Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Secrets of the Wolves by Dorothy Hearst

In Secrets of the Wolves, Kaala and her pack mates have to find a way to live in harmony with the humans in the valley. Her worthiness to her pack as well as the lives of both the wolves and the humans are at stake. However, not everyone sees it that way and she encounters many obstacles and distractions on her journey.  "Told from the wolf's point-of-view and set 14,000 years ago in a time when the cultures of wolves and humans were not so different", the book takes the reader on a unique journey.

Since I had liked the first book in The Wolf Chronicles so much I was really looking forward to the second installment. Unfortunately, it somehow got lost in the shuffle and I'm just getting to it now. Better late than never, though, right?

Like I said, I read and enjoyed the first book in the series, Promise of the Wolves (my review). While I liked this one, too, I didn't love it. I'm not sure why. Over the last 6 years (since I read that first book), I've read lots of books and my reading tasted have definitely changed, but I don't think that would account for it. At least, not all of it.

To me, parts of this story felt contrived, especially the "dream" sequences and Kaala's special gift. I know this is fantasy, but that was just a bit too out there for me. There were also a few awkward sentences/passages with the same words used repeatedly. Perhaps some additional editing was needed.

As far as the story goes, not that much happened. The wolves seemed to be running endlessly through the woods, as wolves are apt to do. But at times there was very little forward movement in the story. They run here, run there, and run back again. There was talk about what was going to happen...repeatedly..., but it took a long time to get there. I was particularly looking forward to one event that was mentioned early on, but never materialized. If it's not going to happen until the next book, why bring up so early in this book? It left me a little frustrated.

Having said all of that, there were still parts that I found appealing. I especially liked it when Kaala or one of the other wolves learned or discovered something new about the humans. I also loved all of the information on the wolves, their packs, their behaviours, as well as all of the information on the ravens and humans of the time. As with the previous book, I was mesmerized by the relationship between the ravens and the wolves. All very cool information.

If you are interested in this series, there's lot of important background information on Kaala in the first book. It makes the most sense to start there and then read this one. This book ends with a cliff-hanger presumably to be continued in the next book.

Recommended. While I did have some problems with this book, I'll probably read the last book in the trilogy to find out what happens with Kaala and the other wolves.

For more information about this book, please visit Simon & Schuster's website.

For more information about the author and her other book, please visit Dorothy Hearst's website. There's also a short section featuring frequently asked questions (FAQ) on wolves that's pretty interesting. It probably not the best source of information on wolves, but it is a place to start for those interested.

I'd like to thank those nice people at Simon & Schuster for this review copy. Sorry it took me so long to get to the book.

Secret of the Wolves by Dorothy Hearst, Simon & Schuster ©2011. ISBN 9781416570004(Hardcover), 371p.

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