Wolfeater — Anthony Mitchell
My absolute favorite part of SPFBO is finding hidden gems in the SFF community, and Wolfeater is absolutely one of them! The heart of the book, I feel, lies in the prose, which cradles character development and worldbuilding beautifully. These three elements balance each other out to create an engaging story that moves forward at a comfortable pace.
One of the things I liked most about Wolfeater was how subtly it handled deeper topics. For example, the titular main character, Radok (a.k.a. “Wolfeater”), was born to a different tribe and looks different: “On those rare occasions he forgot that, there was always someone to remind him. Always the outsider, he had to fight every day of his life to gain the respect of those born Grey Crow. It wasn’t enough that he be the fastest, or the strongest, or the bravest. He had to be the best too.”
This resonated with me more than anything I’ve read this year, lol. There’s a bitter truth to being held to higher, often impossible standards simply because of the way you look/the way you were born. I liked that this was addressed but also wasn’t a “thing,” like Radok’s otherness wasn’t constantly hammered over our heads. He looked different, sometimes people noticed, and that was it, lol.
The pacing was great. The book never dragged and never info-dumped, and details were masterfully woven into the storytelling. There were some characters I didn’t click with (…just like in real life, lol), but others I adored. My favorite is actually Radok! A tough warrior nearing the end of his journey, he has already established himself as a legend. Once you’re at the top, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s down below, so the fact that he protects Nyana with all his being warmed my black heart. Two outcasts who found family in each other—I live for this.
Overall, I enjoyed Wolfeater. It was a quick read for me, and once I settled into the world the author created, it was hard to put down.
Key words to help you decide: multiple POV, plucky female protagonist, fallen hero, good vs. evil, lovable animal sidekick, tough warrior protagonist, chosen family, Norse-inspired fantasy