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Friday, January 14, 2011

'Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf' by Curtis JOBLING

Received from the Publisher

From the BLURB:

"You're the last of the werewolves son. Don't fight it...Conquer it".

When the air is clear, sixteen year-old Drew Ferran can pick up the scent of a predator. When the moon breaks through the clouds, a terrifying fever grips him. And when a vicious beast invades his home, his gums begin to tear, his fingers become claws, and Drew transforms ...Forced to flee the family he loves, Drew seeks refuge in the most godforsaken parts of Lyssia. But when he is captured by Lord Bergan's men, Drew must prove he is not the enemy. Can Drew battle the werecreatures determined to destroy him - and master the animal within?

‘Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf’ is the first Young Adult paranormal book from Curtis Jobling. Jobling is already a renowned British illustrator and animator, best known for his work on the TV show ‘Bob the Builder’.

The Seven Realms is a mythical world where territories and borders are divided according to Lycanthropic rule. These ‘rulers’ are not only the traditional shapeshifting Werewolves, but a plethora of were animals known as ‘Werelords’. There are Wererats and Werefoxes stretching from The Badlands to Omir and many lands in between.

Our hero is Drew Ferran, a simple farmer’s son who is accused of a heinous crime he did not commit. Drew saw his mother murdered by a slavering beast. . . a beast he soon came to resemble. Now his father and twin brother, Trent, are on the hunt for the monster they believe Drew to be. He is forced to seek refuge in dangerous Lyssia where Drew discovers he is the last of the royal Werewolf blood line. . . and the Werelion, King Leopold, intends to make sure the blood stops with Drew.

I wasn’t sure I would like this Young Adult fantasy novel. It seemed like a thorough boys book and I went into it with much (girlish) trepidation . . . but by the end of the third chapter, I was hooked.

This book kicks off with a high-octane pace and doesn’t let up. I knew I was reading something special after the third chapter left me covered in goose-bumps. Jobling has a truly heinous talent for writing action and gore, and the scene in which Drew first encounters the monster that kills his mother is full of high-emotion and high-action;
The creature slowly advanced into the kitchen, drawing out the inevitable. It stepped through the chaos, wind cloaking it with rainwater as it shambled up to the table. A huge clawed hand trailed playfully along the wood, blood dripping on to the surface.
Tilly Ferran whispered the word ‘No’ over and over, again and again, but she knew this was her end, knew there was nothing she could do to stop the monster. The beast shook its head, stinking drool falling on to the table beside her head.
“I thought. . . I thought I was safe from you,” she mouthed, though the words found no volume. “I thought you’d never find us.”
The animal snarled a grin, leaning in towards her and mouthing a single word as it opened its mouth.
“Never.”
Then it closed its jaws round her throat.
Jobling’s novel is medieval-action-fantasy of the tallest order. Yes, this is a bit of a boys book (light on the romance, but with many a fight scene) . . . but fantasy and paranormal connoisseurs’ will appreciate ‘Wereworld’ for the intricate and fantastical tale that Jobling expertly weaves.

The novel has a bit of a Tolkien-esque feel to it, purely for the impressive world-building. Jobling writes about the Seven Realms with plenty of back story to keep readers hooked and mythical creatures to wow the imagination. This is a world that young readers can immerse themselves in, get lost in the Seven Realms history and mythology and let their imaginations run wild in the Wereworld universe. Brilliant!

The book has a very Brothers Grimm, Faustian feel to it. Drew is a fantastic protagonist with a heartbreaking task set for him. This book (and the series) is really all about Drew testing his mettle, discovering the ‘monster’ within and learning to either banish or accept it as a part of himself. There’s also a very interesting sibling dynamic going on between Drew and Trent that heightens the emotional stakes.

Though ‘Wereworld’ will stand out for the fantastical universe Jobling has created, it’s also the cachet of characters that made this an outstanding read. Werelion, King Leopold, is a great and god-like bad guy. And some of the secondary characters are fantastic; like Drew’s newfound friend, Gretchen, who became an instant favourite for her whip-quick wit.

Curtis Jobling’s debut YA book will no doubt appeal to the young male readership. It’s a gory swashbuckling fantasy-fest and guaranteed crowd-pleaser. But even though it is geared mostly toward the male readership, fans (both young, old and female) of the fantasy and paranormal genre will be sucked into Jobling’s impressive Wereworld and tugged along with Drew on his harrowing journey of (monster)self-discovery.

The second book in the Wereworld series is set for a January 2012 release, and I can’t wait!

5/5

2 comments:

  1. I've been seeing this book around and it looks amazing!! Great review =D

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  2. Wow, terrific review, thanks for such kind words, Danielle. Glad your "girlie" side was won over by the "dark" side ;-) I noticed the review on Amazon.com - do you tweet?

    Best wishes and congrats on a brilliant review blog!

    CJ
    @CurtisJobling

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