cover image Rise of the Wolf

Rise of the Wolf

Curtis Jobling. Viking, $16.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-670-01330-2

In this thrilling middle-grade debut, first in the Wereworld series, British author/illustrator Jobling (the designer of the Bob the Builder TV series) creates a memorable new setting in which were-creatures rule. When Drew’s mother is attacked by a monster, Drew’s true nature as a werewolf is unleashed. Driven from his home through a misunderstanding, he goes on the run, finding trouble around every corner. As the last of the royal werewolf line, Drew has been marked for death by the werelion Leopold, who currently rules the Seven Realms. Trying to stay alive, with a wereboar scholar and a feisty werefox princess-to-be as his unlikely allies, Drew careens from one adventure to the next, almost accidentally sparking a revolution against the corrupt leaders of his nation. Jobling’s characterizations are solid, his world-building is complex and fascinating, and the combat scenes are suitably exciting. The book’s themes are familiar—lost prince in exile, voyage of self-discovery, young heroes rebelling against injustice and evil—but Jobling uses them to tell a thoroughly enjoyable adventure that makes particularly inventive use of its shape-shifter elements and mythology. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)