forest. This was interesting and ethereal. I'm convinced anything wees writes will have that cool ethereal feel. I really enjoyed it.
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Thank you so much to the author Alyssa Wees, NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for the audioARC. 

The story was very intriguing as your begin the story and are immediately introduced to this witch who lives in a forest only children can find. Then it pivots and the reader is then introduced to a normal-ish young lady from "our" world. She is afraid of this reoccurring nightmare she keeps having that leads her to a door. She doesn't know what is behind this door, but something inside her knows it is to be feared. She has loving, caring sisters and a mom and dad who support her despite these odd, unexplainable moments she has. FINALLY she gets past the door into the room (the attic) and she meets The Darkness. Time passes as he tries to get her to guess his name and this is about the time the story loses me. I see the layers and I did keep reading, but I didn't quite feel like the story held the mystery and intrigue that the beginning was building.
Throughout the story you learn more about the witch from the beginning and how she is important to the telling of the tale and the awakening of a princess left to slumber and flee from a life where the people she loved were oppressed and killed (even her mother). 
This story felt like a mash-up of Rumpelstiltskin, Disney's Maleficent, and Sleeping Beauty...and I REALLY wanted to love it. There is some amazing writing here for a debut author and the layers that went into this plot are a feat of writing strength that I was quite jealous of, if truth be told. Unfortunately, there was just too much going back and forth between the witch and her hearing this fairy tale story by the fox and the Rhea in her real or rather not-so-real life. I see the parallels and the concepts are solid, but a YA reader isn't going to easily pick up on these things and will get bored/frustrated and stop reading. 
Overall, I can honestly say I liked the concepts, the layers of reality vs. fairytale vs. dreamscape and I do think there is more to this story that I look forward to reading.
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What a beautifully, visual story this was! I loved the descriptions and the narrator did a great job - I really enjoyed the pacing of the narrator's speech, which I find to be really difficult to find! The story was an interesting take on the sleep-beauty fairytale; this deeply sleeping princess with magic bursting from her in a journey for self-preservation was a creative way to journey through fantasy realms, mental health, family ties, found family, and a little romance tossed in for good measure. This really brought to life the idea of finding ones-self, even in the darkest of times.
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This was not what I was expecting. The beginning was one time period, and the main was hard to tell. I’m thinking it was modern day. I liked the idea of her having a connection to a witch in the woods and fox boy, but it was just hard to get into story wise.
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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for an audio ARC of The Waking Forest in exchange for an honest review!
I enjoyed the way this story was told and the way that it unfolded with all of the different details coming together. While some parts felt rushed, it was overall a very cute and whimsical. My true rating would be 3.5 for some of the details and depth I felt were missing, but Rhea's story is still one I would recommend, especially for younger readers.
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