Ruth Emmie Lang’s first novel is one that every first time novelist should envy. As an English teacher, I can assure you that Lang’s use of imagery, allusion, parallelism and her overall prose is absolutely intoxicating. I’ll probably be quoting this book for a while!
To say that this is a novel about a boy who was raised by wolves would be like saying The Great Gatsby is about a bootlegger—accurate but not at all the whole picture. Weylyn Grey’s parents died when he was six, and for about four years, he lived with a wolf pack. Even had that not been the case, Weylyn would likely have remained an outsider because he’s a little bit magical. He can communicate with animals and his emotions control the weather.
The story is mostly told from the point of view of people who have encountered Weylyn in key periods of his life, and from their perspectives we can see how this outsider has changed so many lives.
This was an undeniably beautiful novel, but I had a surprisingly hard time rating it. You see, I fell for this book pretty hard from the start, and by the end of the first hundred pages, I was sure it would be my new most favorite of all time. However, after 200 more pages, I felt (probably unfairly) that it was a little repetitive. It’s divided into six sections, and in each section, Weylyn meets someone new and they think he’s weird only to eventually accept him as the magically unique person who changed his/her life. Don’t get me wrong, every character he met was unique and well-developed, but I was hoping for an antagonist—for the Javert to his Jean Valjean.
I know, I know…comparing this to one of the best novels ever written isn’t fair, and Weylyn is technically his own antagonist.
Lang has created a work of art with this novel, but because art is subjective, I can’t give it more than 4.5/5 stars. Now to wait for her next great novel.