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4.3 out of 5 stars
7
4.3 out of 5 stars


TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 November 2010
It has been ten years since Aralorn last went home. In that time she had become a mercenary and used her shapeshifting skills to become a spy. She also helped defeat the evilly corrupt Archmage - ae'magi. Now her father is dead, and no magic in the world can bring him back.

Unless, of course, he isn't truly dead.

Foul magic is afoot at Lambshold, and it's up to Aralorn, with the help of her beloved Wolf, to untangle the gnarled threads. The plot has all the indications of an old ae'magi plan, but Geoffrey is dead - isn't he?

Published for the first time, this long ago written sequel to Patricia Briggs' first novel has been released to coincide with Masques' revised rerelease. So bear in mind this is an old piece of work, and I'll admit it shows. On first read I was left vaguely dissatisfied, though I wasn't entirely sure why. The focus is a little backward, perhaps, for a duology. Normally a fantasy series starts off trying to save one person, which ends up with them saving the world (like the Raven series), but most of that already happened in Masques. Here there is only one man to save, which leaves the action feeling a little small.

There are also some frustrating places where Aralorn seems determined to ignore the obvious, and even some answers from a conveniently situated Goddess. On second read things felt much smoother, but then I knew what happened, and could ignore the heavy handed attempts at misdirection. There were other gaps too, mostly in description, especially around the howlaa and Kisrah's peculiar clothes, rather than the brief, throwaway comments that appear midway through a scene. It would also have been nice to have known more of Aralorn's family, aside from the ones who had a direct role in the tale.

And then there's Wolf. At the end of Masques Aralorn and Wolf had barely kissed, here - a couple of months later - they're in a full-fledged relationship. It all felt a bit sudden, and again left me dissatisfied. There is very little romance between them, but this book is mostly focused on Aralorn and her problems. Which really irritated me, especially when it came to sorting out Wolf's control issues.

Though it does improve on a second read, don't expect the high quality Briggs usually produces. Light on description, slow in places, with random aspects left unresolved and other things occurring with far too much convenience, it lacks polish. There are some wonderful touches, though, particularly the Stone Maze, but as a sequel to Masques, it didn't quite work for me.
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on 7 September 2011
This has the usual Patricia Briggs engaging charaters and good writing but is unlike her other books in one respect: there is more to it.

Typically I enjoy reading her books but feel at the end as if nothing has actually happened. It has all not-happened in an interesting and gently engaging way but there is no meat. This book had at least a little real meat. I suspect it is related to it having been her frist book revisited.

She, as so many authors do at first tried to get her good ideas and her plot all in to one story. This is good but most authors seem to learn they do not really need to and Briggs certainly appears to be one of them. An easy read sells but for me a read with a little more is definitely better. She has used the skills she learned from later books to ensure this is as engaging but has kept the meat that her early fervour put in there.
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on 17 June 2011
I'm not going to talk about the plot which I always think can be a bit spoiler-y. I read Wolfsbane (and Masques) after the Mercy Thompson series and I really liked that they were more of the traditional fantasy kind of set up - reminded me of people like David Eddings, Robin McKinley

I guess it depends what you like but for me, good books are about the characters. There are books I've tried to read which are reportedly brilliant but I could never really get into them because I really didn't care what happened to the characters. Here, sure this isn't the most polished most intricate and well laid out of plots (although don't get me wrong, there's nothing really wrong with the plot!) but Aralorn and Wolf are what makes this book for me. The world they live in, in so far as it is described, works well enough without major discrepancies or convenient insertions (a la J. K. Rowling) and this isn't a very long book so don't expect the kind of world building you get from say Robert Jordan (who went too far - 14 fat books!) or Michelle Sagara West (Sun sword series is an amazing world). Story-wise, you could argue that yes this seems to be on a smaller scale in terms of its not "save the world" anymore (as it was in Masques) but the urgency is still there albeit on a more personal level. There are bits and pieces which I think could have been tidied up or explained better but some of those to me look like they could be hints of a set up for more books (although that could just be me being hopeful). And real life isn't all neat and tidy so there might be an element of that in it too.

Bottom line: Read Masques first. Aralorn and Wolf are brilliant characters who are both complex, not too airbrushed and picture-perfect, and who don't suffer from an unnecessary amount of angst. I enjoyed this a lot and would like more books about Aralorn and Wolf. Hopefully that should give you some kind of indication of "goodness" of this book.
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on 18 July 2011
I enjoyed this duology that starts with Masques. I listened to both on audio and to be honest it took a while for me to get into Masques but by the second half I was certainly engaged. I didn't have that problem with Wolfsbane at all. I was interested from the start and I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Aralorn and Wolf. The story might seem an anticlimax after defesting the archmage in book 1. This time Aralorn is trying to disclover what is wrong with her beloved father who everyone had thought to be dead but is actually in a form of magical coma. It was good to learn more about Aralorn's family background and see the interaction on a more normal footing than in the first book.
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on 9 December 2011
I am very impressed by Patricia Briggs. She easily manage to create characters and a story that captures you and make you want to read more. And she constantly does this in short novels that does not exist as parts of a series ( the exceptions being her Mercy Thompson and the Apha & Omega urban fantasy novels).

For those of you who have read patricia Briggs urban fantasy novels here's a treat. She has written several more traditional fantasy novels of which this is one and they're all very good.

I thoroughly recommend this and any other Patricia Briggs book you can get your hands on.
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on 6 November 2011
A very interesting story by patricia briggs anyone looking to kill time till her next mercy thompson novel should take a look at these novels.
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on 11 March 2013
My favourite author so far, just love everything she writes and I definetely advise to read her books if you like fantastic...
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