Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ARC Review: Rise of the Wolf: Wereworld Book 1 by Curtis Jobling

Imagine a world ruled by Werelords--men and women who can shift at will into bears, lions, and serpents. When Drew suddenly discovers he's not only a werewolf but the long-lost heir to the murdered Wolf King's throne, he must use his wits and newfound powers to survive in a land suddenly full of enemies. Drew's the only one who can unite the kingdom in a massive uprising against its tyrant ruler, Leopold the Lion. But the king is hot on Drew's tail and won't rest until he's got the rebel Wolf's head.

I received this book from Librarything’s Early Review program. I have to admit I wasn’t sure if I would like it.  Nothing against werewolves, but there are just so many good paranormal stories out there.  In the first chapter or two things seemed to be moving so slowly, I had just about decided this was going to be one of those laborious reads. But, I was wrong. All of a sudden this story really took off and it became a real page turner.

Though the wolf takes the lead in this story, it’s not just about lycanthropy. Therianthropism runs rampant in this story.  The Seven Realms is inhabited by were beasts of all kinds:  wolves, lions, foxes, stags, bears, rats, serpents, boars, and even sharks. I found that this made it more than just your normal run of the mill paranormal fantasy. This story has it all: a little romance, lost children, treachery, a little magic, and a little necromancy and of course, good vs. evil.  Leopold, the Lion Werelord and current ruler of Lyssia, stole the throne from Wergar the Wolf King. Leopold murdered the king and all of his children - or so he thought. 

Our hero, Drew, is the long lost son of the murdered king, hidden away by a loyal servant.   He knows nothing of who or what he is, until one night a monster attacks his family and Drew makes his first shift to the inner wolf.  That night is the first step that will lead Drew to his true history and destiny.

What I liked about this book:  The pacing. Even though it gets off to a slow beginning, once it gets started it really moves along. I was often reluctant to put it down.   Though there is some magic, I like that the story is more about paranormal creatures than it is about magic.  I like the fact that Drew inspires loyalty in those around him, NOT because he the long lost son of the old king, but because of his character.  For a young boy thrown into a fantastical situation, he really is very level headed.  The contrast between his level headed down to earth character and the haughty spoiled nature of Gretchen works well.  Though, Jobling could have worked a little more on the growth of Gretchen’s character.  Gretchen aside (and I think we will see her grow more in future books), the characters seem very well developed. There is nothing flat about this book at all.

The only thing that concerned me just a little is that the back of the ARC states that the intended audience is ages 10 and up.  To me the story seems a little older – perhaps for teens.  It’s a very clean story, perhaps a little scary with some of the creatures.  Somehow it just seems as though the story is for an older audience.

The back of the ARC also includes a quote from The Times (London) – “Superior to Eragon, and pure fun.”  I liked Eragon. But you know? I think I agree with The Times.

This book is scheduled for release in September 2011.  Book two: Rage of Lions is scheduled for release in 2012.

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