For the past six months, something has been happening to young people in Santa Feliz. Week after week, there’s news of another teen changing shape, transforming from human to wild animal and back again. The federal government has stepped in, running public service announcements calling for affected youth to turn themselves in for “orientation and training.”
Josh Saunders has seen the news reports, but he is still unprepared when it happens to him. One minute he’s arguing with his mother’s boyfriend and the next, he is looming over the man, blood dripping from his claws—he has transformed into a mountain lion. When he switches back to his human body, he knows his life has changed forever. He has become a Wildling.
Trusting only his best friends Des and Marina with his secret, Josh tries to return to regular living. But an encounter with Elzie, another Wildling, brings him unwanted attention from the authorities. And when an accidental betrayal reveals Josh’s secret, his carefully constructed cover is ripped apart, forcing his friends to intervene. They must grudgingly put their trust in others, including other Wildlings—and, most challenging, in each other—if they ever hope to save him.
This was an exciting and fast paced start to a series. The story is told through multiple points-of-view which worked well. This allowed the story to become more developed as the reader was able to see things from multiple perspectives and get a very well-rounded and complete picture of everything that was happening. Each voice used was distinct and easy to differentiate from the others.
I found there to be quite a few politics hidden in the story, but nothing stood out. The way everything was subtly woven into the story reminded me of Cory Doctorow, another YA author.
The characters seemed realistic and likable. I especially liked Chaingang. He seemed like a bad guy teddy bear. Misunderstood and seen as something other than what he is.
Overall, this was a great start to the series. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Challenges read for:
The Canadian Book Challenge 5
Speculative Fiction Challenge 2012