‘I think it’s always best to start at the beginning,’ said Curtis Jobling when I asked for his expert knowledge of his own books. That’s why I’m giving you the first Wereworld – Rise of the Wolf – rather than Curtis’s brand new third Werebook – Shadow of the Hawk. I’ll have to work my way slowly through this Wereworld, which is going to be hard if Curtis keeps up his current publishing speed. Basically, we’ll never be on the same level. Oh well, his loss…
The word ‘were’ sends shivers down my spine, and not the team Jacob kind of shivers. OK, so I loved Lupin, but there are only so many werewolves a witch can grapple with, and you do tend to think of black books and silly romance. But in this case you couldn’t be further from the truth.
Wereworld is your good old-fashioned adventure story, where some of the characters simply happen to be were-somethings. You need some magic, and pulling on were-powers when you’re in dire straits is about as normal as becoming Spiderman.
We begin with young, innocent Drew who has a very bad day. A creature turns up, does unspeakable things, and Drew’s father isn’t as understanding as he could be, so throws Drew out, leaving him both shocked by what has happened, and having to look after himself in the woods of Lyssia.
After living wild for months, Drew meets people who come to have something to do with his future. He learns that he is a werewolf, and while he makes new friends and allies, there is a lot of backstabbing going on, too. Basically, this is a fast paced adventure where Drew and friends and foes head for the exciting end of book one. There is a temporary ‘happy’ end, but the cliffhanger is good and ready and we want to know what happens next.
If you like adventure, and are ready for weresharks and werebadgers (yes, really) and any other kind of ‘were’ you can think of, this is for you. Hard to say when this is set, if you can ask that about a fantasy world. Mostly it feels historical, but some of it seems more modern. The thing with fantasy is you can do what you like.
Lovely hints at a possible romance, although I suspect Curtis won’t take it in the direction I’d like. There is a warning on the back cover that the book ‘contains scenes of violence’ and it does, but probably no more than readers would expect. It’s a bit gory, but not too bad. Personally I feel it’s the politics that leave you feeling sick.
And I’m afraid they ate Bambi.