Title: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter (Mad Wolf’s Daughter #1)
Author: Diane Magras
Publish Date: March 6, 2018
A Scottish medieval adventure about the youngest in a war-band who must free her family from a castle prison after knights attack her home–with all the excitement of Ranger’s Apprentice and perfect for fans of heroines like Alanna from The Song of the Lioness series.
One dark night, Drest’s sheltered life on a remote Scottish headland is shattered when invading knights capture her family, but leave Drest behind. Her father, the Mad Wolf of the North, and her beloved brothers are a fearsome war-band, but now Drest is the only one who can save them. So she starts off on a wild rescue attempt, taking a wounded invader along as a hostage.
Hunted by a bandit with a dark link to her family’s past, aided by a witch whom she rescues from the stake, Drest travels through unwelcoming villages, desolate forests, and haunted towns. Every time she faces a challenge, her five brothers speak to her in her mind about courage and her role in the war-band. But on her journey, Drest learns that the war-band is legendary for terrorizing the land. If she frees them, they’ll not hesitate to hurt the gentle knight who’s become her friend.
Drest thought that all she wanted was her family back; now she has to wonder what their freedom would really mean. Is she her father’s daughter or is it time to become her own legend?
“Sometimes words alone can save your life.”*
*Quote extracted from an unproofed ARC copy that may be changed in final print.
I received an ARC from Penguin Young Readers Group for a fair review.
What an exciting story about 12 year old Drest as she journeys to save her family after she is the sole survivor of a raid that has taken them captive. I think my favorite part about this book was that when she was processing a situation it wasn’t told in a way that she was thinking it out…even though she was. In multiple scenarios Drest imagined her various brothers giving her advice on how to handle the situation. Even though it was her own thoughts it reflected how much of her own training came from each of her brothers and dad, but also how she herself branched off as her own courageous person.
The story itself had consistent pacing that started off in a way that sets the vibe that Drest is the youngest and not the most experienced. By the end she has grown, learned, and experienced so much more that she has readily earned the appreciation from the whole war band. The book is an ode to little girls who can be just as brave as any boy.
The World Building
Though the story itself isn’t an epic fantasy I felt that I could easily escape into the world. Through the language the characters used, to the subtle descriptions of the surrounding, weaponry, attire, and even the actions of the towns people, I was able to imagine the world that Drest was traveling through. There were only a few times that I thought the scenario a stretch, but for the most part I thought it all a story that is entirely plausible.
The end of the book included a glossary as well as an author’s note that included research that would help any young reader understand with background information about historical Scotland and even where inspiration from names came from.
I am only going to express my love for our hero Drest here. What a tough cookie! I love that though she may let some people assume she was a boy, she still was proud to be a girl and to not let it affect her concept of her abilities. Never once did she think that she couldn’t accomplish such an impossible task because of her sex or even her age. Even though she had never gone off to battle herself, she thought herself just as much a part of her fathers war band just as any other brother of hers, declaring herself to be a legend. She is such a brave and snarky character that you can’t help but cheer her on.
Phil Good – Better
About the Author
Diane Magras grew up on Mount Desert Island in Maine. The Mad Wolf’s Daughter is her debut novel. She is the editor, writer, and chief fund raiser for the Maine Humanities Council. She volunteers at her son’s school library, and is addicted to tea, toast, castles, legends, and most things medieval. Diane lives in Maine with her husband and son and thinks often of Scotland, where her books are set.