Friday, March 3, 2017

The Wolf Wilder - Katherine Rundell

Summary: A girl and the wolves who love her embark on a rescue mission through Russian wilderness in this lyrical tale from the author of the acclaimed Rooftoppers and Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms.

Feo’s life is extraordinary. Her mother trains domesticated wolves to be able to fend for themselves in the snowy wilderness of Russia, and Feo is following in her footsteps to become a wolf wilder. She loves taking care of the wolves, especially the three who stay at the house because they refuse to leave Feo, even though they’ve already been wilded. But not everyone is enamored with the wolves, or with the fact that Feo and her mother are turning them wild. And when her mother is taken captive, Feo must travel through the cold, harsh woods to save her—and learn from her wolves how to survive.

From the author of Rooftoppers, which Booklist called “a glorious adventure,” and Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, which VOYA called “a treasure of a book,” comes an enchanting novel about love and resilience. (Summary and picture from

My Review"Once upon a time, there was a dark and stormy girl."

The Wolf Wilder was a fascinating story, a mythical Russia of ages ago where tame wolves needed to be taught how to be wild, and relied on those who did that (an idea so intriguing to me that I found myself thinking, 'can I have that job please?').  But woven within is a story of human nature, of people beaten and driven down who must reclaim their own identities against cruel tyrants who fight to smother it.

I loved Feo.  This girl is a fierce, feisty little ball of sinew and spit, raised with wolves and by a mother who wilds them.  Her relationship with these animals is the deepest kind of friendship, she respects them, knows they are not pets, even when they are not completely wild, but she is there for them even when they snap at her, and they are there for her when she most needs them.

Her friend Ilya is also a complex character, a boy who never wanted to be a soldier, who has deeper dreams but does all he can to help Feo rescue her mother and falls in love with the wolves.  I loved how basically all the main characters in this book were kids, how they were the ones starting the revolutions, they were the ones fighting for the world they had to live in.  And they are scared to do it, but they do it anyway.

This book was filled with beautiful writing.  The turns of phrases Rundell used were so unique and picturesque, evoking true feelings in a way I never would have thought to phrase it.

My Rating: 3.5 stars

For the sensitive reader: These characters are being hunted by a very merciless man and, such being the case, there are losses along the way, but it is dealt with in a gentle manner, even through the sorrow.

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