Action-packed tale of teens in a futuristic world, Savarna Yang
September 28, 2021
“I want to cry. I want to scream.
But I won’t. I can’t. If I fall apart now, then we might as well be dead.”
This is not the first, and definitely not the last, of many life-and-death situations in Black Wolf by Eileen Merriman. Action-packed from beginning to end, prepare yourself for a gripping, and sometimes terrifying story of a futuristic world on the brink of destruction.
Phoenix and Violet are prisoners at the Foundation: a scientific research centre. But this ‘research’ is constructed around tests run on humans – teens that are somehow evolving to gain powers. These teens can now ‘think-talk’ and switch between normal human forms to animal alter-egos.
After Phoenix caused the death of Violet’s boyfriend Ethan (Violet Black, Book 1 in the Black Spiral Trilogy) she won’t speak to him and he feels as if he’s going crazy from guilt. The Foundation continues to monitor and control their every move and there’s never any chance, or hope, of escape. Until Phoenix and Violet realise that it’s either make a desperate run for freedom, or die. They must heal their rift and forget their differences or they won’t make it. Will everything fall to pieces?
Hooked from the start, this was a question I found myself asking very often throughout my read of Black Wolf. Or actually, I was probably more like when will it fall to pieces? Merriman takes you on a rollercoaster ride with climate change, science and romance all playing their part.
The book is told from the two perspectives of Phoenix and Violet. Sometimes I find switching between characters confusing, and a block to the flow of the story, but Merriman does this flawlessly. In fact, the different viewpoints just complemented each other, making it easier to get to know the characters.
The character list at the start of the book was also helpful – not just for explaining who’s who, but also a sort of mini taster for what’s coming and what’s happened.
If you’ve ever read (and enjoyed) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, I recommend keeping a look out for Black Wolf! They are quite similar in the way that they are both set on an alternate Earth and have something (or someone) trying to take away the freedom of the main characters, although Black Wolf definitely feels more dystopian than sci-fi.
My only complaint was that sometimes I just found the storyline too predictable. For instance, a certain thing would be repeated or the characters would stress a point a few times and I’d think oh, this is going to end up happening. And then it would.
But other than that Black Wolf was an engrossing story with interesting characters and a fast-paced and dynamic plot. For anyone 14+, who enjoys a lot of drama!
- Savarna Yang lives in rural Dunedin.