It’s been ages since I read a middle grade story. And The Wolf’s Curse delivers action while also being about stories. About the sides to a story and to the truth behind myths. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Twelve-year-old Gauge’s life has been cursed since the day he witnessed a Great White Wolf steal his grandpapá’s soul, preventing it from reaching the Sea-in-the-Sky and sailing into eternity. When the superstitious residents of Bouge-by-the-Sea accuse the boy of crying wolf, he joins forces with another orphan to prove his innocence. They navigate their shared grief in a journey that ultimately reveals life-changing truths about the wolf––and death.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
What immediately struck me about The Wolf’s Curse is the narration. It feels like this external story teller. And we’re able to see the events and characters unfold and twist upon themselves. Stricken by grief, alone and isolated in this town, Gauge’s story initially broke my heart. That feeling when you can’t control the narrative of your life. The rumors which are taken as truth and you’re alone?
And, still after finishing, that’s what strikes me most about The Wolf’s Curse: how Vitalis explores this line between story and truth. How it’s so clear that the rules exist for some people, that our stories and lives are sometimes just narratives we carve. But also how Gauge discovers that sometimes the kernel of the truth doesn’t matter as much as you think. I was pulled throughout the story by wondering what the Wolf’s side of the story is. You can see the parallels between Gauge and the Wolf as the town turns them into villains and figures beyond recognition.
All the times it’s so much easier to just stand by and watch something happen, but how speaking up is so important. The Wolf’s Curse is a middle grade story that manages to begin all these difficult and important conversations. About truth, rumors and belief, and doing the right thing. It balances being thought provoking – especially for younger readers – while also delivering action and mystery. If you’re looking for a great middle grade with strong themes and questions, as well as a core of friendship, then check out The Wolf’s Curse.
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