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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Last Wolf & A Wolf Apart by Maria Vale - Book Reviews, Guest Post & Giveaway

Reviews by Suze

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Silver is part of the Great North Pack. She’s a small wolf with a handicap, but she’s stronger than she looks. She loves being in wolf form and only turns into her human skin if she has no other choice. Silver’s pack consists of wolfs that can become human, but their animal form is their main one. When the moon is full all members of the pack change into wolves and give in to their wild side. When a half shifter, who can change at will, enters their territory Silver takes a dangerous chance. To rescue Tiberius she risks the wrath of her fellow wolves. There’s something about him that makes it impossible to stay away though, will Silver manage to save the situation? 

Tiberius has learned to suppress his wild side. He grew up with an abusive father who didn’t like the wolf part of his son. Now Tiberius is looking for protection. He’s injured and alone and completely at mercy of a pack of wolves that doesn’t like shifters. Silver decides to give him a chance though, will Tiberius find what he’s looking for with the small wolf? What will happen when his past catches up with him and his secrets are being found out, will she still stand by his side?

The Last Wolf is an original story with a fantastic setting. I absolutely loved reading about the wilderness and enjoyed seeing Silver’s beloved home through her eyes. Even though Silver has some humanity, she’s mainly wolf and I loved how Maria Vale stays true to the animal side of her main character. Silver is used to fighting for herself and doesn’t easily give up. She’s exactly what Tiberius needs, someone who understands what it’s like to be broken and knows how to mend and repair. They aren’t perfect, they don’t always understand each other, but their feelings run deep and that makes their bond truly special. 

Maria Vale has created a terrific world filled with hierarchy, devotion and rituals. I really enjoyed reading about the Great North Pack and their customs and rules. Maria Vale always keeps in mind that her main characters are wild animals and that shows in her writing, it’s what I loved the most about The Last Wolf, it makes the story creative and unique. She constantly surprises and combines this with plenty of action and unconditional love. The Last Wolf has a spectacular ending, it's a great finale of a enchanting unusual story.

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Elijah is part of the Great North Pack, but doesn’t spend much time with his fellow wolves. He’s being forced to pretend he’s human and has an apartment in New York. He’s a successful business man with a reputation. Elijah hates everything about his existence, the meaningless flings with women he shouldn’t have gotten involved with, the terrible food he’s being forced to eat and the constant pressure to tame his wild side. He wants out, but how can he do this when his pack counts on him?

Elijah feels like he’s dying inside, he’s losing his wild side, but that changes when he meets Thea. Thea is an ECO, a woman living close to nature. Elijah can never take a human to meet his pack, it’s forbidden for wolves and people to mate. However, he can’t suppress the feelings he has for Thea. Elijah knows it’s time to make sacrifices and choose, what’s the price he has to pay for his actions? Do he and Thea stand a chance or are they doomed from the start?

A Wolf Apart is a fascinating story about what could happen to a wolf when he has to spend too much time in the human world. Elijah is giving up his soul for his pack. Someone needs to do the job and he’s intelligent, sophisticated and capable. It costs him dearly though and every day he spends in his human life makes him die inside a little bit more. It slowly suffocates him, until he meets Thea. She makes him feel free again, which is something all wolves of his pack experience on a regular basis. I felt bad for Elijah because he couldn’t be himself, both in his pack and among humans and was anxious to discover if he’d find a way out. 

Maria Vale has created a fantastic world, the Great North Pack is something special. It’s a complete society and I loved reading about the pack laws and rites. Elijah is in a complex situation, he wants to be with his pack, but his pack has sent him away and makes him live a human life he detests. That definitely makes interesting reading. There’s plenty of inner turmoil and chaos because he can’t always stay in control. A forbidden love makes matters even worse, so Elijah has a lot of problems to solve. Finding out what he’d do kept me on the edge of my seat. A Wolf Apart is a great fascinating story about a fabulous complex main character.

Advice

If you love unique love stories about wolves The Legend of All Wolves series would be an excellent choice. The books can be read as standalones, but to understand the full story I'd advise you to read them in their correct order.

About Maria Vale


Maria Vale is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don't really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet.

Links


How a world can grow from a single premise
Guest post by Maria Vale

At Romantic Times, this past one--the last one, as it turned out--I had a chance to listen to Anne Bishop talk about world-building. Her world of The Others came to her, she said, whole cloth, the warp and weft and colors all in place.

I am in awe of writers whose minds work that way. Mine doesn’t. It’s more systematic and the world of The Last Wolf and A Wolf Apart started with a fairly simple premise.

What if werewolves are not men trying to control some violent inner beast, but rather wolves, who use their human form to protect sacred wild?

It’s a small tweak on the usual, but it ended up leading me to all sorts of fun re-imaginings of the shifter norms.

To start with, I couldn’t imagine this wild manifesting itself for a few hours on one single moonlit night during which one could conceivably lock oneself in a basement, eating through the contents of the meat freezer.

