Wolf Interval by Chrysoula Tzavelas – A Review

Wolf-Interval-Front-L-605x910 Wolf Interval
Chrysoula Tzavelas
Candlemark & Gleam (October 2014)
young adult/urban fantasy
4.25/5

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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