The Wolf’s Curse by Jessica Vitalis
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publishing Date: September 21, 2021
Content Warnings: Grief, death
“The path ahead isn’t easy. It will be filled with darkness and despair, and you will almost certainly regret your decision, just as I regret mine.” ~Narrator, The Wolf’s Curse
Twelve-year-old Gauge’s life has been cursed since the day he witnessed a Great White Wolf steal his grandpapá’s soul, preventing it from reaching the Sea-in-the-Sky and sailing into eternity. When the superstitious residents of Bouge-by-the-Sea accuse the boy of crying wolf, he joins forces with another orphan to prove his innocence. They navigate their shared grief in a journey that ultimately reveals life-changing truths about the wolf––and death. Narrated in a voice reminiscent of The Book Thief and Lemony Snicket, this fast-paced adventure is perfect for fans of literary fiction fantasy such as A Wish in the Dark and The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
About the Author:
JESSICA VITALIS is a Columbia MBA-wielding writer. After leaving home at 16, Vitalis explored several careers before turning her talents to middle grade literature. She brings her experience growing up in a nontraditional childhood to her stories, exploring themes such as death and grief, domestic violence, and socio-economic disparities. With a mission to write entertaining and thought-provoking literature, she often includes magic and fantastical settings. As an active volunteer in the kidlit community, she’s also passionate about using her privilege to lift up other voices. In addition to volunteering with We Need Diverse Books and Pitch Wars, she founded Magic in the Middle, a series of free monthly recorded book talks, to help educators introduce young readers to new stories. She was recently named a 2021 Canada Council of the Arts Grant Recipient. An American expat, she now lives in Canada with her husband and two precocious daughters. She loves traveling, sailing and scuba diving, but when she’s at home, she can usually be found reading a book or changing the batteries in her heated socks.
First off I want to say a big thank you to TBR Tours & Beyond for giving me a spot on the tour and to the Publishers and Jessica Vitalis for sending me an arc via Netgalley.
This review will always be spoiler free so I need to be careful on how I review this book as not to give anything away. What I can tell you that this book is a genius retelling of the boy who cried wolf and this is the reason that made me sign up. From the very start I loved that the narrator was someone you would least expect. I did like Gauge and Roux and thought them very strong as characters but found the Lord Mayor Vulpine very very annoying I actually wish that they were not featured at all. Apart from that I found the world building and the plot engaging as it discussed the topic of grief and how each individual copes with their loss. It shows the importance of having people who you love around you so that you can heal and be stronger. One question I am left with is who was the wolf before. We do see a little of the past but I would like to know more of their backstory and also what the mother wolf is like and what the forever woods entailed as they sound so mystical. I'm hoping that one day my questions will be answered. For all these reasons I am giving The Wolf's Curse 4 stars and can't wait to see what Jessica will write about next.