Hello everyone! I'm excited to bring you guys my review of RISE OF THE WOLF! I enjoyed the first novel and if you haven't read the first book, you can check out my review here.
Title: Rise of the Wolf
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Series: Mark of the Thief #2
Release Date: January 26 2016
Nic may have escaped enslavement in the mines outside of Rome, but his troubles are far from over. The Praetor War--the battle to destroy Rome from within--is in full force, and Nic is caught in the crossfire. The secretive Praetors are determined to unlock a powerful amulet--one sure to bring the empire to its knees. Worse, the Praetors believe Nic holds the key to finding this amulet, and they will stop at nothing to steal it, even if that means harming the people Nic holds most dear.
When the Praetors capture Nic's mother, Nic knows he must do anything to save her. He challenges the Praetors to a chariot race. If he wins, they will release his mother. But if he loses, he must hand over a magic that will certainly destroy Rome and end his own life. Can Nic once again harness his magic and gather the strength to defeat his enemies? Or will he lose his mother and bear witness to Rome's destruction?
It seems appropriate that I should write this review after I've written my midterm for Roman History.
RISE OF THE WOLF starts off pretty much where Mark of the Thief ended. This novel is a very natural progression of the story that began in the first book. Nic is still suffering the consequences of his choice in the first book to pick up that bulla and it doesn't look like his suffering is going to end any time soon.
Nic's choice to pick up that bulla and the resulting event of him becoming imbued with magic from the gods has thrust him into a battle of the gods that he has no place nor desire to be in. He was a slave when he gained the magic and the magic has bound him to another sort of slavery in which he must continue to fight for his freedom. Throughout the book, Nic is simply coping with the blows as they come and rolling with it. He has no control over his situation at all and he is very much at the mercy of both others and his situation.
I feel like Nic hasn't really changed since the beginning of the first book and I don't quite know how to feel about that. Obviously things have happened to him and often traumatic events change a person. However, Nic retains that un Roman-ness about him that makes him such a formidable opponent against the Romans that have it out for him. Even in the midst of a competition, he refuses to cheat to win while his opponents are cheating to defeat him. His enemies are trying to tear him down at every turn and he continues to have that same outlook and his fatal flaw - his fierce love for family and his saviour complex.
The budding romance between Aurelia and Nic felt strange and out of place for me. While this romance does factor into the plot and has an impact on Nic, I didn't really feel the chemistry between the pair.
RISE OF THE WOLF is a good sequel to the first novel and while I enjoyed both this novel and the first one, this sequel fell just a little flat for me. I am curious about how this will end though and I look forward to reading the next book and hopefully things will turn out okay for Nic.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has forgotten to do that has allowed her any spare time.