Wolf Interval by Chrysoula Tzavelas – A Review

Wolf-Interval-Front-L-605x910 Wolf Interval
Chrysoula Tzavelas
Candlemark & Gleam (October 2014)
young adult/urban fantasy

Wolf Interval, the third book in Chrysoula Tzavelas’ Senyaza series, is coming out this month. I was lucky enough to get an ARC so I could share my thoughts about it with you. (And I will be honest here–the author and I are friends on Twitter; I don’t think that colored my review, but I want to get that out there.)

First thing to point out: isn’t that cover cool? Sean Dietrich did the artwork. I really dig AT, our protagonist for this volume, appearing as if she’s coming out of the wolf at the bottom.

Yes, that’s right. Another Senyaza book, another main character to follow. In Matchbox Girls, we met Marley, Research Girl with some serious magical skills; in Infinity Key, we meet Branwyn Lennox, the Action Girl who learns to work with her humanity. Wolf Interval brings us face to face with AT, a woman with a monstrous father who is afraid that she, too, is a monster. We’ve met her before, originally in the first Senyaza book, Matchbox Girls. She’s a figure of mystery in that book, a powerful young woman with a trio of magical dogs working with Corbin and eventually fighting with Marley and her crew. She leaves the story, severely wounded and in the arms of a kaiju who claims to be taking her to her father. Not necessarily a good thing!

We meet AT again in Infinity Key when Branwyn pays a short visit to her father’s creepy hunting lodge

I was excited that AT was going to have her own book, but I have to confess I found Wolf Interval a tougher read than the first two Senyaza tales. Mainly, because AT is not the most likeable character. She’s depressed, angry, and just not a joy to be around, even to the folks she’s hanging out with. It took me a while to realize that her being likeable to me was not the author’s point. This is a young woman who has suffered a lot of abuse and has returned to the home of her abuser. She’s got more on her mind besides what people think of her, including the folks she finds herself adventuring with. Of course, that doesn’t stop them from telling her what they think of her.

It’s a spooky kind of adventure. AT has to find the Horn of the Wild Hunt before Hallowe’en. If she doesn’t, the Wild Hunt–a mystical group that seeks out and destroys the corrupted souls of the deceased–will go after any souls, even those of the living.

Wolf Interval is a multi-layered quest novel, different from the first two Senyaza books, in that the protagonist isn’t new to this world of magic Tzavelas has built. This is her world, and yet, she is just as lost and learning as Marley and Branwyn were in their volumes, maybe moreso, as she’s the more wounded of the three.

As usual, Tzavelas’s writing is good, she keeps the story moving, and the reader turning pages. Some of her prose is gorgeous. My main complaint, as it was with Infinity Key, is that the catching-up from the last book feels a little info-dumpy in spots. Hard to avoid, I’m sure. (I haven’t finished writing a series yet; who am I to talk?) I also found AT’s voice (she’s the narrator) a little clunky in places compared to Branwyn’s in Infinity Key. But as I said, she grew on me. Another thing I like about the book is, well, look at the cover again. AT isn’t the standard white teenaged hero. That makes me very happy.

Notes to self:

  • googling the title was very informative. I’d forgotten what a wolf interval is. It really resonates with the story.
  • next time I get a cat (if that ever happens), I’m naming it “Grimwhiskers.” Best critter name ever.
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Monday Afternoon Music

And another Monday morning has zoomed by me. But it’s still Monday. And! It’s the first Monday of October, which means it’s time to start posting Hallowe’en videos! Continue reading

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Monday Morning Music

Sorry to not have anything musical for you last week. Crazy busy weekend with Monday as recovery day.

And now another Monday has arrived. I decided to go back in the stacks for this one: an old prog rock tune from that odd little band, Klaatu. Here’s “Long Live Politzania.”

Why this song, you ask? Ah, well, I play Nation States and got to name my capital city this morning. So, there you go.

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Monday Afternoon Music

Sorry for the delay getting music to you this Monday. It’s been a busy one. Plus I couldn’t make up my mind which song I wanted to share today. I finally decided to go with something by Club d’Elf.

Continue reading

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9/11 Thoughts

This is a thing I wrote about 9/11 in 2011 over in the journal world in which I live. Seemed worth updating and posting over here. Continue reading

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Monday Morning Music

I reviewed Lydia Millet’s Pills and Starships last week. One of the things I liked about the book is that music is important to the protagonist Nat. Brain Eno, in particular, is one of her favorites. Continue reading

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Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet – A Review

Pills & Starships Pills and Starships
Lydia Millet
256 pages, Black Sheep (June 2014)
science fiction/young adult

I received a paperback copy of Lydia Millet’s Pills and Starships as a LibraryThing Early Reviewer. The cover caught my interest when it appeared on the list of giveaways and I was pleased that I won a copy. Continue reading

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Monday Morning Music – Happy Labor Day!

It’s another Labor Day here in the U.S. The workers actually had a bit of a victory in Massachusetts recently with the whole Market Basket thing. Nice to see working folks (employees and customers, in this case!) using their power to defeat corporate interests. We’ll see what comes of it. Having followed the case for a lot of the summer, and getting more of the local point of view than the business propaganda the national news presented, I’m somewhat hopeful. Continue reading

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Monday Morning Music

Apparently, all I’m in the mood to listen to today is Jay Farrar melt his notes together the way he does. Love his voice. Here’s an old one from Son Volt when they performed on Austin City Limits back in 1996. Check out “Catching On.”

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Accessing the Future Blog Hop

The Future Fire is crowdfunding another science fiction anthology! The theme this time concerns the issues that come with disability as well as how those intersect with other issues such as race, gender, sexuality, and class. Sounds pretty cool, huh? Well, to help spread the word, Future Fire has a blog hop going for writers and readers to talk about their work in progress or their current read and how power plays out therein. Future Fire general editor Djibril al-Ayad invited me to chime in and I quickly agreed. Continue reading

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