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Best book in the series so far!
on 28 August 2010
Steve Feasey continues his Changeling series with Blood Wolf, the third book focusing on Trey Laporte, a teenage lycanthrope struggling to maintain his humanity and control the beast within. All the while preparing to face his destiny and the evil vampire lord Caliban. Feasey keeps his writing style and series' plot consistent with Blood Wolf, maintaining a teenage read which is just fun to immerse yourself in.
Once upon a time, Trey thought he was the last of his kind. That all changed when he discovered that his foster father (and vampire friend) Lucien kept a secret from him. That he had an Uncle Frank, another werewolf, belonging to a mysterious pack called LG78. Regardless of Lucien's warnings, Trey is determined to find his uncle and learn more about his nature, to better understand and cope with what he is. But Trey is about to learn the hard way that some secrets are best left unearthed.
The previous book, Dark Moon, was a quality fantasy thrill-ride. In Blood Wolf, the author changes gears by making this story more character driven. There are two sub-plots going on here, one is obviously Trey trying to discover more about himself and his past, the other focuses on an unresolved loose end from the previous book.
That loose end is the Necrotroph, a demon under Caliban's control that possesses humans and leaves them dead or insane, and tried to make things difficult for Lucien and his organisation. After Dark Moon, the demon survived a near-death experience and has left a traumatised victim in Phillipa, a normal teenager unfortunately dragged forever into a life of battling the Netherworld.
Now, this sub-plot was something that I disliked in the previous book. It just didn't do anything for me at all. Here in Dark Moon, it's much improved. The Necrotroph itself is something of a redundant bothersome pest, but the circumstances turn Phillipa from a plot device in the previous book, to a well-developed, promising new addition to the main cast. Reading of her internal struggles and experiences, as well as her desire to help and become a stronger person is most welcome indeed, and it also makes for some terrific development for Alexa, who finds a new friend to socialise with and help her deal with her own problems.
The main focus, though, is about Trey. Here, he's thrown into an environment that he isn't really prepared for. And without his friends Lucien, Tom and Alexa to help him, he soon finds out just how much he needs them and how they were trying to protect him. The bitterness of his Uncle Frank, the dark secrets and corruption of LG78, experiencing even greater horrors of his werewolf hereditary and more tragedy that scars the youngster even more, is all terrifically written, and you feel for Trey like never before. It's also a fascinating expansion into Steve Feasey's fantasy world, widening the scope of the saga and giving us more than just the `War against Caliban' saga.
Feasey has also shown improvement in his writing style as well. There's much less `drifting off' here than there was in Dark Moon, the story flows and reads better, there's not as many bothersome text passages, and there's still plenty of emotion to be found in the characters and story itself. There's also some more delightful development for Lucien (who finds himself struggling to deal with a darkness he thought he'd conquered long ago), a real heart-wrenching finale and gripping conclusion that will make the reader check out more, and plenty of good thrills and shocks along the way.
Like its prequels, Blood Wolf is fun and accessible, with content that is handled and written very well for teenagers. Again, events in the first two books are recapped only when necessary and don't bog down the pace of current events. Maybe it's not essential reading, but the Changeling series is certainly worthy of your time. Like Dark Moon, I recommend Blood Wolf, and eagerly anticipate the next book.