No, it had to be a solid chunk of time, something that would make integrating into human society truly difficult. That’s when I decided on the Iron Moon. The pack can change at other times, but “for three days out of thirty, when the moon is pregnant and her law is iron, the pack must be wild.”

If they’re going to be wild for that long, they need a territory that is as wild as they are. A place where they can hunt and run and howl. And change. Safely.

I wanted these wolves to feel real, not magic, so I couldn’t have them change from one form to another in a blink of an eye. Instead, their change is a long, drawn-out affair of organs moving and muscles stretching and bones re-shaping. During this time, they are deaf, blind, immobilized and extremely vulnerable.

So now I have a large group of wolves living on a territory. To keep peace, keep their existence secret and keep the land from being hunted clean, they have many laws. They cannot change Offland. Confrontations are resolved through formal, if bloody, challenges. Anything killed must be eaten in its entirety whether that be a milk snake or a state trooper.

The Great North Pack lives in the northern Adirondacks where they immigrated in the 17th century when England’s forests were destroyed to build boats, graze sheep and mine for metals. That’s when Ælfrida, the founding Alpha, decided to take the Pack Mercia from the Forest Dean to the less populated New World.

This was also the time when humans began arming themselves with newly improved flintlocks, a huge threat to wolves. At first, I imagined that they would arm themselves, too, but then I was faced with those pesky three days again. How could a pack that relied on guns during those times when they had fingers, protect themselves during the three days when they didn’t? The time when they were most vulnerable?

So I had Ælfrida rule against guns, deciding instead to protect her pack using a different set of human tools: Human law, human money, human politics.

This took my imagining in a different direction. Because now, while they don’t live permanently among humans and have to return home every month, some of them must at least appear human part of the time. Maybe slightly awkward humans, but at least not werewolves.

All wolves must take Human Behavior classes, though not all of them succeed: Silver Nilsdottir, the heroine of The Last Wolf, failed Introduction to Human Behaviors four times and was never allowed Offland. She had particular problems with the crucial section on Varieties of Human Misrepresentation, which is taught using a mnemonic: JAFFEWIP—Joke, Advertisement, Flirtation, Falsehood, Exaggeration, White lie, Irony and Politics.

Elijah Sorensson, the hero of A Wolf Apart, is her opposite. A consummate Offlander, he has combined a knowledge of humans with a wolfish appreciation for the functioning of hierarchies to become a master in the human world. A lawyer, he has been very successful in his efforts on the Pack’s behalf but has become almost too human and his most sacred self is dying.

Which brings me back to my initial question. What if werewolves are not men trying to control some violent inner beast, but rather wolves, who use their human form to protect sacred wild?

If Elijah’s wild dies, then what is he? This is the question Elijah is wrestling with in A Wolf Apart. I hope you’ll consider giving it a try.

Thank you so much to Anniek and Suze for this opportunity to reach out to the With Love For Books community!

Giveaway

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One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive signed paperback copies of The Last Wolf and A Wolf Apart by Maria Vale.


The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

27 comments:

  1. Both books sound like unique and imaginative stories with incredible world building and intense characterisation.

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  2. Sounds fascinating and intriguing at the same time. Wonderful covers.

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  3. Love those covers, they are amazing!

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  4. This series sounds thrilling. And just look at those spectacular covers. Would love to win these beauties!

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  5. Both books sound awesome! Intriguing covers. I'd love to win

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  6. What incredible stories these novels are, these sound like books I'd enjoy reading.

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  7. The books sound really interesting - I love shifter stories and the idea of their basic form being wolves rather than humans is a nice twist. Rafflecopter entries in name of NIKKI HAYES - thanks for offering this lovely giveaway :o)

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  8. It's interesting perspective that their animal form is their main one. The covers are haunting, which i find great. Thank you for the review, guest post and giveaway

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  9. The covers are certainly eye catching.

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  10. Hello Maria, looking forward to reading your books. Thank you

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  11. I listened to both on audio and omg, omg the world you created! Other shifter books do not compare. These are not shifters, They are wolves. Love it! Keep it coming

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  12. great cover and the story must be great too

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  13. I am intrigued by the the inner turmoil of the protagonist and the turned about premise of wolves using 'their human form to protect sacred wild'.

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  14. love the cover, definitely makes it stand out, i wanna dig right in xx

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  15. I like that you've re-imagined the accepted characteristics for shifters.

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  16. I like the sentiment that you wanted the wolves to feel more 'real' and not change in an instant. That's the kind of thing I always appreciate in a fantasy novel.

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  17. This sounds great for my wolf loving, shape shifting son
    jan

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  18. Very interesting series! Amazing covers! Thank you for sharing!

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  19. Amazing book, I want and need it.

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  20. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

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  21. Your content is nothing short of brilliant in many ways. I think this is engaging and eye-opening material. Thank you so much for caring about your content and your readers.
    polar wolf interesting facts

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