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I Belong

Review: Black Wolves by Kate Elliott

Black WolvesTitle: Black Wolves

Author: Kate Elliott

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Black Wolves (Book #1)

Publication Date: November 3, 2015

Format: Paperback, 780 Pages

ISBN-10: 0316368695 (Orbit)

ISBN-13: 978-0316368698 (Orbit)

Reviewed by: Roxanne


Twenty two years have passed since Kellas, once Captain of the legendary Black Wolves, lost his King and with him his honor. With the King murdered and the Black Wolves disbanded, Kellas lives as an exile far from the palace he once guarded with his life.

Until Marshal Dannarah, sister to the dead King, comes to him with a plea-rejoin the palace guard and save her nephew, King Jehosh, before he meets his father’s fate.

Quick & Dirty: Eagles, demons, and an epic game of thrones, will Kellas and Dannarah figure out who killed King Atari before King Jehosh loses his throne?

Opening Sentence: “The whole business stank of rotting fish.”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Dannarah, Kellas, Sarai and Lifka are the four major point of views throughout this novel. Dannarah is a reeve (eagle rider), she used to be the Chief Marshal until her nephew, the King, relieved her. Kellas used to be the Captain of the Black Wolves (the King’s personal unit), he left after he failed to save King Atani. Sarai is a mysterious young girl trying to take her life into her own hands after her mother disgraced the clan by running away (remember this, it becomes clear and important later.) Lifka is a young girl chosen by the eagles with another tie in that is important to remember as well.

The first part of the book is mostly told through Kellas’ perspective and it ties into the second half of the book when they are finally figuring out who killed King Atani and why. Then it jumps 42 years into the future and a good portion of that is told through Dannarah and Sarai, with Lifka coming in as well. The beginning part of this section is a bit rough because you go for from one cast of characters to Dannarah, who is in the front portion, but minor in the scheme of things to full drop down into the middle of what is going on currently. Dannarah is a marshal in the reeves (eagle riders) and she is still haunted by the death of her brother, to the point that she has really ignored the rest of the royal family and immersed herself in the reeves.

King Jehosh is Dannarah’s nephew, and the son of her brother, Atani. He is the ruler of the Hundred, a small kingdom surrounded by the Empire and other larger nations. For most of his reign, 22 years, he has been fighting an unpopular war to the north. When he returns he begins to suspect his wife of moving against his second wife and her children. He asks Dannarah to get Kellas back, so that they can stop what is going on. With Kellas returning will they be able to figure out who murdered King Atani, and what danger King Jehosh is in?

I will say this, I liked the story in the beginning, Kellas’s part was really interesting and kind of enough to invest me in the story. I do admit that when it jumped 42 years in the future and introduced the three other perspectives, I found it hard at times to know if I was in the past, future, or who was telling the story and it made it a little hard for me to keep going. But I pushed through and I am so glad I did because when it all started coming together, everything started making sense. So while it may seem that Sarai and Lifka really have nothing to do with what is going on, you just have to get past the halfway point in the book and bam do the hits just start coming.

This book is a slow burn in the first half and total punch in the face in the last half. Kate Elliott wove a completely subtle and complex tale that has so many pieces it just blows your mind. I really cannot rave about it enough. I loved, loved the second half of Black Wolves and was totally invested, shocked, dismayed and blown the heck away by the end. This is a GRRM level epic and in length too, but the worldbuilding, and the characters makes it all worth while. If high fantasy is your thing, than this book is definitely a need to read. I am seriously a little upset that I have to wait until the end of the year to get my hands on book 2. I guess in the meantime I will check out the other series that is referenced in this book.

Notable Scenes:

“He was sure they were being watched and there was in fact still one youth unaccounted for, but he heard nothing and saw no one except, once, a crow perched on a fallen long in the clearing.”

“Her gaze devoured him, for that was the particular sorcery of cloaked demons.”

“It seemed that the disgraced young malcontent of eight years ago had, without intending to, climbed Law Rock into the very heart of the palace.”

“If only Atani were, here, he would uncover the young man’s entire history of a cup of tea.”

“The demon prised open her mind and exposed her memories like the guts of a slaughtered soldier.”

” For a long time I’ve known I am a demon, bound to the land.”

“Each pillar carved with the same words, the same laws, the same sentiments.”

Black Wolves Trilogy:

1. Black Wolves


FTC Advisory: Orbit/Hachette Book Group provided me with a copy of Black Wolves. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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