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Leader Of The Pack

Daine and Numair find themselves part of the pack as they uncover a treasonous plot in Tamora Pierce’s Wolf-Speaker.

Leader Of The Pack

BOOK REPORT for Wolf-Speaker (The Immortals #2) by Tamora Pierce

Careful, Sweetie: spoilers! This is the second book in The Immortals series, so if you haven’t read the first one, Wild Magic, you should probably hop back in the TARDIS and go curl up with the previous book by the library pool before continuing.

Cover Story: The Gang’s All Here
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale:1
Talky Talk: Bottle Episode
Bonus Factors: New Characters, Wolves
Relationship Status: Pack It In

Cover Story: The Gang’s All Here

You can tell whomever designed and approved this cover actually read this book as it includes all of Daine’s furry companions: the wolves of the Long Lake Pack; Flicker, the brave squirrel; Quickmunch, the feisty marmot (these pictures of marmots are hilarious, by the way); and Wisewing, the practical bat.

The Deal:

It’s been more than a year since Daine found herself a surrogate family in her royalty-adjacent friends, and she’s now firmly invested in Tortall and its king and queen. When her old wolf friends from Snowsdale turn up begging for her help, she, Numair, and Kitten make the trek up into the mountains to check out the Fief Dunlath.

What they find is most troubling: the nobles of Dunlath are hosting potential Catharki mages/spies, have re-opened their mines and are using slave labor without the King’s approval. What the nobles don’t realize is that their callous tree-clearing and loud mining noises are damaging the valley and scaring away the game, and the wolves of the Long Lake Pack are having none of this.

Daine and Numair now must play a dangerous balancing game: learn exactly how far this treason goes without alerting the Dunlath nobles of their true purpose and find a way to appease the wolves before they take things into their own paws.

BFF Charm: Yay

Daine is now a lot surer of herself and her place in the world, but she is still being challenged to grow as a person. She has always been loyal to a fault—that is one of the things I love about her—but what she struggles with, time and again, and must confront is her judgmental nature and inherent prejudices. And a Pierce protagonist is nothing if not stubborn, so the lesson takes some repeating.

Shout-out BFF charm to Maura, the ten-year-old half-sister of the Dunlath heir, who knows her family is up to shenanigans and refuses to stand for it. She starts off a bit timid but doesn’t let a little thing like age and lack of accessible funds/means stop her from being a boss. (Side note: Tamora has promised us a Maura series for a few decades now. Where’s the love?!)

Swoonworthy Scale: 1

Sorry, things just don’t get that interesting until the third book. Numair and Daine have spent the last year training and traveling together, and it shows in their seamless morning and breakdown routines and how they intimately know each other’s quirks. They have an ease and mutual respect about their friendship, and it’s clear they depend on each other quite a bit, but right now it’s all very platonic. Yet I think that is one of the things I love about their relationship: it’s a slow burn from learning partners to friends to more.

Talky Talk: Bottle Episode

Some would say this is their least favorite of The Immortals series—including me. They dislike the slow pace, the constant traveling, the lack of our favorite secondary Tortallan characters, and that all the action takes place within the Dunlath valley. Yet despite its self-contained nature in comparison to the next two books, I do have an appreciation for it. I will counter and say this book is kind of necessary, in that it gives us a calm before the political storm that is Emperor Mage, establishes Daine and Numair’s travel/working partnership, and explores and expands Daine’s magical talents. It’s also a bridge book for her as she makes her peace with her past and tries to learn patience and tolerance.

Bonus Factor: New Characters

Even if Wolf-Speaker isn’t your favorite in the series, you can’t deny that it introduces some fabulous People and people. If you didn’t guess from the last review, Kitten is my new favorite from the end of Wild Magic. Who doesn’t want a color-changing dragon-friend, who considers you her mother and can open locked doors with a trill or a chortle? Tkaa and his polite rock-munching are a great addition to the group, and while I already mentioned Maura, she was also a good foible to Daine.

Bonus Factor: Wolves

It is obvious Ms. Pierce did a lot of research while creating the Long Lake Pack, and it’s her clear love for animals that warms my heart for this series. Brokefang, the leader of the pack, is an old friend of Daine’s and is the Person who helped her get her revenge on the bandits that murdered her family and destroyed her farm. All the wolves want to do is find a nice, quiet place to settle after being forced to relocate from the Gallan mountains, but the two-leggers in Dunlath won’t leave well enough alone. What’s also troubling for Daine is the fact that her lingering presence in the pack during those few weeks of “madness” had an unintended effect on her wolf family: they began to become smarter and more aware, and distinctly un-wolf-like.

You know what I also appreciate? Only once does the world “howl” appear in relation to the pack. I feel like most stories involving wolves whip this verb out any chance they get.

Casting Call:

I cast Daine and Numair in a previous review here.

Scott Porter as Tristian

Tristian is a contemporary of Numair’s from Carthaki, who oozes charm but has a dark streak lurking below the surface.

Anna Kendrick as Yolane

Vain and power-hungry, Yolane’s goal is to become queen of Tortall.

Ellie Darcey-Alden as Maura

Maura is resilient and determined to do the right thing.

Relationship Status: Pack It In

You may not be my favorite story in the pack, Book, but you still have your place and deserve recognition. Every member has a vital role, and you give us the time to explore those complex issues of leadership, prejudice, and loyalty. Now let’s go do a pack howl.

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased my own copy of this book. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. Wolf-Speaker is available now.

Stephanie Johnston's photo About the Author: Stephanie is an avid reader who moonlights as a college Educational Advisor. Though she now calls Orlando home, she grew up all over the U.S. Aside from her obsession with YA books and book-related activities, Stephanie loves watching way too much television, reading organizational/DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.