Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Wolf's Boy - Susan Williams Beckhorn

Summary: An outcast boy and a young wolf have only each other against an Ice Age winter . . .

Kai burns to become a hunter and to earn a rightful place among his people. But that can never be. He was born with a club foot. It is forbidden for him to use or even touch a hunter’s sacred weapons.

Cut off from the other boys, Kai turns to his true friends, the yellow wolves, for companionship. They have not forgotten the young human they nurtured as an abandoned infant. When Kai discovers a motherless cub in the pack, he risks everything to save her, bringing her back to live with him.

But as winter draws near, Kai’s wolf grows ever more threatening in the eyes of the People. When the worst happens, Kai knows that they must leave for good. Together, they embark on a journey into the north—a place of unimaginable danger—that tests the power of friendship and the will to survive.

Award-winning author Susan Williams Beckhorn delivers a tale set in Paleolithic times. Inspired by modern discoveries, Susan’s careful research creates a vivid picture of a time when the first wolves came to live with humans and forged a bond that lives on to this day. (summary and image from goodreads.com)


My Review: This was a delightful happenstance of a book--I was at the library searching for an entirely different novel, and when it wasn't there I happened to glance down and saw The Wolf's Boy.

I ate this book up.  I loved our main character Kai from the off, an underdog, considered tabat among his people, an outcast, a curse.  He doesn't even have a true name.  Yet even with that hanging over him, he longs to be a hunter, something a person of his standing can never be according to ancient traditions of his people.  Despite being outcast, Kai was kind and caring, and I loved the interactions between him and his younger siblings, and of course his love and care for the wolf cub he adopts.  As well as his longing for the relationship lost between him and his older brother.

This book was filled with awesome words that related to people and things that gave this world a very real feel.  Words like Ama and Apa for mother and father, keerta for a warrior's weapon, and bah and bu for girl and boy.  Simple things woven through the text and dialogue helped this feel like an authentic world.

I always love a good boy and his dog story.  This was a tale set in ice age France, when the first dog began to work with the first human.  I loved Kai's dedication to his wolf, named Uff, and how he needed her as much as she needed him. 

This was a great character story, and also a great adventure and survival story set in a prehistoric time where mammoths, cave bears and saber tooth cats roamed the land.  A quick read too, but very fulfilling.

My Rating: Four Stars

For the sensitive reader: Kai lives in a harsh eat or be eaten world, but it's handled with taste.  There are several accidents where characters are injured, sometimes very badly, and there is talk of blood.  Animals are also killed for food.

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