Reading the Alphabet is now the Paisley Reader: YA and NA book reviews and more!
Tore Vargr finds his world turned upside down when he is forced to choose between the love of his life and the life he loves. He chooses Annike, disrespects his brother, Erik, and sets off a chain of events that shape his life in a way he could never have imagined.
Outlawed from his clan, Tore embraces his new responsibilities of father and protector as he carves out a new life in a human world. But a jealous brother has a long memory and Erik is nothing if not patient when it comes to exacting revenge. When Tore’s past catches up with his present, he has to learn to pull from an inner strength.
There is a battle of two wolves inside us all.
One is evil: it is anger, envy, greed, arrogance, jealousy, resentment, lies.
The other is good: it is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, truth.
The wolf that wins?
The one you feed.
Spanning two generations The Wolf You Feed is the first book in a heartbreaking trilogy set in the shape shifting worlds of werewolves and skin walkers.
I found the synopsis to The Wolf You Feed intriguing, especially the inclusion of the Cherokee proverb. It made me hope that I would see Native American elements in this story. Although it did not happen right away, I was thrilled when it did. I haven’t read a whole lot of shifter books, and the added element of Native American skin walkers was awesome. It made me want to read more about Hania and Kachina before Tore, Rune, and Kjell ever came into their lives…I would like a companion novella, please.
There’s a whole lot going on in this book, and if I were to tell you about everything, you might not believe me, thinking that there was enough in here for a fully trilogy. Had I known all that the book entailed, I probably would have thought that too. Stevens skillfully packs everything in, employing well-used time jumps. These time jumps move the story along with purpose and insight. They are plot-essential, not stuck in just to show that the characters have gotten older between scenes of action. These time jumps also allow you to learn more about the younger characters, who I just loved. Tore, Annike, and Kachina are definitely the main characters, and good ones, but I can’t wait to see how the kids progress throughout the trilogy given where they were going by the end of Book 1. Out of the four, I don’t think I could pick a favorite. They are all very much individuals, and shifting/skin walking aside, they are rather realistic characters.
That being said, I felt just okay about this book until about 30-40% of the way through. This was never a case of being a possible DNR, it just didn’t grab me the way other sometimes do. I liked the characters, but aside from the action at the beginning, I felt that there was just a lot of running and worrying about being found. It was when the characters settled down and more characters were introduced that this story went from a “this is okay” to “I really like this.” I really felt like this helped to round out the story and expose other facets of the main characters. After that, the story really picks up too in it’s pacing and with so much going on, I flew through the pages.
When I was asked to review The Wolf You Feed, it was billed to me as a YA book. Now, considering that I read YA and NA, this was no problem at all. Here’s my PSA to all authors, as I have seen it with many, not just The Wolf You Feed: Rethink your classifications, does your book properly fit the categories that you are placing it into? Since this is a review for The Wolf You Feed, I’ll use that as an example. When The Wolf You Feed begins, Annike (Tore’s mate) has just turned 17. Tore isn’t much older. Okay, this fits in the uppermost YA bracket if you go off of ages. The characters don’t stay this age for long, and soon Tore is 23, putting him smack dab in the New Adult age range of 18-25. It isn’t until 71% through the book that characters begin to fall into the YA age range. Some of the subject matter is on the darker side too with somewhat graphic violence at a number of points. Now this is not to say that the book isn’t appropriate for YA readers, for the mature YA audience, I believe it is. I do think that it’s a great book for those who read NA books and hope it gets marketed as such, along with its ties to Native Americans, which I don’t see often enough and applaud Stevens for writing.
I really wish I could get into one of my favorite scenes with regards to the Native Americans, but that would give way too much away. Spoilers. Spoilers of that size are not allowed on my blog. I will say though that the created village setting was awesome, and I could really imagine myself there. I can say the same thing about much of the scenes in the book. There was enough about the setting given in each that I could easily picture myself being in the background hidden somewhere watching the events take place. If you’ve been following my blog for long, you’ll know that a believable setting is very important to me.
Overall, The Wolf You Feed is a gripping story of life, death, and love with paranormal elements. After a slowish start, I now feel invested in Tore’s struggle and how it affects his kids, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
Thank you to Angela Stevens for an ARC of this book.