Saturday, January 29, 2011

[Review] Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling

Title: Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf
Author: Curtis Jobling
Publication: 4th January 2011
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Price: $16.95
Source: For Review (sent by publisher)
Age: 14+
Pages: 420
My Rating:

Summary:
'YOU'RE THE LAST OF THE WEREWOLVES.
DON'T FIGHT IT, SON;
EMBRACE IT. CONQUER IT.'


When the air is clear, sixteen year-old Drew Ferran can pick up the scent of a predator.


When the moon breaks through the clouds, a terrifying fever grips him.
And when a vicious beast invades his home, his gums begin to tear, his fingers become claws, and Drew transforms . . .


Forced to flee the family he loves, Drew seeks refuge in the most godforsaken parts of Lyssia. But when he is captured by Lord Bergan's men, Drew must prove he is not the enemy.

Can Drew battle the werecreatures determined to destroy him – and master the animal within?
My thoughts: 

I really did not know what to expect when I received this one for review. For one, I'd never heard anything about it, as well as the fact that this featured werewolves. I am not a stickler for paranormal/fantasy, but I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It was engaging, vividly described, action-packed and dark but whimsical at the best of times. Wereworld is the beginning to a great new series, and what I find so amazing is that this novel is the work from the mastermind behind Bob the Builder™. All throughout I kept that fact at the fore of my mind, conscientiously aware that this was Jobling's first YA novel.

We begin Wereworld with Drew, the main character, as he lives out a typical day in the life within his safe farmland home. Someone attacks and Drew discovers a side of him he's never known before as he fights off the mysterious creature of the night. As circumstances would have it, his father walks in on Drew in his new form, holding the now-deceased body of his beloved mother. And so begins Drew's new life, as he is thrown out of his own home, out to venture in the wild Dyrewood.

Firstly I have to say I like how much effort Penguin put into the makings of this book. There is a map, so you know exactly where you are, and it really helped me to visualise the places that were described. The cover is also designed with such careful details that I was only able to fully appreciate after I'd finished reading the book. In the general sense, I like the whole reflective, two-people mirror shot for covers. In this case, with a werewolf, the effect worked rather nicely. The colours used also helped set up what kind of book I was getting into.

The story is full of action and adventure, mystery and suspense. There were lots of moments that I believe could have been cut, as some of the descriptions run for far too long, and I'd already know what was happening before I'd read what was happening. The same goes for predictability and believability--there were a lot of near-misses and close-calls, many of which I found impossible to comprehend. That said, I was on the edge of my seat (or bed, since I read most of this while in sleep-mode, which figures why it's taken me so long to finish this book) during most of these moments.

Characters are always a big factor for me. I didn't particularly connect with any of the characters, nor did I really care much for them. I liked the gang. I just had nothing to associate myself with them. It was as though I was still just reading a book. I wasn't one of the civilians, or running along with them in their adventures. Much of this, I believe, was because this book was written in the third-person. However, that said, I did feel particular a warming-up to Gretchen, the "spoiled" rich princess, as the novel progressed and we learn a little bit about her. Even so, I wish there had been a little more character development, and less characters in the general sense. It was hard to keep track of names at times, and even at the end I had trouble associating some names with the different areas and lands. I think this is because of the genre, so I'll leave that part alone now.

Writing style is really where Jobling shines. His words were detailed and descriptive. His paragraphs were long, but it was very easy to read. There were a few sentences where I had to keep going back to, but I bring that back to the fact that I was already half-asleep during most of the sessions when I read this.

A great read, a solid start to a fresh new series by a world-renowned author.
 
Quotes:


First Line

"Drew knew that there was a predator out there."

Favourite Quote

'Why do you work for him? What on earth possesses you to stay in his service?' Drew craned his head so he could secure eye contact with the boy, but Hector was doing his best to avoid his gaze. Drew realised he had hit a nerve, and now had to see this through and get some questions of his own answered.

'I have no say in the matter. The king ordered me into Vankaskan's service. Believe me, this brings me no pleasure whatsoever. However, I'm bound to my master now, and must do his bidding regardless of how unsavoury it sounds.

'Why you, Hector? Why does he need you? And please don't say, "I was only obeying orders." You have free will. No man should be a slave.'

(pg. 108)

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    Links:

    Official Site
    Goodreads Page


    I have received this review copy in return for an honest review. 

    Challenge: Debut Author Challenge 2011 (UK/AU)
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