Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Wolf Hour

The Wolf Hour. Sara Lewis Holmes. 2017. Scholastic. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Once upon a time there was a Wolf. When he wasn't anymore, there was another one. And another one. How could this be? A Wolf without end? Welcome, my little lambs, to the Puszcza, where even wolves must live and die by the rules. It's an ancient forest, a keeper of the deepest magic, and there, fairy tales of the darkest kind are real. Some even call them spells, for if you're unlucky enough to be caught in one of them, you must play your part, all the way to the bitter end.

Premise/plot: WOW what a book. Can I leave it at that? No?! Are you sure?! Okay, I'll do my best. Magia is the heroine of this one. She's a girl who wants to be a woodcutter just like her father. She wants a red cap of her own to protect her in the Puszcza. She longs to enter--safely--the wild woods that call to her. But her father and mother have different ideas of what she should do. Her mother wants her to SING. And Magia's voice is something beautiful, something brilliant. But that's her mother's dream, not her own. It is in obeying her mother that she goes to visit Miss Grand in town for a music lesson. And it is what happens at that music lesson that changes everything. For she sets Miss Grand's metronome--a pig--to doing a jig and it BREAKS. Soon after that, her mother gives birth and EVERYTHING seems broken in her family after the baby dies. Everyone wants to find a solution--but some solutions are COSTLY.

Magia is NOT the only hero of the book. There is also MARTIN, a book-loving wolf. His mother is unable to protect him, though his memories of being loved continue to give him strength and courage in his darkest hours. And dark hours there are plenty of in the Puszcza. Their stories are intertwined--for better or worse. Can a wolf get a happy ending?

My thoughts: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. It was MAGIC, pure magic. I loved it cover to cover. The way it was written, the narrative style, the storytelling. It was a thing of beauty. It begs to be read again and again and again and again. It is one of those rare books where you could open it up to almost any page and be sucked into the story. Every page--nearly--has some sentence worth quoting.

This is how she introduces Martin to readers:
You see, my little lambs? As promised, a Wolf's tale and a Girl's. Both laid upon the table, juicy and fresh. Dinner is served! Alas. There is a troubling smell in the air. If you don't scent it, ask yourself this question: Is a Story truly like a meal? Can we eat it in any order we please? Of course not. A Story, no matter who makes it, isn't a series of events plopped hodgepodge on the dinner plate. No, those events must be arranged in the right order. Served in courses, if you will. (79)
This is how Martin's mother warns him of the dangers of the woods:
"A story is like a spider," his mother said. "it throws out one gauzy strand, and then another. You're intrigued. You watch as a pattern develops. Ooh! So pretty!" She nudged her son sharply. "Then you're stuck. You struggle, but you cannot get out. It's a trap!" (84) 

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP