In the second chapter of Wolf-Speaker, Numair and Daine learn of the devastation in the Valley of the Long Lake, and Daine must cope with the changes her pack are undergoing. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Wolf-Speaker.
Chapter Two: The Valley of the Long Lake
Before I start this, just a note! Yesterday, I posted my review of my very first Tortall short story, “Student Ostriches.” You should check it out!
I love two very important things about this chapter:
1) Daine isn’t done growing.
Her growth as a character in Wild Magic was immensely satisfying, but Tamora Pierce has clearly decided that things will not end there for Daine. I don’t tend to enjoy static characters unless it’s for a reason, so it’s fascinating to me that Pierce has already presented us with an emotional conflict that Daine is going to face. I think it’s realistic and intriguing that there is a member of the pack who does not like Daine being around, especially not with the friends Daine brought. Even though Daine doesn’t like Frostfur, I have no reason to dislike the boss female of the pack. What’s so great about this new issue is that Pierce doesn’t ignore the validity of Frostfur’s complaints. We see multiple times in this chapter (and the last, for that matter) how Daine has influenced behavioral changes in the wolves. Perhaps the best example of that is how the wolves treat the traps one of the two-legger hunters sets. Daine even has to acknowledge that this is going to get the wolves in trouble. (And we see as much during the very brief scene at Castle Dunlath at the end of the chapter.)
What does this mean for Daine? Y’all, I LOVE THAT THIS IS BROUGHT UP. I was so busying decrying the eternal oppression of Daine’s powers with animals that I never really thought about what her meddling might do to other species. The wolves are definitely drawing attention to themselves because of the way they act, and that’s not a good thing. So, does this mean Daine has been interfering with the way creatures react to the natural world? Can she ever find a balance between the two worlds? Shit, I adore the fact that this book is already making me thinking about this kind of stuff, you know? It’s almost as if Pierce is responding to the fact that many readers wanted the same sort of powers that Daine had. Well… do you? What if this magic negatively affects the very creatures you care about?
MORAL CONUNDRUMS, I LOVE YOU.
2) I don’t know what the hell is going on.
Whenever I start a new book, it’s always a treat to be in that wholly unprepared atmosphere. It’s why I like fiction so much in any form. Even though this is part of a series, Pierce hasn’t given us much to go on. There was no cliffhanger at the end of Wild Magic, and we’ve only gotten a few crumbs about the framing device for the narrative of Wolf-Speaker. All we know is that the people at Castle Dunlath are hiding something. There is a new kind of immortal somewhere in the area, and the massive deforestation and destruction is due to the mining in the hills of the valley. But mining what? And why does Dunlath think it is at all appropriate to violate Tortall’s laws about slavery by using ogres as slave labor? What’s so worth the risk?
There is something here, and I’m guessing it has to do with the Divine Realms being breached. What that something is, I don’t know, y’all.
I’m also convinced that the end to this chapter is meant to be confusing because who is this person??? Am I supposed to know who he is? Has Numair/Arram’s past come back to haunt him? I DON’T EVEN KNOW, Y’ALL.
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