CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 3 . . . .September 28, 2007
One of the problems with sequels is that of filling in those readers who have not read the previous books with the essential background (without discouraging them from reading the earlier volumes, should they feel so inclined), while not putting off those who have. Van Belkom manages very well. On page 3, there is a passing reference to 'the pack's secret,' and on page 5, the fact that Harlan had fought the school bully in a darkened room which had 'allowed him to partially transform himself into a werewolf without being seen.' And there we are with the necessary information that we are dealing with a family of werewolves who, in their human forms, attend high school and have troubles with bullies and with keeping their lycanthropic natures secret. Of course, if you had read the previous two books, Wolf Pack and Lone Wolf, you knew this already, but that is okay. The scene has also been set for the continuation of the action of the book: Noble, the alpha male of the group, is poisoned (page 7), thus depriving the pack of its usual leader, and several of their classmates seem unduly suspicious of their out-of-school persona.
The resulting story is full of action but also interesting bits of character development as Tora establishes her position as leader in Noble's absence, asserting her domination over her two brothers. As the excerpt above shows, she isn't as diplomatic about it as she might be--and there really isn't any reason why she shouldn't have explained her reasoning just a bit--but she is clever and inventive, and the job gets done. The lost girl is saved, and their secret, while now known by at least two more people, is at least not common knowledge, and those two have reason to feel that having a few will intentioned lycanthropes in the community could actually be to its advantage. Acceptance, rather than secrecy, should make possible better personal relations with their human contemporaries.
Mary Thomas works in an elementary school library in Winnipeg, MB, and has never noticed any tendency on the part of the students to transform into wolves. But then, libraries are not threatening places.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.