Friday 16 October 2020

The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars

The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars
by Shivaun Plozza (Puffin) PB RRP $16.99 ISBN 9781760893453

Because he was abandoned by his mother (and then adopted by a woodcutter, Mads): local Ulv villagers believe 12-year-old Bo is a Shadow Creature, a ravenous beast made of shadow and evil believed to come at night to scratch at their homes and kill them. All Bo wants, though, is to be reunited with his mum. His best (and only) friend is Nix, a fox which accompanies and defends him. As  Mads is killed by a giant wolf straight from the legends, the old man gives Bo a monumental task: he must free Ulv of its curse by returning the Stars to the sky. He must find three magical keys spread across the land – keys that will unlock the cage holding the wolf which are the Stars.

The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars is a fantastical adventure with numerous strange creatures (such as the bird-beasts Korahkus and pig-like Irins) in an enormous landscape that takes in many, many places (such as the Temple of the Silent Sisters, Qirachis, Lunaris Mountain, and The Sea of Widow’s Tears), all of which Bo must navigate on his quest. There is so much for Bo (and the reader) to navigate that at times the story feels overwhelming.

To help the reader navigate this complex story, the book includes a map of Ulv showing its various lands and seas. Interspersed with Bo’s adventures are extracts from The True Histories of Ulv which give the reader more information about things such as wish-catching, why you should never wish to meet a wolf, the Irin-Koahku War, and so on. Even more information is included when Bo is fostered for a short time by Tam, the Korahkus, who is part bird, part woman.

If you are a reader who enjoys a thick, broad-sweeping fantasy novel, this book might catch your fancy. For a reading age of 12+ years.

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