Monday, May 7, 2012

A Review: Servant to the Wolf

I love the way Sue Wentz writes.
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I first read her work on her blog and found the wording warm and heartfelt. When she published a romantic short story called  Cassidy Creek Bridge, her use of language seduced me as much as the story. Servant to the Wolf is a young adult novel, and something else Sue does well.
Servant to the Wolf is an intriguing title for a captivating story set in ancient Rome. The Wolf, or Lupus, is a former slave who takes pity on a young man discarded by his owner after a severe injury. Full of resentment, Marcus lands in a very different world, where he has more to learn than a new vocation. He yearns for  the pampered lifestyle provided by his former master, even as Lupus tries to teach him to value his new way of living. As Marcus struggles with Lupus, he also fights an internal battle to decide what kind of man he wants to become.
As I read Servant to the Wolf, I was finishing another novel. I realized Sue's book drew me in more than the murder mystery by a best-selling author. I think it is the memorable cast of characters. They stay with you long after the tale has ended.  Sue Wentz has built her characters to
Servant to the Wolf
have the depth of true humans and a range of qualities and flaws to match. She made me care about what happened to them.
Reading Servant to the Wolf was pure pleasure. The details of the ancient Roman setting were just enough to capture your interest, without turning the book into a history lesson. The plot itself is simple, yet compelling. It kept me turning the pages, or clicking the Kindle, to find out what happened next. Descriptions of the settings create the desired ambiance and are done quite subtly. Marcus embodies us all in his exploration of who and what he will value. His is a difficult coming of age, but minus the little slavery thing, we all make the same choices. Whether the reader is a young adult facing the barrage of media, parental advice, and peer pressure, or someone who has already been through the meat-grinder of his teenage years, he or she will find the story fun and insightful.
Everyone will enjoy Servant to the Wolf. It's just dog-gone good writing.

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