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Wolfsbane (Sianim) Mass Market Paperback – November 2, 2010
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“Charming and well-written...Aralorn remains complicated and intelligent and it’s delightful to see her in her childhood home with her family.”—RT Book Reviews
“Many enjoyable aspects of the world-building and characters to savour. And a sweet and touching tentative romance.”—Urban Fantasy Book Reviews
About the Author
Patricia Briggs is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series and the Alpha and Omega novels.
Top customer reviews
The novel opens with the main character, Aralorn, heading home to her family estate to attend her father's funeral. Wolf joins her at the family castle, and the two soon discover that her father is not in fact dead, but under the influence of a powerful spell that will kill him before long. The book follows Aralorn and Wolf and a small host of friends and family as they work to discover who is responsible for the attack and undo the spell. Their continued romance forms the major subplot of the book, occasionally superseding the mystery, so that it's almost a toss up whether this is a fantasy-mystery novel with some elements of romance, or a romance novel with some elements of fantasy and mystery.
In this sequel, Briggs brings her the two lovers closer together, highlighting the underlying similarity between the two by revealing Aralorn's sense of isolation from her large family, and giving Wolf some opportunity for redemption.
In certain ways, this novel offers a bit of a reality check. In the first book Aralorn and Wolf are coming to terms with how they feel about each other in the midst of a larger struggle against a powerful evil magician. In this book, they've already won the big fight. Now they're actually together--and it's not so easy carrying on a relationship with someone who is the equivalent of a wanted felon, inherently self destructive, and periodically leaves without explanation.
But, it's not so bad either. The couple is charming, sarcastic, witty and sweet. Their interactions are by far my favorite part of the whole book.
There are some undoubtedly corney moments ("Don't you die on me...") that just have to be got through. It's hard to care too terribly much about any of the side characters, even those the author obviously intended her readers to care about. Briggs has also added some details which help knit together the rest of the loosely interconnected books in what the publisher has apparently decided to call the "Sianim Series," but which add nothing at all to this story.
But, nit picky flaws aside, I enjoyed this book quite a bit, and recommend it.
In Wolfsbane we know that Aralorn and Wolf are in love with each other. They are intimate companions and trust in each other. Aralorn is heading home for her father's funeral. But is her father really dead? Very quickly she is drawn into a plot with a flurry of characters and motives.
I do enjoy Briggs' writing, scenarios, and atmosphere. I enjoy the richness of green magic, white magic, and black magic. That being said, there didn't seem to be as much depth here as there was in the first novel. The characters we meet don't seem as rich and multi-dimensional as some of the fascinating characters from the first book. The scope of what they're undertaking seems far less important. It's no longer the fate of the entire free world that's at stake, just one person. And even there, it seems that for part of the time Aralorn isn't really thinking about her father at all. She hadn't talked to him in ten years, and while she certainly cares for him, it's a distant feeling.
The interactions between Aralorn and Wolf are now more playful banter than in depth discussions. We meet a few of her siblings, but even there they are not richly painted.
There's also passages that could have been cleaned up by a more attentive editor. I've tweaked the language here so as to not give away spoilers, but we run into sections along these lines:
She looked at the sword, and could see the care that had gone into its making. It had a nice handle and guard. It was the blade that attested to the care that had gone into its making.
Yes, yes, I get it. Care had gone into its making. Certainly I understand that sometimes authors do this type of repetition for deliberate effect, but I think in the cases in this book it was simply that the author liked a certain turn of phrase and didn't realize she'd used them right in line with each other.
I did get drawn in, and I did finish up the book. I didn't end it feeling as satisfied as I had reading the first book. I think a better way to phrase is is that when I finished the first book I immediately wanted to read the second book, and did. When I finished this second book, I was OK having spent the time reading it, but I felt no draw to read a third one.
Still, if you enjoyed Masques, it's worth reading this to see what happens next.