I meant to link to and endorse a review my friend Marie Carlson wrote a couple of weeks ago, and then got super-busy (reading and writing, naturally. Oh, and doing dishes. Much less glamorous) and forgot. But now I have remembered!
The reason I’m linking to Marie’s review instead of writing up my very own is pretty well summed up in her introduction:
I will start this mini-review with a bit of funny that happened. The other day I sat down to continue reading Wolf Signs, the awesome Elizabeth Reeve popped up on IM, and we had this exchange (mostly paraphrased):
Eliza: I read some short stories I liked. They were about werewolves. You like werewolves. Let me tell you about them! (She also thoughtfully provided links, because she is awesome. Because I am also awesome, I will pass those links on to you: “First Howl” and “Second Howl” by Vivian Arend.)
Eliza: *talks a little about the short stories and the things she likes about them*
Eliza: And a female lead who is deaf!
Me: *double take* I think I am reading these books! I was just going to tell you about this free book I got for the Kindle. (Because I am still awesome, I will include a link, though I can’t guarantee how long the freebie will last: Wolf Signs.)
Me: Shared brain for the win!
So, you can see that Marie and I had very similar thoughts on this series right from the beginning, including the “oh, hey, I want to recommend these stories to someone!” thought.
The rest of Marie’s review can be found here: I Recommend…Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend (spoilers). As you can guess from the title, she spoils bits of the plot of the first book of Vivian Arend‘s Granite Lake Wolves series, so be aware of that before you click through.
We continued to have very similar thoughts on Wolf Signs right through the end of reading it, so you can look to Marie’s review for a more in-depth take on some of the things about the book that didn’t quite work for me. But the things that did work were very appealing. I loved the heroine, Robyn Maxwell. She’s a fun character, and I was really pleased to see a deaf heroine whose disability wasn’t treated like some kind of horrific, over-the-top curse. Robyn’s deafness makes some things in life more complicated for her than they might be for a hearing person, but she’s resourceful, and perfectly capable of taking care of herself.
Arend also avoided going too far in the other direction in her portrayal of a character with a disability. Robyn isn’t some kind of inhuman (well, okay, a little bit inhuman, but not like that) paragon, either. She’s not a cautionary tale, or an object of pity, or an inspiration to “the rest of us.” She’s a person, and a well-developed heroine.
I would have enjoyed the book for Robyn alone, but the other characters in Wolf Signs are equally engaging. Combine that with a really appealing setting and an intriguing take on werewolves and pack politics, and you’ve got a series-starting book that I’m happy to recommend. And I’ll be picking up the next book in the Granite Lake Wolves series as soon as I’ve caught up some with my backlog of reading material.
And my dishes.