I received this book for free from Kathy Dawson Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Mad Wolf's Daughter by Diana Magras
Published by Kathy Dawson Books on March 6th, 2018
Genres: Adventure, Historical, Middle-Grade
Source: Kathy Dawson Books
Buy on Amazon
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?
I am garbage for a good middle grade adventure so when The Mad Wolf’s Daughter was pitched to me, I was on board and wanted to gobble this book up. Good thing it wasn’t disappointing, amirite?
Here is the thing, among the sea of commercial fiction that dominates Middle Grade books, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter doesn’t necessarily stand out but thats not really a good or bad thing? Familiar tropes and adventures are good things and just because The Mad Wolf’s Daughter isn’t necessarily //different// doesn’t mean that it is a bad book or a mediocre book?
The thing about tropes (at least in my opinion) is that it all comes down to how the author uses them to enhance their story. You’re never going to read a book that is free of tropes because that is not how literature works. If you @ me and say “but not the classics,” I WILL prove you wrong. My aside aside, what I am trying to say is that Magras takes common tropes and uses them to give us a worthwhile adventure that is exciting and even a little refreshing.
Drest’s life is shaken when when knights come and kidnap her family. She is left behind and now its up to her to save her family. So she embarks on an adventure and picks up misfits along the way all the while learning about her family’s dark past and dealing with her familial identity and how to be Drest without being her family. Wow, that was a long sentence. I feel like I was holding my breath as I was writing that. ANYWAY.
This adventure is filled with magic, friendship and self-discovery. Truly, the best combo for any adventure written for any demographic.
I know I’ve basically been dancing around specifics regarding the story but it’s hard to feel like I have anything worthwhile to say about individual characters within the story. They are serving their story rather than the other way around and that is perfectly fine. Younger readers can easily self-insert within the story and explore their own identities through these characters and older readers, well there isn’t as much here for us but hey, if you’re trash for adventure, join me on this journey.
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
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