So, I noticed I have a bunch of books featuring wolves/werewolves/shapeshifter wolves, and since I highly doubt I am going to read more than one of them, it’s the perfect opportunity for a First Chapter Challenge! Basically, I read the summary and first chapter of each book and decide which one(s) I want to continue reading.
Publisher: Philomel (Penguin)
Release date: Hardcover October 2010
Where I got it: It’s one of the Penguin Five which I received (unsolicited) for review
One sentence summary: Calla Tor is destined to become the mate of alpha wolf Ren Laroche until she saves the life of a human boy and puts herself in jeopardy with her pack.
First sentence: I’d always welcomed war, but in battle my passion rose unbidden.
First chapter review: The first chapter is a 6 page action scene featuring Calla rescuing a sexy hiker from a bear attack. We see her both as a wolf and a human and we see how she acts around one of her subordinate pack members. The central plot is set up well – we can see her attraction to the boy she saves as well as her longing for a different sort of life, but also her resignation to her fate. The scene is brutal, but compelling and definitely makes me want to learn more about Calla.
Verdict: Definitely on the shortlist for a full read, even though it is the first book in a series.
Cover comments: Shows one eye only – must be a werewolf! The model looks very cold, but the effect is softened by the flowers. Until you see the blood.
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Release date: Hardcover September 30, 2010
Where I got it: Sent (unsolicited) for review
One sentence summary: Henry Whelp discovers that his father, The Big Bad Wolf, may have been framed for the murder of Little Red Riding Hood.
First sentences: Once upon a time, fairydust came from where you’d expect. From fairies.
First chapter review: Before the first chapter, there is also a prologue that talks about Dust City – a place that used to be filled with fairy magic and now is just full of manufactured fairy dust. The first chapter introduces us to Henry, who is hanging out at the St. Remus Home for Wayward Youth when a fight breaks out between some other wolves, one of which was trying to hide a letter. We are also introduced to Henry’s friend Jack (of Beanstock fame). I didn’t really get a sense of Henry’s character at all or where the story is going, and I didn’t find the fight at all compelling.
Verdict: The premise seems like it could be fun, but this promise is kinda ruined for me by the dud first chapter.
Cover comments: You know he’s an actual wolf because you see both wolfy eyes! The cover makes it look like a very gritty story, possibly with a lot of violence. Hey, there was a fight in the first chapter, so the cover seems apt.
Release date: Hardcover June 2010
Where I got it: Bought it at The Strand when I was in NYC for BEA
One sentence summary: After her parents were killed by werewolves, human Bryn was adopted by the alpha of the pack but begins to question his ways when she finds a teen locked in a cage.
First sentences: "Bronwyn Alessia St. Vincent Clare!" Four names, five words, one pissed-off werewolf. The math in this particular equation never came out in my favor.
First chapter review: The first chapter is a conversation between Bryn and her guardian Callum, the alpha of a werewolf pack. I really liked how well we already get to know Bryn and her complex feelings towards Callum in this scene. She has an easy, wry tone and a rebellious attitude. You can tell it will be hard for her to defy Callum, when it inevitably comes to that, both because he’s very powerful and also because she does have some genuine affection for him. I feel I will like spending time with Bryn.
Verdict: Is the one out of the four that I am most likely to give a full read based on first chapter alone.
Cover comments: Looks like a fairly typical paranormal cover. We know she's human, though we can only see one eye due to her pose. Maybe she has werewolf secret to uncover?!
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: Hardcover September 28, 2010
Where I got it: Sent (unsolicited) for review
One sentence summary: Teenage Liv may be a werewolf.
First sentence: At some point in everyone’s life they ask the question, “Who am I?”
First chapter review: Liv remembers her thirteenth birthday, the day she got her period for the first time and attacked her mother for killing a wolf. Now she’s 17 and knows she’s different, but tries to blend in all the same. I liked the contrast between wild Liv and her perfect mother, and am definitely curious how that might play out through the rest of the story. More so in fact than finding out if Liv is really a werewolf or not. The writing is nice – straightforward and dreamlike at the same time. Still, it didn’t really hook me, though I’d be willing to give it a few more chapters to do so.
Verdict: I have to admit I'm a bit biased about this title after reading a lot of bad reviews. Probably won't continue. There are too many other books I am dying to read!
Cover comments: Only one eye showing – she MUST be a werewolf! I love the striking green eye/red hair combo.
So which book do YOU think I should finish reading?