“You must remember that fear will always come, Myrkr will always use it against you…but you get to choose. You can always defeat it. When it tries to take your power, you must take its instead.”
I have always adored books that highlight the battle between light and darkness, both as a reader and as a writer. That essential struggle that exists within all of us is something that I think every person can relate to; so seeing it explored in books is a safe way to explore the battle within ourselves. This is what drew me to The Wolf Queen by Tabitha Caplinger, which unfortunately sat on my TBR (To Be Read) shelf for far too long. When I finally decided to give it a go, it was not at all what I was expecting; but it was so much better than I expected at the same time.
The world and characters are derived from Viking culture, something which I know absolutely nothing about, so at first it was a little difficult to wade through the unknown names and formal sentence structure of the story. But the more I got to know Ylva, the Wolf Queen herself, the more I simply had to keep reading. She was raised by wolves and remembers very little of her childhood, but she has returned to her village and become the leader of their clan. And she has a gift from Lys himself: the ability to see the inner battle between light and darkness in each person. While this clearly has advantages (like don’t trust someone overtaken by darkness!), it is a heavy burden for her to bear as she feels the pain and suffering of those she looks “inside”. I loved that although she is this incredibly strong warrior with an almost godlike ability, the author takes the time to peel back her layers and reveal the tender heart that lies inside.
And although it is a bit of an understated slow burn, there is a beautiful and natural romance that develops between Ylva and Rohan, the crown prince of the clans. Seeing the book walk through his fears and struggles, which are not so well-hidden as he might believe (even without Ylva’s gift), was so painful that it made my heart break; but it made his story that much more beautiful as it reminds us that God uses people that the world thinks are broken beyond repair. Sometimes our brokenness can be our greatest strength.
Without giving too much away, let me just say that the way that this story handles the battle between light and darkness is phenomenal. It’s got all the good elements of a fantasy story (including a well-built world with history and culture); but it also has amazing allegorical elements that fit within that story. Never thought I’d say that about “zombies” in a Viking fantasy story, but there you have it! Also bonus points for actually getting me to read an entire book with zombie-like characters in it…because they are definitely NOT my typical cup of tea.
This story is too good not to recommend with a full 5 stars! So if you like fantasy stories that depict our inner battles and what that looks like when it spills into reality in a fantastical sense, I highly recommend The Wolf Queen.
One thought on “The Wolf Queen by Tabitha Caplinger”
Comments are closed.