“They called it the Moon of the Wolf. It was rising now, over the crest of the ridge beyond the river, gleaming silver-grey through a fast-closing gap in the clouds. The third new moon after Exmus, the dying days of winter. The most treacherous time of all.”
Aran is the second son of a wealthy Law, and his future is mapped out in front of him. The Marauders have raided the cost for years and many, especially those at Hawk’s Cross Aran’s fathers homestead, do not see them as a threat. However now they’re growing bolder and coming further inland. Yet Aran’s father still doesn’t want Aran learning how to fight, he is meant to be the brains behind the homestead and leave his older brother to be the fighter. However that all changes when Aran meets a mysterious stranger and some of the things he learns about the life he knows suddenly no longer make sense. Can Aran discover the truth and will it help him turn back the Marauder tide before its too late?
With a Game of Thrones for teens kinda feel I really did enjoy The Waking World and couldn’t get enough of the ingenuity behind the story, it blew me away and there wasn’t a chapter in the book where I wasn’t begging to know what happened next.
With twists and turns the story takes a little while to really build up into something special, but when it does; its good. For quite a while at the beginning of the book I thought Aran was a little childish and even a bit selfish, however once Peregrine joined the book I was hooked and I loved where it went from there. I really didn’t see a couple of things coming (which would be spoilers if I shared) and I thought they were really well done especially as it’s likely I would have thought this book wasn’t for me if I knew about them beforehand.
The characters are really well done but at the same time they are the reason I only rated this book a 3.5 out of 5 on Goodreads. Basically I thought the story took a bit too long to really build up its characters, there wasn’t much substance to them early on and the only ones that really stood out were Peregrine and the old man who turns up in the night where Aran and Cas are early on. Once they started to develop they were great though and I loved Aran’s spirit and Cas’ brains. Mohanna was a brilliant character from the start but then she dipped and really this is what I really didn’t like about the book.
Mohanna was one of the only female characters and the only one with more than a line of focus on one page. I really loved her when we first met her and I really wanted her to be the person I thought she was. However there were time when she was so submissive it really wound me up and the fact that she was the only female character did too. Something comes to light in the book about its setting that I really can’t go into without spoiling it, but it made me rage even more about the treatment of women in this world and I really hated that it was only men who went to war and that had the power after learning about that one thing. I know that Mohanna even stayed strong when there was a lot of stuff going on and part of her weakness was probably because of the person treating her harshly so I can’t put all the focus on her, lets just say if this book was a movie it would not pass the Bechdel Test!
However even with the above rant, I enjoyed this book and its obviously the first in the sequel so hopefully the ones to come will be fairer towards women and feature them more heavily. I think Tom Huddleston really is an author to watch out for and you could see that he’d done his research into various things that were covered in this book, things that I want you readers to discover yourself!
The Waking World will be published on 3rd October by David Fickling Books. My copy was sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
For more info or to buy the book please visit: