Despite a couple of issues with the plot and climax, I enjoyed this book. It is one of the first historical fantasy books I have read and I wasn’t disappointed! Some of the characters were memorable, especially Mina and her animal friends, and the world-building and writing were great! This is a great read for anyone who loves historical fantasy or wants something a bit different to read. Although it can stand on its own, it is only the first book in The Naturalist Series. I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, so here it goes….
The Warlock and the Wolf has a great, interesting plot that kept me engaged in the book from the very first page. The story takes place in 1647 Holland, in a time where people don’t believe in magic or witches anymore, though there are still some who take it upon themselves to hunt them down.
Mina is a scientist and doesn’t believe in God or anything magical, nothing that doesn’t have evidence. Things change a lot for her when she receives an ability that allows her to communicate with animals. She is able to overcome her disbelief in magic in order to use her ability to find her parent’s killer, rumored to be a Warlock, after he escapes from prison. He is apparently up to something, so it is up to Mina with the help of a few of her friends to find out and stop him before it is too late.
The pacing of the story was spot on! There were no parts throughout the book in which I became disinterested in the story because the author did a fantastic job blending the information we needed to know into conversations or informative, but brief paragraphs.
I enjoyed not knowing how the story was going to end! I hate it when I can predict the endings because that just makes reading the book a bit boring. The ending was decent although the climax wasn’t as spectacular as I was hoping for. The confrontation between Mina and Gregor (the Warlock) was just a bit disappointing and too easy for how powerful he was said to be.
Besides the climax, there were a couple of other things that bothered me about the plot. There didn’t appear to be a clear reason given for Basa (the wolf Mina befriends) to help her as much as he did. I mean Basa even says he only talks to his own kind and is looking for a pack of his own. I’m guessing he just thought that she was interesting and after spending more and more time together he starts to care for her, but I’m not sure.
The other issue with the plot was with Gregor. He is up to some evil scheme, but its not really explained well why he is doing it, nor do we really get to see him in all his glory. He is said to be extremely powerful, but other than a few spells we don’t really get to see that.
Other than the couple of issues with the plot, I did enjoyed the story, but these were rather large issues with the plot and just can’t be ignored. I am at least glad that it wrapped up nicely so I’m not eager to read book two; however, I enjoyed the book enough that I would love to read the next book in the series and see what becomes of Mina on her travels.
Since the story takes place in Holland, there isn’t too much world building to be done. We just need to have a clear sense of the place and time.
The level of detail was decent and I could get a sense of the period in which Mina lived. Hangings were the preferred form of punishment and people traveled by carriage. Detailed descriptions of buildings were also given. I suppose I wouldn’t have minded even more detail just because I have never been to Holland, so it is a bit harder to picture than it would be for those who live there. However, there was enough given to provide a reasonably clear picture of the setting.
I loved Mina’s character and thought she was really well developed! There was a lot we find out about her in such a short novel, and I instantly made a connection with her because she has such a profound love of animals. She also doesn’t believe in anything without hard evidence, so it takes awhile for her to be come accustomed to her gift, as well as magic. Mina has such a great head-strong personality, is great at sketching and tracking, and tends not to listen to others. Even though it is unheard of for a woman to have a job, she is determined to be a scientist and doesn’t want anything to do with getting married and having kids. I thoroughly enjoyed her determination and hard work. She is not without her flaws either! Not listening got her in trouble quite a few times as did her love for animals. Even her ability was partly a curse since others believe her to be a witch.
The other character I really enjoyed was the cat, Flop. Once Mina is able to understand animals, Flop has such a great personality! He is exactly how I would picture a cat to behave and think. I tended to compare him quite a few times to my own cat because I knew that is exactly what Sherlock (my cat) would have said! He calls himself Maximus. 🙂 I wish he had a lot more of a presence in the book than he did.
Basa, the Wolf, was decent, but not my favorite. He did have a bit of a personality, but nothing compared to Flop. As I previously mentioned, Basa never gave any reason as to why he was such a great friend and protector of Mina.
On her adventure, Mina encounters other animals including birds, geese, and even a chipmunk. They all had great personalities, especially the chipmunk and the geese. Loved all of them!
Gregor wasn’t actually in the book enough to really get to know him. He is quite mysterious, and there was no evidence to show how powerful and evil everyone says he is. He can do a few shape changing and binding spells and such but nothing BIG! I wish he had more of a presence in the book. Apparently, he wanted to show everyone how powerful he was, so he was going to summon a demon from the underworld, but that didn’t turn out well. He was rather bland for a villain.
There were quite a few other characters, but only Adam (a priest) had a good personality and was developed. All the other characters just sort of blended together and I had a hard time distinguishing between them.
I absolutely loved the writing of the book! I have no complaints! It was easy to understand, flowed nicely, and their weren’t any typos or editing issues that I noticed that would distract from storytelling.
The cover of the book is also spectacular! The illustration is great, it’s eye catching, and fits the book perfectly! I also liked the title, but it should probably have been something a bit different since the Warlock just didn’t play a big part in the novel.