‘The Wolfstone Curse’ is an action-packed thriller of horror and adventure where teenager Peter, visits the remote village of Wolfstone with his archaeologist father, Professor Crichton, who is due to be carrying out his work at the ancient Wolfstone Circle in the Cotswolds. As a teenager, in a very isolated place, Peter becomes bored and goes to explore the surrounding area, in particular the Wolfstone Manor. As the story unfolds Peter discovers the existence of werewolves and the curse that is placed upon them.
The story begins with a diary entry, dating from the Second World War, by a soldier who has just been briefed on the Nazi experiments taking place at Castle Wolfenburg. His group of commandos are sent to attack the genetically engineered SS Wolfen soldiers to prevent these experiments from taking place. There is no holding back with Justin Richards as the reader enters the story at the very beginning with plenty of action taking place. The reader is gripped from the first page!
I love the historical element of the story as the reader has insights to generations before in order to learn of the origins of the Wolfstone Circle and Manor. This in itself gives the story a great deal of depth, enabling the reader to have a great deal of background knowledge and to see the full picture and the development of the werewolves and their curse.
Whilst in Wolfstone Peter and his father are staying at The Red Fleece, a seventeenth century inn that is run by Faye Seymour, with the help of her teenage daughter, Carys. As events take place and Peter talks to them about what he has seen the reader becomes aware that Carys and her mum are not oblivious of the village life. As Peter becomes more curious and decides to explore further, Carys assists him and their relationship grows as they rely on each other during the dark and horrific times.
Peter and Carys are great, strong characters. Even when frightened they handle situations well. Although the book began with Peter, and it appeared that he alone was the hero and focus of the story, I feel that over time Carys’ character opened up and was equally as heroic as Peter. Carys seemed to be very determined to get to the bottom of the Wolfstone mystery, when Peter begun having doubts when events took a turn for the worse, and yet there were times that this led them into even more danger. However, Peter worked well with Carys and on several occasions helped her out of trouble.These two characters really compliment each other and both take on the lead roles, making them great heroes for both genders.
This action-packed adventure takes us across Europe as the characters discover a similar stone circle in Vrolask, Russia. Is there a connection between Vrolask and Wolfstone?
The way in which Richards describes Wolfstone Manor, the wolves and their actions is absolutely brilliant. These descriptions make it a fast-paced and very visual story and it is accompanied with plenty of dialogue from the characters. The reader grasps the characters and the story very easily due to this style of writing, enabling the reader to connect very quickly with the characters.
Justin’s description of some of the scenes is fantastic. His use of onomatopoeia, with words such as, smash, snap and crunch and the context in which they are used allow the reader to really get a feel for the horror and gore. There are great descriptions of the transformations, blood, gore and bones. And yet written so brilliantly in a way that is suitable for its young target audience. Short, sharp, punchy sentences are also used to emphasize the actions and their speed, which in turn helps the reader to play out the scenes in their mind. This also helps to connect with the characters and easily helps the reader to visualise the characters and their actions. Thus, making it a more exciting read for the reader. It never loses momentum from start to finish, despite being around 430 pages.
I feel that this book is suitable and will intrigue readers from the age of 12 onwards. When reading ‘The Wolfstone Curse’ I experienced feelings that I had as a child when reading Enid Blyton’s Famous Five novels – there is this great mix of young people, mystery and curiousity that creates an eeriness. (However, ‘The Wolstone Curse’ has a more modern twist and a darker and eerier entity.) For example, when Peter checks out Wolfstone Manor it is an eery, dark and mysterious ruin in a very remote area. He and the reader knows he shouldn’t be there so he and the reader are afraid and yet far too curious to leave the story there and so Peter and the reader alike continue to delve into the unknown!. As the story moves on it becomes even more darker and horrific with the introduction of the wolves!
I say that Justin Richards’ ‘The Wolfstone Curse’ is a must-read for any reader that enjoys mystery, action/adventure and paranormal fantasy novels that are fast-paced with great heroic characters as well as fantastic supporting characters. There is never a dull moment. It is a very, very exciting thriller. Roll on July 2013 when ‘The Wolfstone Curse’ will be released and available to the public. You will not be disappointed!!!
‘The Wolfstone Curse’ was received by A Readers Review Blog by Templar Publishing in return for an honest and fair review.
Cover art by the-parish.com
Please check out Justin Richards, the Creative Consultant for BBC Books on the Dr Who titles, author biog and look out for Tina’s review on ‘The Wolfstone Curse’ in the coming weeks with a video exclusive! ‘The Wolfstone Curse’ will be available from July 2013!
Reviewed by Caroline Barker