‘Rise of the Wolf’ by Jennifer Nielsen: Second in YA ‘Mark of the Thief’ series

rise of the worl

Rating: 4 stars

“Rise of the Wolf” ably continues the story of Nic, a Roman slave who enters an ancient cave in search of treasure and flies away with a magic amulet and a griffin. Those who would have the powerful amulet pursue him, and it’s difficult to know who the bad guys are – at least for Nic.

At the end of “Mark of the Thief,” the first book, Nic finds out that one of the bad guys pursuing him is really his grandfather. Since the guy had tried to kill him a few times, this is pretty shocking. Nielsen works on this relationship in the second book, and while Radulf, his grandfather, is never a good guy, she works to make him a character with depth. He’s not all black or white — definitely shades of gray.

Nic must deal with trying to protect his sister, his mother, and the fact that his good friend Aurelia has problems of her own. There is nonstop action and many twists and turns. And be forewarned — there is a huge cliffhanger ending!

As with all her novels, this one reads true with first person dialogue that seems authentic, a fast-paced plot, and character development that continues and builds on the first book. This series is a great choice for reluctant readers, readers who enjoy Roman mythology, and those who like historical fiction.

Please note: this review is based on the advance reader’s copy provided by the publisher, Scholastic, for review purposes.