Review Blog

Apr 06 2020

Viper's Daughter by Michelle Paver

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Wolf Brother series, book 7. Zephyr, 2020. ISBN: 9781838933357.
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Set in the period following the Ice-Age, this adventure involves the Forest characters Renn, a mage with links to the Ravens, and her mate Torak - a wolf-brother. While Renn feels compelled to leave Torak in order to combat the influence of her evil mother and protect him,Torak takes pursuit with his wolf pack wolf-brother close behind him in order to bring her back.
Heading north into the even wider vastness of isolation and yet with people groups to connect with along the way, this is a tale of love against the backdrop of traditional cultural beliefs and the demon world. The drama that enfolds reveals ancient culture and survival techniques in a harsh world, but also a tale of the power of love and the influence of ancient understanding on life. Written in a way that reminded me of a Tolkien quest adventure, this is a powerful story and a compelling drama that is unique and quite different from most teenage fiction. At all times there is a sense that the reader is immersed in the challenges of Stone Age existence, and yet can see the power of the ingenuity of the people and the connections with nature (in combination with the fantasy and belief influences that are woven into the story). With a remnant population of Mammoths (called Mammut in the text) and the ability to communicate with animals, this is indeed a story with a difference.
I wish that I had discovered the series before launching into book 7 of the Wolf Brother series! But this is more about missing the wonder of this series and the characters rather than feeling like I have stepped into uncertain territory. This book stands on its own quite comfortably. The use of language is intriguing as expressions are used that convey different understandings of the world e.g. the Wolf's language is spare, but genuinely descriptive.
I am certain though that many will enjoy the other books by Michelle Paver and will enjoy the way she incorporates traditional life from Eskimo, Inuit and Scandinavian culture and weaves these into a traditional but fantasy tale. It almost feels like you are drawn into an ancient (yet fantasy) world in the far northern Scandinavian or North American wilderness. Themes: Fantasy; Stone Age; Traditional Life; Adventure; Good vs Evil; Demons and Spirits.
Carolyn Hull

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