Wolf by Alma Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a review copy of this book from the author, since I'd reviewed the previous book in the series.
The viewpoint character in this book is the brother of the previous book's viewpoint character, and spends the entire first part of the book going over the backstory from his perspective. In a sense, then, you don't need to read the previous book in order to orient yourself, but I really suggest that you do read it, because it was one of the best books I read last year.
I'm not certain whether the version I received was the final version. It felt to me as if it needed another round of revision, mainly because of the periodic appearance of 80, 100, even 120-word sentences that rambled from topic to topic, interrupting themselves several times along the way. I'm not sure if this was deliberate characterisation, the mind style of the character; it seemed to disappear later in the book, when the young man gained more sense of purpose and direction. If it was deliberate, it didn't work that well for me.
Something else that annoyed me slightly (and added to the sense that the book was just going on and on) is the lack of chapter breaks. I several times stopped reading partway through a scene in order to go to bed or get back to work after my lunch break, since I didn't know when the next stopping point was going to be.
So much for the flaws. I thought I might have found a third, in that the viewpoint character doesn't himself take most of the actions which progress and resolve the plot, relying on his friends to do so instead. On reflection, though, this isn't really a flaw. There are multiple kinds of main characters, just as there are multiple kinds of leader, and this character is the kind who inspires others around him by his devotion to a cause, by his willingness to risk everything for what's important to him, and by the fact that what's important to him is helping someone else. Even if it's important because of his guilt over past actions, it's still inspiring--not only to his fellow characters, but also to me. I found myself moved by his devotion to his sister and by the loyalty that inspired in the other characters.
Overall, then, while it wasn't, to me, as good as the previous book, and tended to wander and ramble at the beginning, I did find this book enjoyable, and the end both emotionally moving and satisfying.
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