Monday, September 3, 2012

Review: Frontier Wolf - Rosemary Sutcliff

Frontier Wolf by Rosemary Sutcliff
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on February 1, 2008
Published by Front Street
Pages: 254
Read From: 7.28.12 - 7.29.12

Cover Blurb: I’m not very fond of the redone covers of Sutcliff’s books. Some of them, I’ll admit, are good. But not this one. Guess why? Yep, it leers. And that guy looks nothing like how I picture Alexios.

What I Liked: As always, I love, love, love this Author’s characters. I have never once been disappointed in her characters. I love the relationship between Alexios and Cunorix - two friends turned against each other because of war. Hilarion wasn’t all that major of a character and he rarely said anything, but when he did, he was very funny, and I have to say that he was my favorite; he was one of those minor characters that’s just bursting with personality. And Glaucus Montanus was great fun to hate. I really liked Alexios as a protagonist - he was different from some of Sutcliff’s other legionnaire characters; he had failed his duty, brought disgrace to his family, and had only gained his previous positions because of his relations. Very different from someone like Marcus in The Eagle of the Ninth, who brought nothing but honor to his family and succeeded at pretty much everything he undertook. Alexios was a character easy to relate to, but for all of his faults, he tries to do his best anyway, and eventually proves himself to be as good as his ancestors.

What I Disliked: I wish Glaucus Montanus’s death had been a tiny bit more eventful. He is such a jerk that as a Reader, I wanted to read his demise, and the quickness of his death, while believable, was a little disappointing. But that’s a minor complaint.

Believability: As always, Rosemary Sutcliff did a lot of research, and she notes in her Author’s Note what she made up and what she didn’t. Even those things she invented are entirely plausible. The conditions and way of life all very nicely display her historical knowledge.

Writing Style: As in all of her stories, Frontier Wolf is filled with beautiful and loving descriptions of the Highlands - written in a way that only someone who has been there can write it. Her descriptions of characters is wonderfully quick and succinct - no long-winded, unnecessary details of a character you’ll never meet again; just a quick mention of each person, along with one little detail that sums of the characters’ general personality. The storyline itself would, perhaps, feel a little bit slow, if it weren’t for the subtle, but constant, foreshadowing with Morvidd.

Content: None. Rosemary Sutcliff knows how to write battle scenes without getting bogged down in ridiculous details of blood and gore.

Conclusion: There is nothing disappointing about this story and how it ends. It’s realistic, and some might say that it’s a little bit abrupt, but it fits the story completely. Frontier Wolf is one of my new favorites. There’s just so many good characters, strong camaraderie, just enough action and peril, and of course lots of wonderful writing.

Recommended Audience: Historical fiction fans, and especially those who liked The Eagle of the Ninth. This is the next book for you! Like all of Sutcliff’s books, this will appeal to both guys and girls.

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