|Submitted by Helen Kerslake |
(Jan 16, 2007)
Having overcome Su'Meeryn's invading forces King Jaleph dispatches emissaries to neighbouring lands in the hope of gaining allies to prevent any future enemy invasion. His requests for a coalition are rebuffed until a white-robed stranger appears, masquerading as a herald to the Queen of Labyn, suggesting that there is still hope for their two lands to work together. Managing to wile his way into the King's confidance the stranger deceives everyone around him and manipulates Su'Meeryn's ruler for his own agenda. Meanwhile the lives of key military figures introduced to us in the first book have changed dramatically and we watch as they struggle to maintain some semblance of a normal life even when events spiral quickly beyond their control.
It was good to find a second volume of a series written so cleverly: important characters, previous events and key knowledge was worded so that someone reading this book who had not read book one could follow what was going on. However Pat Catlett has also managed to avoid the classic mistake new writers make by over-explaining, where you feel like you could have just bypassed the first book altogether.
The story is comprised of lots of short sections which suits the length of the book although I felt that some parts would benefit from being condensed or being written from a different perspective to keep the flow going. I really enjoyed the dream sequences which were well written and encouraged the reader to ask questions. This sense of the unknown was a major contributor to my desire to keep reading.
'The Wolf & The Worm' is primarily a tale of political manoeuvring but also features a good amount of gore where not everyone escapes unharmed. Action is well contrasted by the emotional turmoil, conflict and personal growth of the characters. The tension between Iridan and his wife in particular is great and completely believable. They show us typical issues which many relationships experience and their arguments are written in a way that avoids any stereotype. With regards to the King, he is still an unlikely character for this position as was demonstrated in the first book and we see how other characters fail to treat him with much respect. Through Jaleph's private thoughts we see his growing resentment which he is only able to dispel by occasionally biting back, incapable of dealing with such feelings in a mature, rational way. Would you want this King ruling you?
Overall I enjoyed 'The Wolf & The Worm' and cannot wait to read the final instalment in this series by Pat Catlett. I felt that the only disappointing element of the book was a lack of movement regarding the prophecy and Ring of Naar. We see one of the main characters searching through scrolls and trying to find out information regarding these topics however nothing is learnt about them. I would love to have learnt a little bit more about the mystical side of things now rather than wait until the final book to reveal all.