Review: Black Wolves by Kate Elliott (Black Wolves #1)


Black Wolves by Kate Elliott // VBC ReviewBlack Wolves (Black Wolves Trilogy #1)
Kate Elliott
Published: Nov. 3, 2015 (Orbit)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Captain Kellas has been one of the most loyal of the Black Wolves. First, under the great King Anjihosh who freed the Hundred from the rule of demons. And later, under Anjihosh’s son King Atani who championed peace and mercy. The day when Kellas fails at his job, resulting in the death of King Atani, he is banished and the Black Wolves are dishonorably disbanded. Some, like the King’s sister Lady Dannarah, believe Kellas may not have been as loyal as he seemed and conspired with demons to kill Atani.

Twenty years later and Atani’s son King Jehosh still sits on the throne. But all too quickly the unrest in the Hundred is coming to a boiling point and threatens the peace set forth years ago by both Anjihosh and Atani. When it becomes apparent that there are those who oppose Jehosh’s rule and mean to usurp him, he tasks his Aunt Dannarah with brining Captain Kellas back to help restore order in the kingdom.

I really loved the structure of Black Wolves. There’s all this build up about what transpires regarding the death of King Atani. It is the central point about which much of the present day conflicts revolve around. It’s that one instance where everything changed, the butterfly effect if you will. Yet Kate Elliott doesn’t just simply tell us what happened that fateful day, we relive it through the memories of those who were there (or should have been there as the case may be). I thought it was an extremely clever way to go about telling the story. I didn’t want to stop reading because I just wanted to find out what really happened. And as the characters go about trying to bring order back to the Kingdom, the events remind them of their actions so long ago, each glimpse at the past providing another layer of information.

Of course, being quite the epic fantasy book, it’s not always easy reading. There are numerous, and I mean numerous, names and places to remember. And you would be sorely mistaken to think that anything is throw-away. Every person who is mentioned or appears briefly has the potential to pop up later with significance. Because of this, I really didn’t mind the repetition we get in terms of mythology about the Hundred. It was needed and I’m glad Kate Elliott obviously understood this too.

I need to mention the two stand-out characters for me: Kellas and Dannarah. To be fair, each main character is striking and unique with qualities I both love and hate, but these two seriously make the book. They are so central to what happened in the past and what will happen in the future. On their own they are intelligent strategists who aren’t easily fooled by people. I loved seeing how they handled their situations. What their ultimate agenda may be.

Since it’s clear this is a trilogy, a lot of things are going to be left hanging. I was all right with where we leave off, but the end did feel like it dragged a little bit. Overall, Black Wolves was a solid read from Kate Elliott. If you’re someone who is unsure about epic fantasy but you’ve always wanted to try it, I think Kate Elliott is a good author to start with.

Sexual content: sex, rape

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