Title / The Wolf
Author / Leo Carew
Publication Date / 2018
Series or standalone / book 1 of the Under Northern Sky series
Page no. / 512
Overall Rating / ★★★★
Goodreads synopsis: The Wolf is a thrilling, savagely visceral, politically nuanced, and unexpectedly wry exploration of power – and how far one will go to defend it. Violence and death have come to the land under the Northern Sky.The Anakim dwell in the desolate forests and mountains beyond the black river, the land under the Northern Sky.Their ancient ways are forged in Unthank silver and carved in the grey stone of their heartland, their lives measured out in the turning of centuries, not years. By contrast, the Sutherners live in the moment, their vitality much more immediate and ephemeral than their Anakim neighbors. Fragile is the peace that has existed between these very different races – and that peace is shattered when the Suthern armies flood the lands to the north. These two races revive their age-old hatred and fear of each other. Within the maelstrom of war, two leaders will rise to lead their people to victory. Only one will succeed.
This was a fantastic introduction to this new epic historical fantasy. It starts out well with good pacing and throws you straight into the action. Once I’d started reading I was hooked and didn’t want to put this book down. The plot is compelling throughout, although the pacing sometimes loses its flow a little bit. I think there are a few instances where things could have been written more concisely to keep the flow of the plot. At times the writing is a little too heavy on the descriptions and repetitive, which resulted in me skim reading sections. This didn’t bother me too much but it may be something to be aware of going into this book. One thing I really enjoyed in this book are the action scenes and political intrigue. I love books that deal with political intrigue and/or military elements and this book delivered on both those things.
One of the main strengths of this book (for me at least) are the characters. I enjoyed seeing our main character, Roper, become a leader. At first I did wonder at how quickly he seemed to settle into the role, but I think it is partly due to the society he lives in. Yes he is only 19 but he has been groomed for this task. It is one of those instances where the character seems to settle too quickly into the role before him, but it didn’t bother me too much. There is a great cast of characters, although I did want to see more women in this book. This is one of the main issues I had with this book. There are women present in this book, one of which is one of my favourite characters, but this is a very male orientated cast with all of the women being a wife to one of the men. This frustrated me a little, but perhaps it is supposed to indicate the type of society they live in. I still wanted to see better representation of women in this book though. Overall the characters are all well written and there are quite a few characters I want to see more from.
Unfortunately another issue I has is that I thought the world building was a bit lacking. I wanted to know more about the land in which these characters live and more of the history of the world. We get a very insular look into the world but we don’t really get a wider understanding of the world as a whole. However the author did a great job at creating the cultures of this world. The author has a degree in biological anthropology and that shows in his book. In this book we have two races we focus on; the Anakim and the Sutherners. The differences between the cultures are so well done and you get a good understanding of these two groups, although I wanted to know more of the how and why these two races are what they are in this book, if that makes sense.
Overall I thought this was a solid introduction to this new series and I definitely plan to check out the sequel whenever it is released. There are a few issues with it but I still enjoyed reading this book and would recommend checking it out, especially if you are a fan of epic historical fantasy. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.