by Adam Dreece
I was given a copy of Along Came a Wolf by the author in exchange for a review. Now, this isn’t something I usually do, not because I choose not to, but because I hardly ever get approached to do so, though I’m sure there are probably many good reasons for that. Right from the get-go, I remember thinking that the Yellow Hoods series didn’t look like my cup of tea, and I did share this with Dreece, but I decided that I would give it an honest go and really try to like it. (I honestly really tried.)
The story itself moves along at a reasonable pace, with a conflict quickly being established and, almost as quickly, resolved, spoiler warning. Without there really being any issues in plot or structure, hard as I tried, I wasn’t really getting into things. Then, about halfway through the book, something changed. Things started coming alive and coming together; I began loving it! I started telling everyone how I completely misjudged Along Came a Wolf. Taking a simple story and surprising the reader, improving the tale immensely partway through, is definitely indication of talented writing. However, it takes a careful writer to maintain it without everything unravelling. As the plot drew to a conclusion, the author abruptly took away my favourite things, such as the changing personalities of noteworthy characters, the antagonist in particular.
I really think that my biggest gripes for the story stem from not being in the book’s target audience, thereby not sharing in the sensibilities of its usual readers. I didn’t enjoy the frequent fairy tale and nursery rhyme references or the characters’ names and the “witty” comments related to them. (Egelina-Marie and Bakon fall for each other, leading to the observation that Eg and Bakon sound like a natural match.) One character’s catchphrase drove me to drink, but, luckily, she seems to grow out of it by the end of the book, spoiler warning. As well, characters frequently explained their plans and actions throughout, the main antagonist being the worst offender in this manner, clearly trying out to be the next Bond villain. Of course, judging from the copious amount of praise Along Came a Wolf received on Goodreads and Amazon, I seem to be in a minority with these opinions. If it looks like something you would regularly pick up and enjoy, I’m sure you could do much worse than this one.