Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars The author's research into the world of wolves culminates in a powerful first novel (in a series), February 15, 2012
This review is from: Promise of the Wolves: A Novel (Wolf Chronicles) (Hardcover)
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When well-written, I enjoy novels which feature the thoughts and actions of animals - in this case, wolves. If you don't, you still might one to give this one a try. It is a top notch effort. Watership Down comes closest to any others I've read when it comes to comparisons. But the comparison is still off the mark since Promise of the Wolves stands squarely on its own.

Author Dorothy Hearst didn't just imagine the lives of wolves and then create a novel. First, she conducted extensive research to ensure that fiction blended with as much accuracy as possible. She used such books as "Of Wolves and Men" as well as a host of other works and studies centering on how wolves and people have related and to accurately describe wolf behavior. She even learned about ravens so that she could also add them to the book with equal accuracy. Yes, I know that portraying the thoughts of animals is far from reality but this IS a fantasy and yet written with a clear desire to maintain believability - within the form - as much as possible.

Hearst's diligence to get details right definitely shows and yet the novel isn't dry or academic. I was immediately captivated by the world of the she wolf-pup Kaala, as she recounts events in her life. I learned much about wolf habits and lifestyles while also enjoying a very dramatic work. At first, Kaala has no idea that her fate will be connected to humans, let alone that she will want to watch over them. Kaala also has no idea that she is special, not until a pivotal moment involving the Greatwolves, the ones who could control Kaala's fate. Meanwhile, there is great turmoil as the Greatwolves struggle to remain powerful and dominant. This is just one of the many themes in this complex and thoroughly compelling novel.

Another theme is that of the outsider and Kaala is - no surprise - the outsider, with even her mother driven from the pack. I couldn't help rooting for Kaala and was heartened to see how she grew wiser and matured over time. As her destiny becomes clearer, turning Kaala into the one who can maintain balance and control human and wolf connections and understanding, the drama ramps up another notch. It is impossible to describe the unique style of this book but I hope I've grabbed your attention just enough to want to check out the book.

By the way, the second book in the series, Secrets of the Wolves: A Novel (The Wolf Chronicles) is also available now.
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