Genre: historical, adventure, war, fantasy
Key Stage: 3
Reviewer: Ms Harrison
The Wolf Wilder, Katherine Rundell (2015)
Plot: Once upon a time, a hundred years ago there was a dark and stormy girl. Her name was Feodora.
Feo and her mother live in the snowy woods of revolutionary Russia. Feo’s mother is a wolf wilder, and Feo is a wolf wilder in training: a person who teaches tamed animals to be wild again. When a corrupt Russian Army threatens her wolves and arrests her mum, Feo is forced to go on the run with her wolves by her side.
Positives: It felt odd, given the novel’s harsh wintry setting, reading it on one of the hottest days of the year but Rundell’s fairy-tale like writing is totally transporting and I soon felt I was pacing alongside Feo in the wild, hostile woods. I absolutely loved Feo’s character (she reminded me of Lyra Belacqua): her determination, bravery and inherent sense of what’s right or wrong yet there’s a vulnerability that feels relatable. Feo’s faithful wolves are well crafted and convincing, each with their own distinctive character and unexpected beauty. There’s a degree of peril and loss but there’s wonder, humour and joy too. And bravery in all guises.
Negatives: not many although I generally preferred the first half to the second which felt a little more disjointed.
If you like this, you might like: Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable, Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aitken and Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson.