Wolf's Brother - Megan Lindholm

This was an odd experience for me. The final in a two-book cycle, Wolf's Brother in its entirety felt like a conclusion. And because I'm god-awful at explaining things, let's see if I can do better:

 

Reindeer People and Wolf's Brother combined are like a hill - the first book is the climb up, and the second is like the climb down. I'm used to books having a short introductory period (about 15-20% of the book, depending, or more if it's part of a series), a much more sprawling conflict-n-problems period in the middle, and another small chunk at the end for finality, tying up everything and concluding the book, regardless of whether it's in a series or not.

 

These two books didn't feel like that. Reindeer People felt like that initial set-up period, and Wolf's Brother felt like the final concluding bit. The entirety of the books felt like that. And that essential Middle Bit seemed draped over both of the stories like a semi-transparent veil you have to read through. It was an unusual reading experience. Maybe it's just me, I dunno.

 

In any case, an interesting thing to note was that the villain was known to us this entire time. Throughout both books, almost from the moment they were introduced. The tension in the book wasn't caused from "whodunnit?" but rather "when is all of this neatly-stacked shit going to hit the fan?"

 

It was a little frustrating. I knew who the bad guy was, I knew that everything was going to come to blows about everything, it was just a matter of, essentially, waiting it out. Wolf's Brother was a much slower book for me (despite the tension) because the matter of how Tillu and Kerlew were going to survive was no longer an issue. We didn't have to watch these two struggling with survival and their own personal issues quite as much, due to them settling with the herdfolk.

 

Now, don't get me wrong, I love slow-paced books. Love 'em. But this book felt altogether too short to be as slow as it was. Not that it felt rushed; it just didn't feel as if there was enough content-to-pace stuff going on. If that makes sense? (I'm in the middle of post-pizza stupor. Forgive me.) ((Edit: 'ratio' was the word I was looking for. Well done, Cat.))

 

Tillu make some decisions and revelations towards the end of the book that seem rather out of character for her. She's wry, paranoid, suspicious to a fault, and constantly on the watch for everything around her and Kerlew that could possibly, maybe be dangerous. Constantly. I think her learning to let go and let Kerlew develop into his own person without her being a helicopter mom was a good thing, but she seemed to just...not do certain things I'd have expected her to do, or just plain act in ways I wouldn't have thought she would do.

 

It's not the worst example I've seen, but it did make me side-eye at my Kobo just a little bit. Otherwise, it's a good conclusion to a quick two-book series that honestly has a wonderful, rich-feeling world.

 

...I'm not entirely sure what I was doing with this review, but I suppose it's better to write out some thoughts than none at all, right?