Feodora and her mother live in the snowbound 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 murderous hostility of the Russian Army threatens her very existence, Feo is left with no option but to go on the run. What follows is a story of revolution and adventure, about standing up for the things you love and fighting back. And, of course, wolves.
Have you ever read a book that captivates you, that takes you on an adventure and transports you back to your childhood? Thats what The Wolf Wilder did to me. It was like I was 10 again, and I was on the most amazing adventure, fighting the bad guys and running to save my family.
The Wolf Wilder follows the story of Feo and her friend Ilya as they take on the most fearsome man their country has ever seen. Its set in a fantasy version of Russia where people keep wolves as pets and then release them to be free when they realise its a bad idea. As Wolf Wilders, Flo and her mum teach the wolfs how to be wild again, but because of this job, they are outcasts. When they are threatened with arrest if they take in another wolf to be made wild again, they live in fear, but they can’t bring themselves to kill any wolves which are brought to them like they have been instructed.
Feo is partly wild and seeing her reaction to things was like seeing a wolf or a dog react. Her emotions run wild and as she’s so young, its easy to forget that she’s human at all sometimes. Especially with the relationship she has with her wolves. But the love and kindness is there despite all this and I loved seeing her learn things as she gets closer to humans. Ilya becomes one of her closest friends and allies and I loved his character so much. His personality battles and the fact that his father sent him away because of what he loves made me love him so much.
The setting and the language used to describe the world that Feo and Ilya travel through captivated me and in places I did wish it was a YA or adult book because we would have gotten way more from it. As a Middle Grade fiction title there wasn’t as much world-building as such, but it was still captivating. I do think certain things were glossed over a bit and the book jumped around, especially towards the end, but I loved it all the same.
This is definitely a book I am going to keep to share with Spike once she’s a bit older. I did think it might be a good book to start reading with her for bedtime, but at 5 – nearly 6 – she still gets very upset other certain things and there is one particular scene with one of the wolves that I think would really upset her. Its definitely a book to save for an 8-11 year old.
The Wolf Wilder was published in 2015, making it the same age as Spike, by Bloomsbury Children’s Books. My copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Sorry it took so long!