Title: A Whisper of Wolves
Author: Kris Humphrey
Series: Guardians of the Wild #1
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Summary (from Goodreads)
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…
I picked this up because it said ‘perfect for fans of Michelle Paver’ and I remember loving Michelle Paver when I was younger. Maybe I’m just getting a bit too old to properly enjoy this sort of story now, but this didn’t instil the same sense of adventure and enjoyment that Paver’s books did.
Which isn’t to say that it’s a bad story. It’s sweet and light, features a number of female characters in positions of power (always good) and has a lot of the ingredients that make this sort of yarn so appealing – animal companions, magic, overcoming fear and odds stacked against you to achieve victory against some evil creature.
But this was a strictly PG sort of story. The badguys put the villagers to sleep, and there was never any real sense of peril. Which can be a good thing from time to time – we don’t always want heavy going death and destruction – but without the stakes of something like Harry Potter (the early years, of course, this is MG) this just doesn’t have the same depth and impact.
The characters are all much the same as well. There are two girls who feature. Both lack respect, both are downtrodden by blinkered older members of the community, both doubt they have the power they need, but both are resourceful… You could have interchanged their names and I wouldn’t have known much difference.
Again, it’s not a bad read – perfectly pleasant for a lazy afternoon with the eight year old in your life. But don’t expect them to be clamouring to get the next instalment.