by W.R. Gingell
Publish date: May 1, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, young adult
Summary | Goodreads
‘If you want adventure, you have to march right up to it and kick it in the shins . . .’
At fourteen, barefoot and running wild, Rose is delighted to be apprenticed to Akiva, the witch of the forest. She thinks it will be all enchantment and excitement, and not so much fuss about baths. The reality is much more sober and practical- that is, until she meets a mysterious wolf in the forest and is tricked into stepping off the path . . .
In young, naive Rose, Bastian sees a way of escape. Cursed to remain in the shape of a wolf after running afoul of a powerful enchantress, he has lived many decades under a spell, and now he is both desperate and ruthless. But by breaking part of Bastian’s curse, Rose has caught the attention of Cassandra, the enchantress who cursed him: and Cassandra is by no means ready to forgive and forget.
Meanwhile, wardens have been disappearing from the forest, one by one. Rose is certain that Cassandra is behind the disappearances, but can she and Bastian get to the bottom of the matter before Akiva disappears as well? And are Bastian’s motives entirely to be trusted?
Sometimes the little girl in the red hood doesn’t get eaten, and sometimes the wolf isn’t the most frightening thing in the forest.
Honestly, in the beginning I was a little unsure about reading and reviewing Wolfskin by W.R Gingell. Now that I'm in my mid-20s (sigh... getting older) I tend to lean more toward stories with slightly older characters or NA fantasy. I find that I can relate more toward characters that are closer to my age.
So with that in mind, I did get a little frustrated with the main character and her childish reaction to things. She was a little bit whiny and pouty. However, then I reminded myself that I was a little brat at 14 too, and I started to really enjoy the story once I got that out of the way.
What's good. The story itself was excellent. It wasn't anything like I had expected at all, which is always refreshing to see in a fantasy. Our main character, Rose, has a lot of learning to do in her apprenticeship and we learn right along with her. I found myself confused at times by what was happening, but it made me connect with Rose more, since she was struggling to understand everything at the same time I was.
The characters were new and refreshing. After I got over my initial dislike of Rose, I came to love her energy and curiosity. It reminded me a lot of myself at that age.
Then there's Akiva, the guardian witch Rose is apprenticed to. She's not your typical lovey, dovey fairy godmother. She's a tough, no nonsense old broad. She really makes Rose work for everything and never just gives her the answer to whatever problem she's facing.
Lastly, we have Bastian. His character is very drawn out through the novel. When we meet him, he's a conniving, vicious wolf who's about to eat Rose on their first meeting. After she breaks the first part of his curse, we don't see that much of him. Rose runs into him here and there, but he doesn't really play a bigger part until the second half of the novel.
What could have been better. The pacing was a little off for me. Sometimes it would take an entire chapter to go through a few days. Other times it was months down the road within a few sentences. To me, it didn't quite flow as well as it could have. I like it better when there's a consistency to the timeline.
I would have like to have seen more of Bastian in the beginning half of the novel. After Rose broke the first part of the curse I thought he'd be around more. He still had two more parts to the curse but didn't seem to be in a hurry to break them.
Overall, I gave Wolfskin a rating of 4/5 because I really, really enjoyed the storyline. The few things that I didn't like were very minor and didn't take away from the book as a whole. I'll definitely be recommending this one.
** I was provided a copy of this book in return for an honest review
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About the authorW.R Gingell is a Tasmanian author who enjoys reading, bacon, and slouching in front of the fire to write.
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