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Wolves of the Beyond: Shadow Wolf

Review

Wolves of the Beyond: Shadow Wolf

As a deformed wolf with a twisted paw, Faolan has been taken from his mother and abandoned, left to die so his bloodline doesn’t threaten the healthiness and well-being of the clan. Through circumstances and an act of mercy, Faolan’s life is spared. Raised by Thunderheart, a grizzly bear mourning the death of her cub, he becomes a most unusual wolf with strength, speed and abilities like no other. After surviving a death-defying challenge, Faolan has been permitted to rejoin the pack, but in the lowliest position as a gnaw wolf. He is not permitted to participate in the hunt and only allowed to eat scraps after higher ranking wolves have eaten their fill.

Heep, a tail-less gnaw wolf, is overly fawning and sneaky. It doesn’t take Faolan long to discover he is not to be trusted. Heep takes great pains to curry favor with other members of the pack by falsely humiliating himself in front of them. He is jealous of Faolan and tries to make him look bad in front of the others. Faolan has a special gift that sets him apart from the other wolves, but his uniqueness also makes some pack members even more suspicious of him.

During a hunt, Faolan over-steps his position. His actions ruin the excursion and threaten the safety of the pack. To make amends for his misdeed, Faolan is punished severely. As part of his punishment, he must travel to all the clans, confess his sins and ask for forgiveness. After an abandoned pup is visciously murdered, Faolan becomes suspected of the brutal crime. To prove his innocence, he must discover the identity of the actual killer while being hunted by his own pack.

In SHADOW WOLF, the second book in the Wolves of the Beyond fantasy series, Kathryn Lasky has created a fascinating world that I became engrossed in and didn’t want to leave. The memorable characters, vivid descriptions and enchanting story combine to make a suspenseful and gracefully written novel. The heroes and villains are captivating. The respect for nature, reverence for life, and passion and emotion of the characters flow through the story line. Lasky also skillfully makes the many unfamiliar words of the fictional world easily understandable within the context of the story.

Middle-grade readers who enjoy unleashing their imaginations and soaking up the atmosphere of a different world should be fascinated by SHADOW WOLF. The book’s message is to make the most of one’s unique gifts and to find comfort in being part of something bigger than oneself. I hope it won’t be too long before this wonderful series resumes.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on October 1, 2010

Wolves of the Beyond: Shadow Wolf
by Kathryn Lasky

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2010
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • ISBN-10: 0545093120
  • ISBN-13: 9780545093125