Release Date: 10th September 2015
Edition: UK proof, review copy
Other Titles by this Author: The Girl Savage, Rooftoppers, Cartwheeling in Thundestorms
Feodora and her mother live in the snow-bound woods of Russia, in a house full of food and fireplaces. Ten minutes away, in a ruined chapel, lives a pack of wolves. Feodora’s mother is a wolf wilder, and Feo is a wolf wilder in training. A wolf wilder is the opposite of an animal tamer: it is a person who teaches tamed animals to fend for themselves, and to fight and to run, and to be wary of humans.
When the simmering resentment of her neighbours turns to murderous hostility, Feo is left with no option but to go on the run. What follows is a story of survival and adventure, trust and tenacity, and the toughness that the love between mothers and daughters inspire. And, of course, wolves.
I’ve read a fair few middle grade novels this year, but The Wolf Wilder is the most beautiful by miles.
Katherine Rundell’s writing throws you straight into the cold Russian wilderness with Feo and her mother, Marina. It’s a world of snow, forests, wolves and danger. The descriptions of Feo’s surroundings are unusual and completely magical and everything she experiences is so clearly hers; Feo’s voice is wholly unique and it blew me away. Her love and respect for her mum, her wolves (Black, White and Grey) and her home are vibrant and pulsing with life. Feo’s understanding of life and the world outside of wolf wilding is limited, but it also enables her to see the world differently. She’s a delightful narrator to experience this adventure through.
I went into The Wolf Wilder with very little knowledge of the plot and I’m really glad. I expected a soft, beautiful story about a nearly wild girl living with wolves, and I got a high-octane, beautifully written story about a half-wild girl on a life-changing adventure across the frozen Russian wilds. The punches kept on coming for Feo and her wolves and I spent most of the novel gnawing on my nails anxiously, terrified for their safety as they were trailed by a truly awful villain.
The Wolf Wilder is a beautiful, captivating story of adventure, wolves and the love between a mother and a daughter. It’s the perfect read for the coming winter nights.
Thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy.