Luke knows enough just enough about what his father does as a black ops infiltrator to know which questions not to ask. But when his dad goes missing, Luke realizes that life will always be different for him. Suddenly he must avoid the kidnappers looking to use him as leverage against his father, while at the same time evading the attention of the school's mysterious elite clique of Russian hipsters.

This YA novel is even more fun than the cover copy implies, throwing together werewolves, Indian legends, secret evil laboratories, martial arts, and – yes, really – a mysterious elite clique of Russian hipsters. And more. Much more. Despite its everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach, it’s a surprisingly coherent action-adventure with a big helping of comedy.

Given the title and cover, it’s no spoiler to say that Luke is a werewolf. Like Bruchac, the author, he’s also an Abenaki Indian. Between the Indian werewolves and a cool take on vampires, I suspect that Twilight was one of the inspirations for this novel. It’s not a parody, but there are a few winks in that direction. Luke, a bad-ass literature geek with a political bent and a mind crammed full of information, was reminiscent of a Cory Doctorow character, but with the saving grace of being much less smug. I liked him.

The mix of action, new riffs on old myths, and wisecracks would probably appeal a lot to Percy Jackson fans. It appealed a lot to me. There’s some over-explaining and messaginess, and while Meena, the girl Luke crushes on, is a likable character with her own issues, she is structurally just The Girl. And the denuement is a bit rushed. But overall, I liked it a lot. Many of you would probably like it too.

This is one of the debut titles of Tu Publishing, an imprint of Lee and Low and the only mainstream YA imprint I know of in America dedicated to publishing multicultural sf and fantasy. They’re off to a good start.

Wolf Mark

Meet Joseph Bruchac: poet, novelist, storyteller, musician, nuclear physicist, race car driver
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)

From: [personal profile] sanguinity


:: Between the Indian werewolves and a cool take on vampires, I suspect that Twilight was one of the inspirations for this novel. ::

I'm tempted to throw in Cynthia Leitich Smith's Blessed series here? Her werewolves aren't aren't explicitly Native (Wereness is orthogonal-ish to ethnicity), but there's stuff she does with how her characters' Were identites are constructed, both internally and with respect to default non-Were identites, that to my eye borrows a page or thirty from how Native identities are constructed.

From: [identity profile] sovay.livejournal.com


Between the Indian werewolves and a cool take on vampires, I suspect that Twilight was one of the inspirations for this novel.

If the results were a good book? More power to the author.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


It was! It was kind of like Little Brother: Only Actually Good This Time meets Twilight: The Version Where the Indian Werewolves are the Heroes and the Vampires are Snarky Rather than Sparkly.

From: [identity profile] coraa.livejournal.com


I have this on my bookshelf! And this review has bumped it up a few notches in the queue. Thank you!

From: [identity profile] lnhammer.livejournal.com


I was already interested in checking out Tu's first books. Given the Russian hipsters, I definitely need to read it.

---L.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


The Russian hipsters get quite a lot of character development, though more as a group than individually. I loved them.

Bruchac's author note at the end says that the book was a very personal project for him and that he wanted to take aspects of his heritage - Indian and Russian - which are often stereotyped, and show how cool and interesting they really are.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com


Yay, Tu Publishing is publishing Joe Bruchac! Wait till I tell my dad. He'll be all, "You have such knowledge of The Industry," and I'll preen.

He is a cool guy, isn't he!


From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


He seems super-cool. I'd love to meet him some day. I hear he's a fantastic storyteller.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com


Well you'll have to come east and hang with my dad! (Actually, I don't know the last time my dad met up with him, but they're friends)

From: [identity profile] fadethecat.livejournal.com


Huh! I had pretty much sworn off werewolf-and-vampire books, but I think this one is going on my library list. I want to read about elite Russian hipster vampires being snarky.
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From: [personal profile] matt_doyle


This sounds pretty excellent. On teh list it goes! thanks for the review.
.

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