Friday, 12 April 2019

Wolf Light by Yaba Badoe


Wolf Light by Yaba Badoe
Published by Zephyr on the 4th April 2019.

One of my 2019 New Release Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A leopard dances under the moon. 
A wolf prowls. 
A red-beaked bird flies free.

Three girls born on the same day in wolf light are bound together to protect the world. They can dazzle or destroy. They have wind-song and fire-fury at their fingertips, but their enemies are everywhere.

From the bleak steppes to the tropical forests of Ghana and the stormy moors of Cornwall, the lands they love are plundered and poisoned. The girls must rally to perfect their skills and prove the strength of sister-magic.

Steeped in elemental myth, Wolf Light is a call to us all to hear the ancient power within us and conserve our heritage.

I feel I ought to start this review by admitting I am a good quarter-century older than Wolf Light's target readership! So, while I enjoyed the read and am happy to recommend it to other 'mature' readers as well as young adults, some of the issues that have resulted in my middling star rating rating are due more to that age-expectation discrepancy than to flaws in the novel itself.

Let's talk about the aspects of Wolf Light I loved. There is great diverse female representation here and strong portrayals of female friendship across generations. Our three heroines hail from Mongolia, Ghana and England. Badoe allows the contrasts between their homelands to shine brilliantly while also showing the ways in which these environments are each subject to the same threats and degradation. Wolf Light has a truly inspirational environmental message. This isn't a novel that wrings its hands and despairs, but one that encourages girls and women to actually stand up and act. We might not all be able to channel the power of a tornado or morph into the form of a leopard, but we can all wash paint marks off threatened trees when we see them! Age need not be a barrier to action either. In Wolf Light, parents are generally absent but this allows for surrogate parental relationships between the girls and their grandparents - grandparents who are still in touch with the Old Ways and who have been seduced by the lure of money.

What I really wanted more from in Wolf Light was pages! With three different real-world storylines plus the crossover magical settings to portray, I just didn't think there was enough space to fully explore everything. Sometimes scenes felt rushed or situations weren't explained clearly enough for me to fully understand what was going on, particularly with regards to the magical aspects. Why these specific girls? How are they doing that? How far does this net spread? At the conclusion I wondered if Wolf Light might actually be the first of a series, but I don't see that mentioned anywhere. Don't let my quibbles put you off giving Wolf Light a try though. If you enjoy fast-paced feminist magical fantasy, this could well be a good choice for you.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Yaba Badoe / Fantasy fiction / Books from Ghana

13 comments:

  1. oh look at that cover!

    Three different storylines?? that's may be a challenge for me LOL It does seem you needed more from the world-building!

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    1. It's a gorgeous cover which manages to include lots of the story's elements :-)

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  2. Just a word of caution: sometimes trees marked to be removed have been selected because they're a) causing danger (i.e. they're unstable and in danger of falling on someone) or b) diseased (and potentially contagious.) Life is never as simple as it first appears! <3

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    1. In the context of the novel, the trees are healthy and theoretically protected, but have been marked for felling as a cash crop.

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    2. I get that :) just a word of warning in general!

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  3. Replies
    1. Gorgeous, isn't it! Great colour and intriguing images

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  4. Too bad you were still left with questions in the end. I sometimes feel the age gap when I'm reading a book, too (and not always one for teens). Neat how it offers the strong female characters and messages.

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    1. Yes, I think had I been the target audience, I might have been swept more strongly into this one

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  5. Its always good when you can recognise that some the enjoyment isn't the books fault, but just a reader preference - so in your case not being the age audience. And I am loving the cover and also the idea of getting those three countries of culture and setting. I think I would enjoy this!

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    1. The three such different settings was an inspired idea on the author's part

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  6. What a great message this book has! I can understand wanting a book to be longer though so that you can have more time to connect to characters and get answers, esp when there are three MCs. Still, sounds like a great book for young readers!

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    1. Lots of strong themes for young adult readers in this inspirational story

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