Title: The Wolf’s Call.
Series: Raven’s Blade #1.
Writer(s): Anthony Ryan.
Publisher: Ace Books.
Format: Advance Review Copy.
Release Date: July 23rd 2019.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
There are heroes that stick with you forever and who have gone through hell and back to achieve the impossible for the survival of humanity with their life on the line. To be able to follow them around for more life-threatening and epic adventures is just a fan’s wish that only an author could fulfill. It has been a couple of years now that I have been meaning to try something from the epic fantasy writer Anthony Ryan who has only garnered positive reviews for all of his books so far in his career. Now the author of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy and The Draconis Memoria trilogy, Anthony Ryan returns to one of his cherished worlds to revisit his hero Vaelin’s story as new threats arise in the horizon.
What is The Wolf’s Call about? Living legend Vaelin Al Sorna lives a comfortable life within the Unified Realm’s Northern Reaches as his accomplishments in the past shines brilliantly and repels all evil from contemplating any activity within his premises. Across the sea, an army is, however, growing under the leadership of a new individual who claims to be God himself. Upon discovering that a woman he once lost is within their grasp, he embarks on a mission to rescue her and bury the hatchet before another war comes to disturb the peace. Traversing strange lands, including the realms of the Merchant Kings, leads him to discover that destiny isn’t exactly on his side and such a truth isn’t one that he can simply ignore this time around.
There’s plenty to appreciate in Anthony Ryan’s latest novel set in the same universe as his Raven’s Shadow trilogy but this duology relies heavily on the reader’s experience of the main character’s past adventures. The journey that Vaelin has been through often reemerge in the form of memories, decisions, and consequences that he bears with him as he tackles his latest quest. Although it isn’t necessary to read the original trilogy first, the weight of spoken words and the emotions relived by characters throughout this novel aren’t fully seized by the reader without all the context and details that come with them. You are thus left riding through this novel without ever knowing when to stop and smell the roses.
What’s sure to be in the bag for the author is the prose, both effective and exquisite. Told entirely through a singular point of view, that of Vaelin Al Sorna, Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches, the story brilliantly captures his sense of humour and evident experience in warfare. The story also contains several interlude chapters that are narrated by Luralyn Reyerik, sister to Kehlbrand, the main antagonist of this novel. Her chapters allow the reader to have a glimpse at their background and the transformation of Kehlbrand into who he is today.
The writing style in this novel also conveyed the author’s ability to both develop his characters, deliver decent banter and expose world-building information, without ever boring his readers to sleep. In fact, the way the story is constructed presents the reader with a linear mission with several obstacles that force the protagonist into compromising in order to move forward and achieve his one and only goal. Fortunately for us, Anthony Ryan writes some very cinematic and deadly action sequences to spice up the adventure and depict the character’s perception of war throughout the story.
The Wolf’s Call is an epic adventure set in the Raven’s Shadow trilogy with a touch of reminiscence of past warfare and interspersed with excellent and thrilling action.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and Ace Books for sending me a copy for review!