- Title: Wild Rose
- Author: Lucy Winton
- Series: The Roses, #1
- Genre: YA Fiction
- Publishing Date: December 4th, 2018
- Publishing Co.: Indie
- Length: 198 pages
- Format: Kindle Unlimited
- Acquired: Given free Kindle copy in exchange for a review
- Amazon Link: Wild Rose
Milly Costello has lived in the walled city of Redcross for two years. She wants nothing more than to get out – but when the mysterious Wolf-Lords arrive, she may get her wish in a way she doesn’t expect.
And that’s to say nothing of the secret she and her friends are keeping…
First Chapter Challenge: 5%
In the prologue, we see the main character Milly moving away from her home and to a new city, Redcross. We do not yet know why her family is making the move, but we do see that the Wolf-Lords–a mysterious and imposing group of people, who are each somehow bonded to a wolf–are acting as guards for the emigrants. Is this dangerous country? Is there some sort of war or unrest occurring in the land? And who exactly are these Wolf-Lords? Why did they agree to guard the emigrants?
In the first chapter, it is 2 years later and Milly and her family have found a (hopefully good?) life in Redcross. The city seems to be very strict, with a curfew and walls surrounding everything. We find out in this chapter that Milly works with her 3 friends at a cafe called Layden’s under the supervision of the owner Carlene. We also get a glimpse of the Premier (the leader of the city), and how he decides to make a deal with a group of Wolf-Lords–the same group which appears to be the same that helped Milly reach Redcross 2 years ago, though now under new leadership. Milly and her friends are apprehensive about having the Wolf-Lords in their city, particularly this group of Wolf-Lords. What secret are they hiding and why are the Wolf-Lords here? I can’t wait to read more and find out!
Final Judgment: 3.5 Stars out of 5
The premise of this novel is that Milly and her friends are keeping a secret from everyone… A secret that has something to do with the Wolf-Lords. When the same Wolf-Lords that guided the emigration are called into Redcross to help the Premier with something, Milly and her friends must go through risky measures to ensure that their secret stays safe. Not only that, but Milly is offered to the Wolf-Lords in some kind of deal with the Premier, and now she must go live with them for 6 months. The story takes off, narrating Milly’s friends’ exploits in Redcross as well as Milly’s stay with the Wolf-Lords. Are any of the girls safe?
…[T]he Wolf-Lords weren’t masters of the wolves and they weren’t friends either. From what she had read, they were more like one soul sharing two bodies (Loc 521)
I really liked the overall plot of this story and the unique land that Milly and her friends come from. It helps that I absolutely love wolves, and I may be harboring a not-so-secret desire to become a Wolf-Lord myself! It was intriguing to learn more about the Wolf-Lords’ culture, as well as how outsiders viewed the Wolf-Lords. I liked that we were given some backstory concerning wars that broke out with the Wolf-Lords, which explains why there are both open towns and walled cities–Redcross being of the latter of course. So again, I did really enjoy the overall plot arc, however I was somewhat confused during the more minor plot arcs that occurred throughout. It seemed that the characters would get overly scared or anxious about something that I simply felt they didn’t need to waste any emotion on. It also seemed that many of the events that Winton built our suspense up to were anticlimactic, the girls thwarting danger or figuring out information too easily and quickly. I believe that this book could have been 100 pages longer, and it may have been better! As long as those 100 pages would have added more climactic moments and lead-up to important events.
As for the characters, I believe that Milly was wonderfully portrayed and dynamic. I was able to get inside her head and understand her thought processes and emotions, which really helped to enhance the story. However, all the other characters seemed somewhat superficial, especially her friends. The girls, Avery, Sami, and Frankie, all seemed to melt into one another, to where it was difficult to discern unique traits and beliefs. The girls did practically everything as a unit and all had the same kind of outlook on life and on what they needed to do in Redcross. In fact, I could have done without even having Sami at all, and just having Leo’s sister and Frankie–perhaps blending some of Sami’s traits with Frankie. Though Avery was the least fleshed-out in my mind, it did help propel the plot along that Leo was her twin. I really just didn’t think having 3 extra main characters added anything to the story, and even hindered it in the beginning when it was difficult to keep up with all the names and backstories without any character traits of real substance.
Kendrick ran his hand down Aela’s back, looking into her eyes. The air was filled with words neither man nor wolf spoke aloud (Loc 2122).
Moving on to the writing style, I enjoyed how flashbacks to the emigration were interwoven within the two main narratives of the girls in Redcross and Milly with the Wolf-Lords. The flashbacks definitely developed the characters a little more and provided a rationale for why the girls were scared of the Wolf-Lords. It also added more history to the land and the Wolf-Lords, which I definitely appreciated. However, the transitions in the writing were extremely choppy, jumping from one narration to the next without warning. It threw me out of the book many times, and was a bit frustrating to be honest. Having some sort of break between Milly’s narrative and the girls’ narrative would have been helpful. I also want to add that the dialogue between the characters tended to be awkward, especially when they tended to over-explain. It seemed as if much of the dialogue was simply there to propel the plot along, not as if the characters were actually speaking to each other normally. However, I do believe that this improved the farther along in the story I got, or I simply became used to it.
One last thing I wanted to note, was that I was also confused on the time period that this book was set in. Originally, it seemed like it was in medieval-ish times, with no technological advances in transportation or the like. However, I was proven wrong as there seemed to be electricity, phones, and handguns. It also threw me off that there was plumbing, but Milly did not have any, and instead used buckets of water to bathe herself, even after reaching civilization. I also have this question: Why did they walk everywhere? Why not take a car (were there cars? I am still confused on this)…or at least horses?
Overall, I did really enjoy the book, even with its occasional flaws. I wholeheartedly believe that it has great potential to become an amazing series, and I am going to get the next book, Dark Rose, whenever it is published! This was a very quick and easy read, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in wolves, mystery, and chasing freedom!