14 July, 2020

[Review] Don't Call the Wolf by Aleksandra Ross

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Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date: 28 April, 2020
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: Fantasy/Eastern European Fairy Tales/Romance/Action & Adventure/Folk Lore
ISBN: 9780062877970
Edition: Hardcover (available in eBook and audiobook)
Rating: ★★
Review Written: 22 June, 2020
Warnings: Death
A fierce young queen, neither human nor lynx, who fights to protect a forest humans have long abandoned.

An exhausted young soldier, last of his name, who searches for the brother who disappeared beneath those trees without a trace.

A Golden Dragon, fearsome and vengeful, whose wingbeats haunt their nightmares and their steps.

When these three paths cross at the fringes of a war between monsters and men, shapeshifter queen and reluctant hero strike a deal that may finally turn the tide against the rising hordes of darkness. Ren will help Lukasz find his brother…if Lukasz promises to slay the Dragon.

But promises are all too easily broken.

See more by Aleksandra Ross at her website.

I love fairy tales, and action stories. This story breaks the mold of traditional tales and presents a lovely introduction into Polish fairy tales and folk lore.

For as long as he can remember, Lukasz has lived hunting monsters with his ten brothers, the last remaining wolf-lords. Come down from the shifting mountains to survive from a golden dragon that has ravaged the land around his home, or so he thought. In time, each of his brothers returned to the mountain, to try their hand at defeating the dragon. When his final brother leaves him alone in Mistos, Lukasz is desperate to track him down and drag him away from the mountain.

Traveling to the forest was the easy part. With multiple dark creatures roaming and the threat of a girl who fashions herself a queen (who has been granted shifting powers by a forest god), Lukasz finds himself with no choice but to face the golden dragon. He's uncertain how he'll survive however, given that his sword hand was burned badly by his last fight. Reaching the shifting mountains, Lukasz and Ren find themselves in the home of his birth, and Lukasz resolves himself to death. As they head towards the dragon's glass mountain, they meet Baba Yaga, a powerful spirit in the Eastern European folklore who heals Lukasz and promises a gift to Ren for going to the ends of the earth.

More twists and turns bring a stunning conclusion to this epic novel, that for now I won't spoil. Honestly, I look forward to seeing what Ms. Ross has to offer in future novels, and can only hope for more fairy and folktale inspired works.

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