Their hate isn’t my responsibility.
There’s something thoroughly poetic about the premise behind Shivaun Plozza’s The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars. This is probably the most I’ve felt whisked away into a fairytale while reading a book in a long time. And it was amazing. I kind of entered this book not really knowing what to expect and I left it feeling like I’d experienced an entire world and made new incredible friends along the way.
The story begins with Bo, an orphaned child who is ostracized by the village he lives near thanks to some unfounded rumors that he is in league with evil. In a world where the night sky is empty of stars and the setting of the sun brings about dark creatures of every sort, young Bo has been tasked with caring for a very important tree.
But despite his caretaker’s vehement instructions, one evening as Bo finds himself envying the kids who have friends, he neglects his duties.
All in one night, magic begins to return to and along with it comes an evil that must be faced. The tale of the wolf who swallowed the stars is at the forefront of Bo’s journey. It’s a truly entrancing and harrowing tale. Though the directions he receives are simple, Bo is in for an incredibly difficult quest. One in which he is to return the stars to the sky and save their world.
The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars has the most superb world-building through which the author has built Bo’s story. I was incredibly captivated by the way the plot was interwoven with the lore. A number of chapters have excerpts from the histories of Ulv, slowly building upon your insight and knowledge of Bo’s realm.
As the story progresses, it becomes incredibly easy to grow quite attached to the characters. For me, none was more endearing than young Nix, a fox who accompanies Bo on his travels. But there are also a bird woman called Tam and young Selene, a girl very impacted by the return of magic. Each have their own struggles to contend with, everything merging with the theme of families we build for ourselves.
And the Stars
Admittedly, as endearing as I found this book, I didn’t feel a lot emotionally toward it. That is, right up til the end. In a surprising turn of events, the conclusion of Bo and everyone’s tale breaks your heart several times over before the quest’s goal is fulfilled. It genuinely feels as though the author left all the emotional punches for those final chapters, hitting you one by one in a short span of time.
And it’s really poignant in the end. Though I’ll freely admit that the first big emotional hit really made me mad, the way it culminates was actually incredibly brilliant.
I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I read this book as part of TBR and Beyond Book Tours – click below for the schedule.
A boy and his pet fox go on a quest to find a wolf who has eaten all the stars in the sky before theShadow Witch destroys the stars and removes good magic from the world forever.
Long ago, the land of Ulv was filled with magic. But that was before a wolf ate all the Stars in the night sky, ridding the world of magic and allowing Shadow Creatures, beasts made of shadow and evil, to flourish. Twelve-year-old Bo knows the stories but thinks the Stars and the wolf who ate them are nothing more than myths—until the day Bo’s guardian, Mads, is attacked by a giant wolf straight from the legends. With his dying breath, Mads tells Bo that Ulv is in danger and the only way to prevent the Shadow Creatures from taking over is to return the Stars to the sky.
And so Bo—accompanied by his best friend, a fox called Nix, a girl named Selene who’s magic is tied to the return of the Stars, and Tam, a bird-woman who has vowed to protect Bo at all costs—sets off on a quest to find the three magical keys that will release the Stars. But Bo isn’t the only one who wants the Stars, and the friends soon find themselves fleeing angry villagers, greedy merchants, and a vengeful wolf. And all the while, an evil witch lurks in the shadows and time is running out.
Shivaun Plozzais an award-winning author of books for children and young adults. Her debut novel, Frankie, was a CBCA Notable Book and won a number of awards, including the Davitt Awards and a commendation from the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Her second novel, Tin Heart, sold in three foreign territories, received two starred reviews, and was nominated to ALA’S Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Her debut middle-grade novel, The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars, is forthcoming in 2020 from HMH Books for Young Readers and Penguin Random House Australia. She is a frequent contributor to anthologies, and when she is not writing she works as an editor and manuscript assessor