I Am Wolf

I Am Wolf

By Author / Illustrator

Alastair Chisholm

Genre

Science Fiction

Age range(s)

9+

Publisher

Nosy Crow Ltd

ISBN

9781839945311

Format

Paperback / softback

Published

09-05-2024

Synopsis

An outstanding, highly original and unputdownable read! This is a bold, thought-provoking adventure perfect for fans of MORTAL ENGINES and THE LAST WILD.


Coll belongs to Wolf.  He lives with his crew on a Construct, a huge technological "creature" driven by the crew's combined willpower. Together they roam their world, fighting other Constructs and absorbing them into their own.  


But when a new and dangerous Construct attacks them, Coll is thrown clear from Wolf and left behind. Now he must survive life on ground and get back to his crew. He is helped by Rieka, a "Tock" who makes the Constructs work. She promises Coll a way to return, but can she be trusted? And what is she really trying to do...?  When Coll uncovers the truth, it destroys everything he thought he knew about Wolf, the world they live in, and even himself. In a world full of danger, and suddenly without meaning, can he find a way back?



Praise for I Am Wolf:  "I loved every page of this gripping, dystopian thriller. Wonderful characters, thrilling action and a unique new world. Now I wish I had my own animal construct!" Kieran Larwood, author of Podkin One Ear.  "I wolfed this down... Great MG sci-fi."Darren Simpson, author of Scavengers.

Reviews

Beverley

Coll is a member of the Wolf crew. His home is a giant mechanical Construct of a wolf, which fights other animal shaped Constructs for territory. There is no friendship between crews, only fierce rivalry. Coll's life changes dramatically when, during a battle with another Construct, he is thrown from wolf and left stranded with his fellow crew members, Rieka and Fillan. Coll is determined to find his way back to the only home he has ever known, but he must face many dangers to achieve his goal.


I absolutely loved I Am Wolf and was immediately drawn in to Coll's dystopian world. Crews scavenge for materials to build their Constructs, but especially need a material called Anthryl, which brings their creations to life and allows them to move around; a fascinating concept. Coll himself is a true hero, brave and clever and loyal to his crew. He has a prosthetic arm and leg, which would normally preclude him from being a member of a Construct crew, as weakness, difference or sickness are not allowed on board. However, Alpha, Wolf's commander, is Coll's mother, and although they have a distant relationship, her protection allows him to stay on board. Other crew members treat him differently, calling him "Faulty", and Coll constantly feels the need to prove that he is worthy of his place on Wolf.


Rieka is brilliantly clever, she is part of the 'Tock' team on board Wolf and can create and mend anything. Fillan is not a true Wolf - he belonged to the Boar Construct but was forced to leave when he and his family became sick. Now alone, Fillan is rescued by Coll, and is taken on board Wolf. As a result, he has a strong attachment to Coll, seeing him as a replacement for his lost family. As the three children start to search for Wolf, they are joined by Brann, a girl from the Raven Construct. Her whole crew has been taken by the fierce and powerful Dragon Construct, and she is determined to find them.


At its heart, this is a story about finding your identity. At the start of the novel, Coll can only see himself as Wolf and nothing else. It is what he has always been taught to be. But after meeting the Beetles, Namir and Dolen, he starts to think differently. Namir tells him that he could actually be "…something that no one has ever seen before".  After years of believing that other Constructs are enemies, Coll finds himself working with Fillan, who was a Boar, and Brann, who was a Raven. By pooling their resources and working as a team, they find themselves much stronger than they ever were individually.


Coll, Fillan, Rieka and Brann journey through a world which seems to be broken and damaged, but the author does not tell us what has happened in the past to create this scenario. We also do not know how Coll came to be born as he was, or who his father was. As this is book one of a trilogy, I would imagine that we will learn more as the story progresses.  This part of Coll's story is brought to an interesting and satisfying conclusion, and I am really looking forward to finding out what happens next to Coll and his crew. Highly recommended.


240 pages / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian.

Suggested Reading Age 9+

Jacqueline

Coll lives in Wolf, one of several Constructs, technological creatures, that control the lands and fight each other for territory. Coll is a bit different from the other people on Wolf as he has a prosthetic arm and leg. He feels he is only there because Alpha, who leads Wolf, is his mother. One day, Coll ends up stranded, left behind accidentally by Wolf, and he will do anything to return to the only home he knows. Will he ever find Wolf again and even if he does, will they take him back?


I have no idea why I haven't read any other Alastair Chisholm books before, as I Am Wolf is exactly the sort of book I enjoy; I thought it was excellent. I was particularly pleased to see it is the first part of a trilogy, so more to come! I have always enjoyed science fiction, and this fits the bill perfectly, with echoes of Mortal Engines (cities that move around and battle each other) and yet an originality all of its own.


Coll is an interesting and flawed character. He is not always nice or kind and patient and often seems to have taken on wolf characteristics in his behaviour. His prosthetic arm and leg also make him different, though these prosthetics are far in advance of anything available now. The other characters (I'm not going to spoil the story by saying too much about them) are also interesting and all of them have unanswered questions about their motives and backgrounds.


The cover by Karitas Gunnarsdottir is both arresting and frightening; the black wolf superimposed on the red background with yellow writing. The chapter headings and inside cover drawings are also extraordinarily powerful and match the story well. There is also a map and who doesn't love a map?


This is a good fit for upper KS2 and I for one can't wait for 'I am Raven'!


240 pages / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+

 

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