Sunday, 8 March 2015

Book Review: A Whisper of Wolves

A WHISPER OF WOLVES by Kris Humphrey
3 Stars
Quick and cheerful middle grade read. Easy on the eyes.

When a raven drops a white feather at the doorstep on the day of your birth, it is a symbol of your destiny. You are a Whisperer – a guardian of the wild. After many years of peace in the kingdom of Meridina, rumours are spreading of a planned invasion – could the demonic Narlaw be returning from the darklands? It is up to the Whisperers and their animal companions to defend Meridina, protect Princess Ona and stop the Narlaw from destroying their world.

When hunters from her village disappear without a trace, Alice suspects that something sinister is at work. With the help of Storm, her wolf companion, Alice fights to save her village. The Narlaw are on the attack and it’s up to the Whisperers to stop them…


This is a very high three stars from me, especially towards the end, but I just couldn’t bring myself to give it four.

The main problem for the both of our main characters is that Narlaw demons are attacking and need banishing. It’s easy to read, easy to follow, and some of the situations seemed a bit too easy to fix. Even for middle grade novel, the plot felt very simple, and while I found it to be a pleasant read, I wanted more from it.

Dawn is the Palace Whisperer and already knows her stuff but is yet to prove herself. On the other hand, Alice is an apprentice in a distant village. I thought we’d learn all about the Whisperers through her mentor, Moraine, and her teachings. But after letting us know that they are protectors who can talk to an animal and banish the Narlaw, we’re away with the story and that’s about as much detail as we ever get. It’s such a good base concept but there’s really not much to it at this stage. I like it, but it just seems a bit thin.

I liked the heroines. Both Alice and Dawn share the ‘take action’ quality that any protagonist needs. Again, we only see a slither of them. There wasn’t much to connect to, like a socket with a hole missing. I wanted another hole, another dimension to their lives to make me understand them and feel invested. Usually books jump to ‘love interest’ but family, friends, or even hobby would do.

Like, like, like. Not love.

Maybe if Alice and her mentor Moraine talked a bit more about being a Whisperer then the reader would get a better sense of depth and become a little fonder of the relationship I assume they must share. Dawn grates with a few of the characters at the palace and by the end she really starts to show some power, but it was all too little too late. I get the feeling that further along the series Dawn might become my favourite character.

Ah, I almost forgot about Alice’s wolf partner. I thought ‘A Whisper of Wolves’ would have more to do with....well... the wolves. They get a bit of a mention, but the title is a tad misleading now that I think about it. ‘A Whisper of Birds’ would make far more sense.

Don’t get me wrong, this was an enjoyable book. You’ll probably lap it up in one sitting, but an extra 5,000 words spent on character and world building would have been words well spent in my opinion.