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Book giveaway: The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

(3 Posts)
TinaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 14-Sep-15 14:45:35

This week we're giving away 30 copies of the new children's novel by award-winning author Katherine Rundell. Set in Russia, The Wolf Wilder tells the story of one girl's fight for survival against all odds.

Visit the giveaway page to find out more and apply for a free copy.

Don't forget if you're lucky enough to receive the book, we do ask that you tell us what you think about it in our reviews section or in the thread below.

This giveaway is sponsored by Bloomsbury books

MamaMummyMum Thu 05-Nov-15 14:28:53

Both my 9 year old and myself really enjoyed this book showing just how versatile the writing is.

The story itself isn't too complicated to follow but there is enough twists and turns to keep you interested. The dynamics between the humans and wolves is very cleverly written about and it lends to a very unique storyline.

I think what makes the book special is the illustrations, simple black and grey drawings which add a lovely detail to the story.

Overall we were very impressed and I would have no problem with recommending this book to others.

barricade Thu 05-Nov-15 22:46:12

Many, many thanks to Mumsnet / Bloomsbury Publishing for a copy of this book.

Katherine Rundell follows up 'Rooftoppers' with a compelling adventure infusing fantasy and fairy tale. This is a story about a mother & daughter team of wolf wilders. They take in the unwanted pet wolves of the Russian aristocracy and teach them to fend for themselves, to fight and hunt, before releasing them back into the wild. The story opens during the time when a division of the Tsar's army, led by the unforgiving General Rakov, begin to exert corruptive control over the region. Placing the blame for recent wolf attacks squarely at the feet of the wolf wilders, they arrest the mother, imprisoning her in the pre-gulag prison of St. Petersburg. The daughter, Feodora, is left with no option but to go on the run with her wolves, while simultaneously devising a way to rescue her mother. What transpires is a tale of revolution and fighting for what's right.

The presentation of the book is quite simply beautiful. With a watercolour painted cover incorporating silver foil-stamped lettering, and atmospheric, painted illustrations by Gelrev Ongbico, there is a sense of real anticipation picking up this book. And the little icons at the corner of almost every page serve as a perpetual reminder of the snow-filled, almost magical, setting. Similar to books like 'The Spiderwick Chronicles', 'The Legend Of Frog, and 'The Great Pet-Shop Panic', these design elements significantly enhance the reading experience.

The story itself is a well-crafted adventure taking place over a hundred years ago. The author exquisitely weaves a magical and wild setting for her host of untamed characters - a feisty heroine who appears at times more wolf than her 3 feral companions, and the foreboding villain opposing her. And like in the classic 'Emil & The Detectives', it is children banding together to fight injustice. The narrative is not without flaws, though. At the beginning of the story, a new wolf, Tenderfoot, is delivered to Feo and her mother to 'wild'. The burgeoning relationship between Feo and Tenderfoot, and the introduction of the kind Russian soldier Ilya into their circle, is gradually developed, filled with characterisation and humanity. However, rather abruptly, we fast-track several weeks ahead to find Ilya arriving with news of Tenderfoot's demise (Page 73). No tension, no elaborate description as to how it happened, it just seemed very rushed. Following this, the reader has to exercise a real suspension of belief with how 4 adult soldiers, all carrying guns, and an armed army general no less, are unable to take down a 12-year-old girl armed only with a home-made ski. The soldiers then burn down Feo's house, and physically intimidate and arrest her mother. Despite these terrible events adding to the tragedy of Tenderfoot's killing, we seem to witness Feo's grief dissipating rather quickly. Just 3 pages after her escape, Feo is pulling faces (Page 88) and making jokes (Page 89). This is in sharp contrast to how crushed she becomes when Grey suffers tragic consequences later in the book. Finally, we have the training scene on page 279. Young readers will enjoy the all-action preparation, akin to Rocky training for the big boxing fight. But children performing push-ups for a day do not transform into fighters ready to take on adult prison guards armed with guns. In fact, since they're planning to storm Kresty Jail the following day, it'll more than likely wear them out.

However, the intended target audience are unlikely to be bogged down with such plot foibles, irrespective of how implausible they may seem. Instead, they will find 'The Wolf Wilder' an imaginative, enthralling and captivating read. In conclusion, an enchanting literary triumph.


I was picked by MNHQ to review this book, which I received for free. This review is in my own words and reflects my opinion.

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