JULIE'S WOLF PACK

Completing the switch in narrative view begun in Julie (1994), the sequel to Julie of the Wolves (1972), George continues her tale of the Avalik River pack entirely from the standpoint of its members: Kapu, the young new alpha; his daughter and successor, Sweet Fur Amy; Ice Blink, a lone wolf who carries rabies—and Willow Pup Julie, who lives in town but puts in appearances to inspect new pups or perform rescues. George invests all of her characters equally with expressive language, customary patterns of behavior, distinct personalities, and rich emotional lives. The wolfpack culture is complex and thoroughly articulated; readers who follow Kapu through seasons fat and lean, births, deaths, and challenges (serious, but always bloodless) to his leadership will be as devastated as the pack is when he is trapped and removed for a scientific experiment. Working mostly offstage, Julie engineers his return, but he does not rejoin the pack. The rhythms of life on the tundra are slow ones, and the only deaths George describes explicitly are those of wolves who succumb to the contagion that Ice Blink brings; the result is a story that flows at an even, deliberate pace, without—save for the brief outbreak of rabies—much suspense or sense of danger. The wolf's-eye view will draw new readers to the books, but fans of the first books, already well-versed in wolf society, may find many of the situations repetitive. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1997

ISBN: 0-06-027406-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997

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GUTS

THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND HATCHET AND THE BRIAN BOOKS

Paulsen recalls personal experiences that he incorporated into Hatchet (1987) and its three sequels, from savage attacks by moose and mosquitoes to watching helplessly as a heart-attack victim dies. As usual, his real adventures are every bit as vivid and hair-raising as those in his fiction, and he relates them with relish—discoursing on “The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition,” for instance: “Something that you would never consider eating, something completely repulsive and ugly and disgusting, something so gross it would make you vomit just looking at it, becomes absolutely delicious if you’re starving.” Specific examples follow, to prove that he knows whereof he writes. The author adds incidents from his Iditarod races, describes how he made, then learned to hunt with, bow and arrow, then closes with methods of cooking outdoors sans pots or pans. It’s a patchwork, but an entertaining one, and as likely to win him new fans as to answer questions from his old ones. (Autobiography. 10-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32650-5

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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Awful on a number of levels—but tidily over at last.

THE STARS BELOW

From the Vega Jane series , Vol. 4

The rebellion against an evil archmage and his bowler-topped minions wends its way to a climax.

Dispatching five baddies on the first two pages alone, wand-waving villain-exterminator Vega Jane gathers a motley army of fellow magicals, ghosts, and muggles—sorry, “Wugmorts”—for a final assault on Necro and his natty Maladons. As Necro repeatedly proves to be both smarter and more powerful than Vega Jane, things generally go badly for the rebels, who end up losing their hidden refuge, many of their best fighters, and even the final battle. Baldacci is plainly up on his ancient Greek theatrical conventions, however; just as all hope is lost, a divinity literally descends from the ceiling to referee a winner-take-all duel, and thanks to an earlier ritual that (she and readers learn) gives her a do-over if she’s killed (a second deus ex machina!), Vega Jane comes away with a win…not to mention an engagement ring to go with the magic one that makes her invisible and a new dog, just like the one that died heroically. Measuring up to the plot’s low bar, the narrative too reads like low-grade fanfic, being laden with references to past events, characters who only supposedly died, and such lines as “a spurt of blood shot out from my forehead,” “they started falling at a rapid number,” and “[h]is statement struck me on a number of levels.”

Awful on a number of levels—but tidily over at last. (glossary) (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-26393-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

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