Unleashed: Wolf Spring Chronicles
by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
Published by: Doubleday books
Review: Jessica Patient
Unleashed, the first book in the Wolf Springs Chronicles, is a coming of age novel with a wolf-bite twist.
From the start, the plot starts to slide into Twilight territory minus the vampires. Like Bella, Katelyn has to deal with the whole newcomer in town anxiety and finding her place in society. Unleashed is captivating even though it has a conventional wolf-bite and love triangle plot.
Katelyn is dumped from L.A. and into a remote town in Arkansas, after her Mother is killed in a house fire. Katelyn feels like her world is about to go apocalyptic. Her new life in a remote cabin with her Grandpa is a long way away from Katelyn’s gymnastic routines, her best buddies and phone signal. But life isn’t so bad when Katelyn has a guy, Trick, taking her to school in a Mustang and wanting to take her on dates and Justin, a guy on a motorbike, turning up and smooching her in the forest. Yet neither of them are there when she gets a flat tyre, one night as she drives down a remote road, running through the forest. She gets bitten by a wolf. Uh-oh. Or maybe it’s something worse. Double Uh-oh. If only she had breakdown cover.
Unleashed holds the readers attention because Holder and Viguie are able to create a creepy atmosphere with a sinister forest that nobody wants to walk through at night, tribal drumming, sudden fog and remote roads leading to cabins and baffling shrieks from the forest. There are parts where the whole wolf thing is literally banged into the reader. The school and town are called Wolf Springs, there are wolf murals and a ‘find your inner wolf’ retreat. This could have been a bit more subtle. I do like the way that Holder and Viguie have extracts from Wolf Springs history books and this adds an extra dimension to Unleashed.
There are also some interesting characters where some of their past and their motivations are kept from the reader or slowly revealed. Trick needs to ask permission to cross over any threshold because of some sort of criminal past and her Grandpa seems to have some mysterious friends and disappears at the last minute. Throughout Unleashed, the reader witnesses Katelyn having to deal with a crisis of identity. At the beginning she is a spoilt brat and seems to have quite narrow opinions about her new hometown but as the story unfolds, she makes the transition from child hood opinions to making adult decisions. Katelyn finds she has to deal with being the new-girl isolation and geographical isolation. She is a pro-active character and wants to find the truth especially when she comes up against other reluctant characters who want to ‘talk later’ or can’t find the right time to chat. In a town full of buried secrets, Katelyn cannot find someone she can fully trust.
Unleashed would definitely appeal to Twilight fans and paranormal romance readers. If you’re feed up of vampires then this book will offer a refreshing bite.
Unleashed is published in December and will be available from all bookshops.