Release Date: November 20th, 2012
Finished Date: October 27th, 2012
Publishers: Spencer Hill Press
Source: For Review
Source: For Review
The Review: Amarok was an intriguing story that was nothing like I had expected when I picked the book up, for some reason I was expecting a werewolf story along the lines of Shiver and whilst yes there was a wolf, who had also been a young man – he wasn’t a werewolf at all. This story is steeped in folklore and the beliefs of its Alaskan ancestors, who believed in Shamans and curses, cursed lands, spirit animals and warrior spirits. This story utilises those into the tale of an evil Shaman from the Ice age who lures people onto his cursed lands and imprisons them in animal forms. Amarok/Tok is one such animal having been enslaved for over a century and forced to do the bidding of the Ryan family line, He is resigned to his fate. He knows that the totem around the latest Ryan man’s neck controls him and keeps him enslaved but he’s also aware that if he were to gain the counterpart of that totem, he would be set free – but again, he is resigned to his fate and holds no hope of ever finding it. That is until Emma crashes her step dad’s car in her misguided escape plan, fleeing one abusive man only to end up in the clutches of something much worse - a sadistic wild man and his wolf – who drags her off across the desolate land, heading towards his secluded cabin. Emma wasn’t afraid to die and let her kidnapper know but she hated the way the man treat the wolf. As the journey took days, she starts to bond with the wolf, renaming him Amarok& showing him the first bit of affection he’d had since he was human. They bond so much so that when they are attacked on their journey and Amarok is mortally injured, Emma takes it upon herself to nurse him better – but, when she finds out the only way to cure him is to go up against the evil Shaman who made him that way, then that’s what this fearless young lady is about to do –there is no way she’s going to give up the only thing in her life that means anything to her, even if it means giving her own life in the process.
I liked the characters; it was easy to empathise with both Emma and Tok/Amarok – Emma because of her home situation and the events that made her feel like she had to act a certain way or carry guilt around with her. It’s hardened her, made her put on a tough outer appearance and took her will to live so that when she is taken, she just deals with it, not particularly caring whether she lives or dies. Tok/Amarok because of his situation, but he’s come to terms with his predicament a long time ago and doesn’t really hold any hope for better. When they come together and bond, it sort of gives them hope, starts to bring out good qualities in each of them – giving them both the will to live, to survive- for each other. In the beginning its Tok/Amarok feeling the need to protect Emma but then Emma in turn feels the need to do the same for him and it’s so sweet and has a sort of innocence about it. They are developing feelings for each other without knowing the bigger picture and it was very endearing.
I really liked the story line, I like mystical folklore tales and how it was blended into this story. It’s also nice to read something a bit different to the norm and left me wondering how many other stories like this are in existence and whether this is based on an actual tale. It’s interesting about the Shaman and his totem collection, I liked that element of the story but I am still left unclear on the why of it, was it just because he was evil? Has he been beaten? I just wasn’t sure and I also felt we should have learned more about ‘weasel tail’ especially when something happened to him. I did like this though and I liked where it seemed to be heading but I felt like it opened up a lot of questions and answered only a few but I suppose that will keep me interested in a sequel. As far as this goes, it was an interesting start, it’s piqued my curiosity and I would like to see where it goes next.