Review: Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s Heart

Review: Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s HeartWolf's Head, Wolf's Heart by Jane Lindskold
Series: Firekeeper Saga #2
Published by Tor Books on August 18, 2003
Genres: Adventure, Epic Fantasy
Pages: 754
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

A tale of humane wolves, beastly men, and a brilliant heroine who must find her way in a dangerous world

Raised by intelligent, language-using wolves, brought back to the human society at the court of Hawk Haven, young Firekeeper had to learn to cope with human society and its complexities . . . and discovered that, for someone raised in a wolf pack, the politics of a royal court were neither complex nor wholly unfamiliar.

But the happy ending of Through Wolf's Eyes has proved to have consequences. Hawk Haven and Bright Bay are unifying, but the power balance of the neighboring lands is threatened by this prospect. New intrigues abound. The rulers of Bright Bay, it transpires, have been hoarding a collection of forbidden magical artifacts . . . which Queen Gustin took with her when she abdicated, intending to use them to restore her power. Melina Shield is still scheming to obtain them, and she's older, smarter, and more devious than the Queen. And the even-more-devious civil service of neighboring New Kelvin would like to get their hands on that magic as well . . . .

Which will make life very hard for Firekeeper. Because the powers of the world have decided who'll be required to obtain those much-contended-for magical articles. It'll be her.

Like the first in the series, Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s Heart is pretty well-written and has some really neat worldbuilding. Nonetheless, I did not love it, nor did I hate it. They fall in the realm of just above meh. For one thing, they could be shorter; there are some repetitions, often in relation to Firekeeper and Blind Seer, which I could do without.

The larger problem though is what I pointed out in my review of the first: action is minimal and so is romance. Pretty much all of the drama is political. That’s done well, but just does not enthrall me. If some more of the others were woven within it, then perhaps I would find this series as delightful as I had hoped.

The characters, too, have yet to grow on me. They are consistent across the first two books, which is almost unfortunate, since none of them do I love. I like a couple okay, but I’m certainly not invested in their fates.

The meeting of the Royal Beasts was pretty laughable, so I have to mention it. This tribunal was supposed to be monumental and somber, but the way the animals interacted was absurd. To prevent one character monologuing for pages, she had them trade off telling the story in an awkward, arbitrary manner, reminding me of nothing so much as passing reading stories aloud in an elementary school classroom.

Since I have five of the six books in the series, I will be slogging forward, and I do have some hopes of improvement, but they are definitively not high hopes. If you like political machinations and epic fantasy, this is for you!

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