I promised at least three reviews of books by fellow independent authors, and this would be the third. I’ve owned a copy of Adam Dreece’s Along Came A Wolf for nearly as long as I’ve owned my Kindle, and based on (finally!) finishing the first book recently, I’ve ordered both it and its sequel in print form. As I’ve said repeatedly, print books sit on my unread shelf and stare at me until I get them read. My Kindle can’t do that, so print books always get read faster.
Dreece calls Along Came A Wolf and its sequels “Emergent Steampunk” (Breadcrumb Trail is available now at the same link above, and the third volume, All the King’s Men, is forthcoming,) which is an interesting choice, because I suspect most people aren’t going to know what the hell an emergent steampunk is until after they’ve read the book. The idea is this: technology is pretty highly variable depending on where you are and what you’re trying to do in Dreece’s world, but the world is almost at a point where steampunk-style technology is becoming available. One of the main characters in the book is an inventor, and there are hints everywhere that the things he’s working on are going to change the world.
Wolf is also YA, but it’s the kind of YA that adults won’t have any problems with, other than a few little references here and there that kids might not pick up on and grown-ups at least ought to, like the fact that the book is called Along Came a Wolf and the villain is named LeLoup. Or the Cochon brothers. (I’m not sure what part of Canada Dreece resides in, but I’m guessing it’s one of the Frenchier sections. EDIT: Calgary. Is that Frenchy? I don’t know Canada.) The inventor character I alluded to earlier is, in Dreece’s own words, a combination of Santa Claus and Nikola Tesla, which somehow works out super awesome.
I haven’t actually mentioned the titular Yellow Hoods. The three characters that make up this… group? Club? Organization? are Tee, a twelve-year-old girl who is the book’s main character, and her friends Elly and Richy. Elly and Richy aren’t nearly as well-drawn as Tee is, but watching the trio work together to solve their problems is fun. I won’t spoil the plot (Bad happens! They try and fix it!) but it’s a genuinely fun adventure and, well, like I said, I paid for it twice and have already bought the sequel.
One unfortunate criticism: the book does have some minor editing issues here and there, mostly coming in the form of slightly misused serial commas. (EDIT: See here.) If you’re not a grammar purist it’s not something that’s going to bother you, and Dreece’s writing itself is of high quality, but… former Language Arts teacher. I’m a grammar purist. 🙂
A final note: I want to steal Dreece’s cover artist from him. I know the books have been through at least a couple of cover changes (the cover image on my version of the book is not the same as the one above) and the character work on his current set of covers is fantastic. Chain this person to a table so that he or she can’t get away. This is great work.