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Wednesday 27 April 2022

Wolfbane Blog Tour


I am so excited today to be taking part in the Wolfbane blog tour to celebrate the release of the ninth and final book in the incredible Wolf Brother series by Michelle Paver.


Written by: Michelle Paver.
Published by: Zephyr.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 26th April 2022.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "It is early spring, a turbulent, perilous time of sudden storms, frozen river fractures and drifting ice. Fleeing from a demon intent on devouring his souls, Wolf is swept out to Sea far from the Forest and his pack. The ocean too teems with danger: sea wolves, sharks and hunters of the deep, and the demon is gaining ground. Torak and Renn must race to save their pack-brother, battling the harsh, icy waves and merciless torrents. If they can't find Wolf in time, the bond between them will be severed for ever... Run wild with Wolf Brother for the last time in a Stone Age world we all want to be part of, with three-million-copy-selling author Michelle Paver, Creator of Legends."


Way back in 2004, a 12 year old boy was stood in Ottakar's looking for something new to read. His eyes searched the shelves, finding familiar names and titles that he had already read when something new popped out at him. An earthy, reddish brown cover with a stick figure image of a person and a wolf. He picked the book up and read the first page before begging his mum to buy it for him. This was his new read. This was the book he had been searching for. As the years went by, the boy followed Torak, Renn and Wolf on their adventures, growing with them as he went. From Forest, to the sea, from the mountains to the dangerous depths of the Deep Forest, the boy found himself a place away from the real world that felt safe, like home. Fast forward to late 2021, that boy, now a fully grown man found himself in possession of a proof copy of the ninth and final book in the series that means so much to him. Reader, the boy is me.

Honestly, I am not quite sure where to really start with this one. This has been a very bittersweet experience for me. Reading Wolfbane. For so long I dreamed of Michelle returning to the world of Torak, Renn, Wolf, Fin-Keddinn, Dark. All of them. And when it was announced in 2019 that that dream was coming true I could not have been happier. But with that joy came impending sadness because I knew back then that I would one day again have to say goodbye to these characters and this world that I love so much. This series has genuinely gotten me through some of my darkest moments. In 2016, when my mum passed away, I completely lost myself and didn't really do much for several months. But after re-reading the series, back then running from Wolf Brother to Ghost Hunter, I felt myself coming back. I had gone home and I loved every second again as if it were the first time I had read the series. That is the beauty of this series. It doesn't matter how many times I read them, I am drawn in so whole-heartedly and that is something truly magical.

First off, the cover, as that's the first thing many will see. Lord, the cover! John Fordham does a wonderful job every time but this one has taken the biscuit. A stunning addition to bring this wonderfully jacketed series to a close! And Geoff Taylor has outdone himself too with the chapter headers in this one. Some stunning illustrations to help bring this ancient story to life!

Right from the start of Wolfbane there is a real sense that the end is coming. There is this foreboding feeling that something bad is going to happen. Something final. Wolf is in danger and Torak must race against time to save his friend and the rest of the Forest in the process. I won't say much because I don't want to spoil it but there is the return of an animal in this book that had me so excited but also scared for Wolf. This particular animal is one of my absolute favourites and to see them again was wonderful. It was nice as well to see many other threads come together within this book. Characters that probably didn't get as much time to flourish because of their late introduction into the original books have their moments and all I will say is that the whole thread surrounding Dark was so wonderful that it made me tear up a few times! It's something I have dreamed of seeing within some of my favourite series, so for it to be a part of my actual favourite series was such a full circle moment for me, validating me and I also hope showing others who either grew up with the series or that may discover the series anew that they're just as valid in the Stone Age as they are today.

The actual ending itself was so beautifully written. As the book races to a thrilling conclusion, it's obvious that the danger is too high. People are going to get hurt. Again, no spoilers but I said to Michelle during a live stream event that she needed to campaign for her publishers to make Wolf branded tissues because they would be needed and I still stand by that. I've read the book twice now and I have to say I cried as much the second time reading it as I did the first and I am not ashamed to admit that! I have spent so much time with these characters, within this world. 18 years. It is hard not to form an attachment. This series has been so influential for me. I've met Michelle several times and every time I have gushed about how much these books have shaped me into the man I am today. That their presence has given me a much needed safe space at times, and for that I will be forever grateful. The fact that this time it really is goodbye, there will be no more additions in years to come is almost too hard to take, but my god what a journey this has been!

Atmospheric, an edge of your seat page turner and filled with heartwarming moments too, Wolfbane was the grand finale that I had hoped for.

If you haven't read the series yet, I only say please please please do not delay. If you have and are about to devour Wolfbane, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do and enjoy the phenomenal end to this incredible series. 

Thank you Michelle for all of the adventures. Thank you for everything!