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Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart (Wolf, Book 2): Reviewed

Author:Jane Lindskold
Reading Level (Conceptual):Children 12 and up
Reading Level (Vocabulary):Children 8 and up
Year of publication:2003

My daughter will read nearly any book that is put in front of her, and she knows just about intuitively when one is "good" or not. In other words, we are entirely in sympathy with, for example, The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories by Christopher Booker, in which he explains that there are really only a few stories to be told and the important thing is to tell the tale creatively and well.

On the other hand, my daughter and I have noticed that in many young adult book series, nearly every book in the series uses, not only the same basic plot, but also the exact same plot elements in the exact same order. This is truly frustrating, because, once we've caught on to this failing, basically, not only do we know exactly how each book will end, but we also know pretty much what the twists and turns will be before the end. This is even more frustrating when the characters are as interesting and unique as they are in Jane Lindskold's Wolf Series. And, even worse, Lindskold's plot twists seem to always include a planned rape, described, not too graphically, but at length, and then a protracted and bloody battle.

So, what can we now say about Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart, the sequel to Through Wolf's Eyes, which we raced through just a while ago?

Well, this book is pretty much the same as the first one. The wolf-girl's early sufferings have gifted her with nearly superhuman hearing, smell, strategic sense, and strength. But she still lacks social skills. Each of those who ends up on this Quest (and yes, the Booker plot of this one is probably not the same as the Booker plot of the first book in the series), has certain special gifts and limitations, very nicely described by the author.

Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart certainly keeps you turning the pages. And the many loose ends left at the end of the book ensure that, assuming that the really nasty rape planning session didn't turn you off too badly, you will want to read the next book in the series.

I am hopeful, but not optimistic, that perhaps by the third book, the author might have found alternative plot elements to put in service of her story.

-- Emily

Other reviews: Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart (Wolf, Book 2)
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