Ice Wolves by Amie Kaufman
Elementals book 1. Harper, 2018. ISBN 9781460755273
(Age: 10-14) Recommended. Anders and his sister Rayna are orphans who survive on the streets of Holbard. They live by their wits stealing and scheming together, with Rayna being the planner and organiser of the pair. They are inseparable twins who imagine their life will always include each other. Both children keep their distance from the Ice Wolf patrols who ensure the city is safe from its sworn enemies, the evil Scorch Dragons.
"The Trial of Staff" is a gathering that selects the next 12 year olds destined to become the new generation of shape shifting Ice Wolves. By holding the staff, the chosen children will transform into an Ice Wolf, join the Ulfar Academy and train to fight the Scorch Dragons.
The twins attend the busy congregation to pick the pockets of the many attendees but fatefully both children touch the staff. Anders takes on the form of an Ice Wolf but his twin Rayna shape shifts into a Scorch Dragon and after being attacked, flies away with other hovering dragons.
Anders realises he must train at the Academy to secretly discover how he can reunite with his sister, who he still loves and misses. The wolf pack demand loyalty above all else and Anders soon finds he is torn between betrayal of his own pack and the love for his twin sister.
Ice Wolvesis obviously the first in a series as the book ends with an exciting cliff hanger.
Amie Kaufman has created a fascinating fantasy world that investigates different perspectives of good and bad.
Most of the book concentrates on Anders as he strives to find his sister and rescue her. It is only at the end of the novel that his long-held truths are questioned.
Amie Kaufman is a New York Times award winning Young Adult author. Ice Wolves is her first solo fantasy novel aimed for a younger audience. I recommend this book to fantasy readers from 10 - 14 years old.
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