Author: Angela J. Townsend
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (20th November 2012)
Emma’s life has been hell since she moved from sunny California to a remote Alaskan town. Abandoned by her father and living with the guilt caused by her mother’s death, she makes a desperate dash for freedom from her abusive stepfather. But when her car skids off the icy road, her planned escape leads to further captivity in a world beyond her imagining.
Dragged across the tundra by an evil mountain man and his enormous black wolf, she learns that love can be found in the most unexpected places. Amarok, as she’s nicknamed the wolf, is a young man from the gold-rush era enslaved by an ancient shaman. Emma’s gentle touch and kind heart win his love and devotion.
When a vicious madman – trapped in bear form by the same Shaman – attacks the travelers and injures Amarok, Emma must find the strength to face her fears and free the wolf she’s come to love. But that means she must face down the evil shaman, a Siberian mammoth hunter from the ice age, and he has no intention of giving up his power to her.
Rating: ** (2 stars)
I first heard of Amarok through the Waiting on Wednesday meme, and I thought that the cover looked amazing and the blurb sounded interesting and like there was a lot of potential for the story. It’s a pity that the book didn’t live up to my expectations.
Amarok is a quick, easy, romp through the wilds of Alaska. The novel starts with Emma escaping in the dead of night from her stepfather’s house and stealing his car so she can escape back to California – the one place that feels like home to her. Unfortunately things don’t go quite to plan, whilst she does make a clean getaway from her stepfather she doesn’t manage to escape Alaska’s wilderness.
The thing that disappoints me most about the book is that it has LOTS of potential, which I wish Townsend had explored further. At one hundred and eighty-one pages the story is far too short, and has a lot of very short chapters which could easily have been fleshed out so that the story was a lot more substantial. Townsend also makes the mistake of telling the reader a lot of the information rather than showing, which is partly why the novel is so short I think.
Having said that, I really did enjoy both Emma and Amarok as characters and the way that Townsend gave both of their points of view throughout the story. I also liked the idea of Amarok being trapped in wolf-shape due to an evil shaman, and therefore having to cling onto his humanity. Townsend did a really good job at conveying this battle in him, and how Emma’s appearance changed things for him. I can see why Amarok ends up falling in love with Emma, but I am a little baffled about where her feelings for him come from as he spends most of the book in wolf form and she has no idea that he is anything but a wolf. Amarok also had plenty of scope for a sequel, especially considering how the novel ends – there are a couple of loose ends that could be tied up with a sequel – but there doesn’t appear to be any plans for one.