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The Boy, the Wolf and the Stars by Shivaun Plozza

Title: The Boy, the Wolf and the Stars

Author: Shivaun Plozza

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 20th October 2020

Format: Paperback

Pages: 384

Price: $16.99

Synopsis: The Boy, the Wolf and the Stars is a sweeping, timeless adventure, an introduction to a brilliant new world with the feel of an instant classic.

Every night Ulv is cloaked in total Darkness. Twelve hours ruled by the ravenous, clawing Shadow Creatures, beasts made of shadow and evil. Young Bo is charged with a monumental task: freeing the land of its curse by returning the Stars to the sky. He must find three magical keys spread across the land – keys that will unlock the cage holding the wolf who ate the Stars. But there’s another motive, beyond saving Ulv. If Bo releases the Stars, he can make a wish of his own and maybe find the mother who left him behind . . .

Some say that long ago in the land of Ulv, the sky was filled with Stars. Twelce-year-old Bo knows the stories, but he believes the Stars and the wolf who ate them are just myths. And no myth can stop the ravenous Shadow Creatures from running rampant every night when it turns Dark. But then one day Bi’s guardian, Mads, is attacked by a giant wolf straight from the legends. With his dying breath, Mads tells Bo that a great evil has been awakened, giving the Shadow Creatures unprecedented power, and the only way to stop it from spreading is to return the Stars to the sky. And so Bo, accompanied by his best friend, a fox called Nix, sets out on a quest to find the three magic keys that will release the stars. But they’re not the only ones after the Stars…

~*~

Abandoned by his mother as a baby, Bo has spent his whole life with Mads, following his guardian’s advice and lessons. He’s never questioned what he has been told, or why he hasn’t been told certain things. That is, until Mads dies, and Bo goes on the run, and a hunt for the magical keys with Nix, Tam and Selene.  Tam and Selene join him along the way as Bo ventures through Ulv on his quest, and together, they uncover secrets and teach each other about friendship and loyalty, and doing the right thing. But Bo is also pondering the mystery of his mother, and why she abandoned him. At first, it seems that Selene and Tam might be against Bo, but when they find out there are others after the keys they’ve already found, they pull together and head off on a quest to get the keys back, and release the stars.

This is a gentle fantasy quest, where the characters form a tight bond as the novel moves along, and where the story explores myths, friendship, and the power of friendship, and pulling together to stand up against discrimination and looking beyond the stereotypes of different races and cultures, something we face in our world today.

Sometimes these issues are best tackled in fiction, such as fantasy. There’s something about seeing it in fiction that makes it relatable, and perhaps even believable in fiction than the stark facts in non-fiction are. Somehow, there is power in using themes of racism or discrimination in fiction. In this story, we see how it affects people’s perceptions, but also how Bo, Tam and Selene overcome it as they work towards a common goal. They all learn along the way, and it is a truly magical tale that is evocative, and meditatively meandering.

Most adventures have high action to go with the high stakes. In this novel, the high stakes are there, and there are moments of action, but it is often quite gentle, the softer, quieter moments leading up to the climax and points of conflict that drive the latter half of the novel. It is beautifully written, and evokes a sense of wonder and adventure, and a testament to the power of friendship and belief in things you might not have thought possible.

Shivaun has created a wonderful world, and one I hope readers enjoy visiting.

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