Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Suddenly, the fearsome noise blasted out again. This time it was louder and nearer and unmistakable. It was the howl of a wolf.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: This chapter has all the atmosphere of rollicking derring-do that the finale of Thorn Ogres had, yet this time, there is a far more serious edge to the werling’s defense of their realm. Like the disgrace of Master Gibble, there is a sense of tables turning among werling society – what was once a lifelong shame, consuming the debris of the Silent Grove, now becomes the one thing that could have saved all their lives.
The Nest was right, there is a kind of respect in the Grove, even when it’s burning to ashes. The history of werlingkind lives on, even if the little folk are too blind at present to see that their heritage dwells less within the trees, as within the hearts of young werlings like Finnen, and the wisdom the Grove has imparted to him.
Matt’s Thoughts: The blurb on the back of this book does include a quote by Publisher’s Weekly (talking about the original Thorn Ogres) that says it will be fun for ‘Hobbit-addicts and Potter-philes of all ages’. I’m not sure if I’d let all ages read this one, but there is a sense of the great English fantasy tradition of a final battle in this book. (A Last Battle, even?)
The stakes are high, and no one can stay neutral in this struggle. Watching the werlings send the message that they will not be mucked around with is exhilarating fun. And when their trees are burned, tragic as it is, we know this is what will tip the whole tribe into an act of heroic bravery.