This time last year, I reviewed the first tome in Curtis Jobling's Wereworld series, called Rise of the Wolf, a review that you can read here. I also took part in the blog tour for the book which involved a work of art created by a combined group of bloggers (including me), which is also well worth a look/giggle (here) !
When I was invited to join in on the blog tour of Curtis' latest book, Wereworld : Shadow of the Hawk, I assumed that this was the sequel but it's actually the third book in the seies. The second book, Wereworld : Rage of Lions, totally passed me by somehow ! Although I soon picked up the thread of what had happened in Book 2, I did feel that I was lacking some of the background information and found it hard to keep track of who was who and who was friend or foe to the central character of Drew at the beginning.
For about the first third of the book, it was therefore a bit tough going but I really started enjoying it again from about the halfway mark, because I had got back into the swing of Lyssia's politics and the exploits and adventures of the different Werelords.
I felt that the Wereworld books had undergone a bit of a Merlin-esque transformation, like the TV series, in that whereas the first series of Merlin was on at a kid-friendly hour and was only vaguely scary, the latest series was on much later and was far too scary for family viewing with young children. Similarly, while the original Wereworld book did have a few slightly scary and violent scenes, I did feel that this book was much more graphic and gory, especially for a kids' book. The target audience of 11+ boys probably would take it all in their stride but be warned for slightly younger readers who tackle books recommended for older readers, they might find it all a bit too much.
That's not the only Merlin connection though. The transformation of Drew from rough-around-the-edges farmer's boy to experienced, noble, future king reminds me of the King Arthur tale too. Drew's morals have never been at fault but his loyalty and keen sense of right and wrong become more evident as the adventure progresses. When Drew berates a king for his policy of using slavery and is taken seriously, we can see how far he has come from his rustic roots. I'm looking forward to seeing how he continues to evolve in the next book.
I find the atmosphere and epic adventure writing style of the Wereworld series to be more and more Tolkienesque the more I read. I could see this whole series being made into a film or TV series (maybe this is Curtis' TV background coming through in his writing ?) and I think it's great to find a book series that will appeal (predominantly but not exclusively) to male teens, traditionally a group that often avoids reading.
star rating : 4/5 (but I'm sure it would have got more if I hadn't missed an episode !)
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Puffin (5 Jan 2012)
RRP : £6.99
Other reviews you may be interested in :