Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake

Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake Book Cover


The Bear and the Nightingale meets Frostblood in this romantic historical fantasy from the author of Beyond a Darkened Shore.

When Katya loses control of her power to freeze, her villagers banish her to the palace of the terrifying Prince Sasha in Kiev.

Expecting punishment, she is surprised to find instead that Sasha is just like her—with the ability to summon fire. Sasha offers Katya friendship and the chance to embrace her power rather than fear it.

But outside the walls of Kiev, Sasha’s enemies are organizing an army of people bent on taking over the entire world.

Together, Katya’s and Sasha’s powers are a fearsome weapon. But as their enemies draw nearer, will fire and frost be enough to save the world? Or will Katya and Sasha lose everything they hold dear?

Inspired by Russian mythology, this lushly romantic, intensely imaginative, and fiercely dramatic story is about learning to fight for yourself, even when the world is falling down around you.

Book Details

Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake
Publish on April 9th 2019 by HarperTeen
Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy / Historical
Hardcover, 416 pages
Source: ARC from Publisher
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars



THROUGH THE WHITE WOOD is an action-packed stand-alone fantasy that takes inspiration from Russian mythology and is filled with fierce elemental magic, deadly creatures, and a slow-simmering romance.

Ever since I first discovered Jessica Leake’s debut Beyond a Darkened Shore, I knew I wanted more of her books!

Her writing is so captivating; each story is set in a world infused with unique magic and mythology.

In this story, we meet Katya who has the power to freeze but when she accidentally loses control of her power and harms those in her village she is banished and sent to the palace of the terrifying Prince Sasha in Kiev who is rumored to be gathering those with power like Katya’s for an army.

When Katya first meets Sasha there is definitely some trusts issues between the two but when she discovers he can wield the element of fire and wants to help her gain control of her abilities, the two begin to build trust and find themselves falling for each other. 

A dangerous army built of wild elementals and otherworldly creatures are rising—threatening all and readers can’t help but wonder if together, Katya’s and Sasha’s powers together will be enough to stop them.

There really is so much to love in this book, especially for readers who enjoy historical fantasy.

Set during the eleventh century of Russian history when it was known as Kievan Rus and ruled by a grand (Viking) prince known as a Varangian, Leake combines conflict and politics with magic and Russian folklore.

Readers are treated to gorgeous Wintery lore, while supernatural creatures and spirits make an appearance. Baba Yaga is as clever and tricky as in any folktale, while encounters with a watery rusalka and a bannik add danger to Katya’s quest.

I loved how bits and pieces from the stories of Vasilisa the Beautiful and the Firebird are interwoven into the story as well.

Unique Elemental Magic and Fierce Battles

Besides all the great folklore there is plenty of magical battles which I loved. Otherworldly creatures battle it out alongside fierce warriors who powers are drawn from the elements—earth, wind, fire, and ice.

Slow-Simmering Romance

I love romance in my reads and Jessica Leake writes such wonderful relationships that build slowly, and often start out from enemies-to more, that complement the story.

Katya has a hard time trusting, she is especially afraid to let anyone get to close to her in fear that she might accidentally hurt them with her uncontrolled powers. I loved seeing Sasha break down these walls and the newfound strength Katya finds in herself as she learns to trust her abilities.

In the End

I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical-fantasy and especially to those who have read and enjoyed her debut young adult Beyond a Darkened Shore.

Filled with captivating characters, fierce action, a magical world filled with folklore, and a simmering romance, THROUGH THE WHITE WOOD, has all the elements I look for in a good book.