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Wolf Mark Hardcover – September 15, 2011
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Bruchac (Dragon Castle) delivers a fun twist on werewolf stories mixed with some mad science and espionage. . . . Bruchac adeptly incorporates characters of various heritages: Luke is Native American; his best friend/crush, Meena, is Pakistani; and the Sunglass Mafia a group of students who are more than they seem are from eastern Russia. Luke also possesses a hefty amount of cultural and political awareness to go with his combat and espionage expertise, which serve him well. . . . [T]he action and Luke's narration carry the book nicely. --Publishers Weekly
A loner teen finds himself caught up in a paranormal paramilitary threat but he has both untapped personal resources and some unlikely allies to help him out. Ever since his mother died, his father-a sometime Special Ops-type agent who happens to be of Native American descent-has been worse than useless. Lucas just concentrates on doing well in school and mooning over the beautiful daughter of one of the Pakistani scientists working at the new Romanian-owned top-secret facility in town. He goes out of his way to avoid the Sunglass Mafia, a bunch of unusually pale Russian students. But when his father is kidnapped and gives him a coded message by telephone, Lucas discovers that his heritage is more complicated and powerful than he had thought. . . . [T]he scenes with the Sunglass Mafia both defy stereotypes and manage to be very funny, and when the action kicks in, it does so in overdrive. A solid entry into the paranormal market, with an appealingly different hero. --Publisher's Weekly
Drawing on Native American traditions and his own lively imagination, Bruchac has written a genre-blending novel that combines horror, science fiction, and adventure into a satisfying whole. The fast pace will hold readers attention to the end, which yes leaves the door open to the possibility of a sequel. --Booklist
A loner teen finds himself caught up in a paranormal paramilitary threat but he has both untapped personal resources and some unlikely allies to help him out.
Ever since his mother died, his father a sometime Special Ops type agent who happens to be of Native American descent has been worse than useless. Lucas just concentrates on doing well in school and mooning over the beautiful daughter of one of the Pakistani scientists working at the new Romanian-owned top-secret facility in town. He goes out of his way to avoid the Sunglass Mafia, a bunch of unusually pale Russian students. But when his father is kidnapped and gives him a coded message by telephone, Lucas discovers that his heritage is more complicated and powerful than he had thought. . . . [T]he scenes with the Sunglass Mafia both defy stereotypes and manage to be very funny, and when the action kicks in, it does so in overdrive.
A solid entry into the paranormal market, with an appealingly different hero. --Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Joseph Bruchac is an Abenaki Indian. He is among the most respected and widely published Native American authors, with over 100 titles in print, including the popular KEEPERS OF THE EARTH series and Lee & Low's Crazy Horse's Vision, which received a starred review from KIRKUS REVIEWS. A Rockefeller Fellow and an NEA Poetry Writing Fellow, he was the 1999 recipient of the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to writing, Bruchac is an editor at Greenfield Review Press, a literary publishing house he co-founded with his wife. He lives in Greenfield Center, New York.
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Top customer reviews
Given the title and cover, it's no spoiler to say that Luke is a werewolf. Like Bruchac, the author, he's also an Abenaki Indian. Between the Indian werewolves and a cool take on vampires, I suspect that Twilight was one of the inspirations for this novel. It's not a parody, but there are a few winks in that direction. Luke, a bad-ass literature geek with a political bent and a mind crammed full of information, was reminiscent of a Cory Doctorow character, but with the saving grace of being much less smug. I liked him.
The mix of action, new riffs on old myths, and wisecracks would probably appeal a lot to Percy Jackson fans. It appealed a lot to me.
First 50 Pages: Wolf Mark is an exciting, fast-paced novel that is written in quick, short chapters with each chapter ending on a cliffhanger. I wish I had better prepared myself before diving head-first into this book. The story is written in first-person perspective and I wasn't prepared for that. First-person perspective isn't my favorite writing style in the whole world and I typically try to avoid it as much as possible. However, that is just a personal preference and it doesn't reflect on the book itself or the author. I know many other people love this style of writing, so I'll leave it up to you to see if you enjoy it or not. I will say that I felt like this novel could have used a bit more editing because some of the internal dialog felt awkward and it didn't help move the plot forward. Other then that slight hiccup, I was compelled to continue reading and finished the whole book in less then a day.
Characters & Plot: Wolf Mark tells the story of our male protagonist, Luke, and his very interesting life. I was thrilled to be reading a book with a male protagonist because they are almost as rare as finding an American Indian protagonist. All that Luke wants is to have a normal life, but his life is anything but normal, try as he might. Luke hasn't had it easy. His mother has passed on and he lives with his alcoholic father in a run-down trailer. His father wasn't always a mess. There was a time where Luke's father had a secretive job and was able to teach Luke awesome survival skills. Not only does he have to deal with his father, but Luke has a major crush on a young Pakistani girl named Meena, but he is too afraid that her family won't approve of him.
Things become much more interesting when a group of seven very pale Russians come to his high school as foreign exchange students, and Luke jokingly nicknames them the Sunglass Mafia. Like Luke, the Sunglass Mafia has a secret they are hiding. When Luke's father is mysteriously kidnapped, Luke and the Sunglass Mafia team up to save him. This book has it all: Vampire Russians, Skin walkers (AKA werewolves), and a truly evil villain who is comparable to a mad scientist.
I have a few concerns about Wolf Mark being placed into the hands of the general public. First, Joseph Bruchac wrote his novel in an almost parody-like fashion. There are some very cliche scenes, especially when the climax of the book arrives. I think this was done intentionally, but not everyone likes or understands parodies and how they work. Second, this book is humorous in general. Luke is a riot, but Mr. Bruchac uses what I like to call "Native Humor," which some people might not understand. "Native Humor" uses a lot of irony and is mocking. I personally love it because I'm used to that sort of thing with my family, but other people may not. Thirdly, I have a feeling that this novel isn't going to appeal to female readers. It is an action-packed novel with very light romance and I'm not entirely sure that it is going to appeal to older young adults either. I think that the recommended reading age is right on the money.
I loved what Joseph Bruchac did with the werewolves aspect of this novel. He mixes American Indian lore with European lore and comes up with Luke's version of a skin walker. There is a major difference between the werewolves we see in a lot of movies and what Joseph Bruchac did with Luke. Luke has a second skin in the form of a wolf. When Luke puts on his second skin, he isn't transformed into a raging beast that cannot control what he does or doesn't do. Instead, he is given more strength and becomes more himself, I guess that's the best way to put it. Wolves aren't scary creatures that roam the night hoping to come across a yummy human for dinner to American Indians. Joseph Bruchac shows the reader that the wolf deserves respect and that you can learn so much from them.
Final Thoughts: I was thoroughly entertained by Wolf Mark and I'm really hoping that the author decides to write more stories for young adults. I kind of feel like this book won't be appreciated as much as it deserves just because it is so different from what is currently popular and more mainstream. Overall, I feel as though it was well-written despite my hiccup with the first-person narrative and it was so funny and exciting. Good job, Joseph Bruchac!!
Other Things That are Worthy of Mentioning (From Lee & Low's Website): Animals, Conflict resolution, Coping with Death, Cultural diversity, Fathers, Friendship, Heroism, Native American Interest, Overcoming Obstacles, Responsibility, Self Esteem/Identity, YA interest, Mystery, Paranormal
Most recent customer reviews
Somehow this book got lost in the Netgalley pile (and the review was lost in the pile of written...Read more