I was given a free copy of this book by the author with the option to write an honest review. This is a YA fantasy novel.
There are three rules in the walled city of Redcross: work if you want to eat, go home when you hear the warning drums and do not leave your house after curfew begins.
Milly Costello has lived in the walled city of Redcross for two years, and wants nothing more than to leave it.
But when the mysterious Wolf-Lords arrive, she finds her wish granted in a way she doesn’t expect or want. For six months, she must live among a people everyone in Fearainn knows of, respects and fears.
Meanwhile, Milly’s friends must deal with a secret – one that threatens disastrous consequences for Milly and themselves.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I liked the idea of these mysterious wolf-lords and the prologue really drew me in. The story mainly followed Milly, a teenager who had travelled to Redcross with her family two years earlier, escorted by the elusive Wolf-Lords.
“Do not act fearful around Wolf-Lords or their beasts,” she whispered, “If you do, they will think you are prey.”
The book is in the third person and while Milly is the main character, we do shift points of view through some of her friends such as Frankie and Sami.
The prologue was good, dropping you into a situation without much knowledge and drawing you in with curiosity. However, the pacing did seem to slow down a lot after that until much closer to the end when it sped up.
Other than Milly, I didn’t feel that many of the other characters had been fleshed out. There was a limit of character voices, especially Milly’s friends. I didn’t get a good sense of who was speaking as they didn’t have anything distinct to separate them.
The Wolf-Lords were an interesting concept but I did feel they were not given their full potential. I would love to have learnt more about their unique connections to their wolves though this may be expanded upon later in the series.
I feel that the Wolf-Lords who were higher in the hierarchy could have been written with more sense of authority. Their voices and dialogue often didn’t seem to reflect they were something powerful.
I believe that some of the scenes could have been strengthened with more showing and less telling. We didn’t really get to feel what the characters felt because it wasn’t revealed to us with much show. When telling is used too frequently, it detaches the reader and character.
Despite the fact Milly is taken away to live with the Wolf-Lords and the depth of the secret comes out, I didn’t really get a sense of urgency or threat from these outcomes.
The wolf-lords seemed to deal well with Milly and there didn’t seem to have much cultural difference or difficulty for her to fit in.
If wolf-lords were so different and dangerous, I would have enjoyed reading more about how she stumbled with their culture and how they tried to understand her ways. But this didn’t really come across.
In regards to the description, there was a lot of description on the cafe and the cooking, this is where the majority of the senses where used and since this was a main location for the characters, I can understand why this became the main focus of description.
However, I did feel there was a lack of description of the city itself, the mood of the people and even the characters. I couldn’t really remember what they looked liked as it wasn’t re-enforced gently throughout.
Other than the Complex and correction facility there wasn’t really any mention of other shops or places so it was hard to really immerse myself in the world.
I wasn’t really clear on the time period as there seemed to be a lack of technological advancements, with people hiking to the walled city and living what seemed to be simple lives. However, there was a point where guns were included and it seemed quite jarring.
I did enjoy the history of the humans and why they lived in walled cities, this added a wonderful flavour to the story and a nice backdrop.
Overall, it held my attention and was an easy read. I think there is great potential to make these stories stronger and add a lot more depth to the characters making it appeal to a larger audience.
However, I am aware this series is a YA so I am not really the target audience, with that in mind I believe those who are the target audience would find it a fun read.
Author: Lucy Winton (Website)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: 198 pages
Availability: Out now – Buy from Amazon.co.uk