On a hunt, Arud faces one of the ferine, a terrifying wolf with serrated teeth and murderous heart. He escapes home, but the wolf follows, and his mother begs him to go, taking his sister with him, to a village weeks away. Confused and frustrated at the secrets he knows his mother keeps, Arud takes Lykke and together they travel as quickly as possible. They must reach the village before the next moon frees all the ferine from the Dreadlands and allows them to hunt freely. A beautiful girl joins Arud and Lykke on their way. She tells him of a prophecy and a ritual which could alter the course of humanity. If Lykke is captured by the ferine, a powerful sorceress will perform the ritual and the ferine will be free to hunt and kill at will.
Right from the opening pages, this story takes off. I was immediately hooked. Arud’s family practically bursts with secrets, from his grandmother’s strange ways to his sister’s mysterious illness, to his father’s disappearance. Add to that deadly wolves already on the hunt for Arud, and I could not stop reading.
I liked the characters. There are a lot of named characters, but it didn’t feel like a lot to me as I read the story because they’re introduced at a nice pace, and for the most part, each contributes something to the story that makes that person memorable. Scalvia, the girl who accompanies Arud and Lykke, was definitely my favorite. She’s every bit the warrior, but still kind and sweet, especially to Lykke. Sometimes when story features a small child character, they end up unrealistically good. I felt like Lykke’s character had a great balance of being a good kid, but also still acting like a kid and wanting her own way sometimes.
Werewolf stories aren’t my usual go-to, but I really liked the unusual way those elements were worked into the story. The Viking mythology added some interesting elements, definitely something I don’t see often enough. This is sort of How to Train Your Dragon meets Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls series).
Fans of teen paranormal should definitely check out this book. I liked the fresh take on the werewolf lore and the complex, suspenseful plot definitely entertained.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
A few kisses between boy and girl.
Some characters pray to Odin and Freya. Arud talks to Scalvia about his own belief that another god, a Creator exists. He often talks about the importance of faith. Some of the lines about faith are paraphrased from the Bible.
A powerful sorceress leads the ferine. She seeks to perform a ritual that will free the ferine from captivity in the Dreadlands and let them roam freely.
Arud hunts and cleans the animals he catches. Some of the descriptions are a bit vivid. The wolf-like animals who hunt Arud and his sister attack animals and humans. Arud and his allies fight back in several battles. Descriptions range from brief to moderately detailed. I’m a bit sensitive to violence, and it was definitely at the upper edges of what I’m comfortable with, but other readers may not have issue with it.
Brief mention of elderberry mead included in table fare.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.