Wolfsbane: Plot lacks thrills, but romance is sweet

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviewsWolfsbane by Patricia Briggs

Wolfsbane, the sequel to Patricia Briggs’ debut novel Masques, was written later in her career and just published last month. It continues the story of the shapeshifters Aralorn and Wolf, whose relationship has developed significantly since the beginning of Masques. Aralorn has been called home after a ten-year absence because her father has died. When she and her “pet” Wolf arrive, they find some evil magic at work and a mystery to solve.

As you’d expect, Briggs’ writing is better this time. She has a smooth style that I find pleasant to read (or in this case, listen to, since I read this on audio, again read by Katherine Kellgren). I enjoyed spending more time with Aralorn and Wolf and agree with Ms. Briggs who, in the humble introduction to the book, said she wrote Wolfsbane because these characters deserve further attention. They’re smart, witty, and good, and their relationship is believable.

Though Wolfsbane may be a better crafted book, I didn’t find its plot to be as compelling as the plot of Masques. This may be partly because it felt very much like a sequel — the characters and the world are no longer something new to explore, so enjoyment of the novel must come from either spectacular style or truly engaging plot and Wolfsbane, though it’s a pleasant read, has neither. There was a lot of talking through ideas and coming to conclusions by discussion or spying rather than by active investigation, so I was bored in spots (but not for long because Wolfsbane is short and quick-paced).

The evil magic that Aralorn and Wolf must overcome directly affects their relationship, and this is the true focus of Wolfsbane. For this reason, I think readers of romances will probably enjoy Wolfsbane more than I did. The plot lacks thrills, but the romance is sweet and satisfying.

The Sianim Series — (1993-1998) Publisher: When the peaceful kingdom of Reth is overrun by Geofrrey ae’Magi, the evil master of illusion, Aralorn, weaponsmistress of the shapechanging race, and her companion, Wolf, attempt to overthrow him.

Sianim, Masques, WolfesbaneSianim, Masques, WolfesbaneSianim, Masques, Steal the Dragon, When Demons WalkSianim, Masques, Steal the Dragon, When Demons Walk

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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  1. Of all her books, I’d say these two are the most “young adult.” They are simpler? stories than some of her other works. In some ways they are a bit more random in event plotting too. Just my impression. I haven’t read EVERY book she’s ever written. Just most of them!

    • That makes sense, since these are her early works and her most famous series started many years later. I haven’t read Mercy Thompson yet, but I’ve been collecting them on audio and hope to start them soon. (I realize that I say that about everything.)

  2. Of her early stuff, don’t miss When Demons Walk. I love the Mercy Thompson and the Alpha and Omega stories, but there is a certain perfection to When Demons Walk–the pacing, the plot, the length of the story. Just a well-told diversion that has a little bit of everything. It’s still one of my favorite works. Some of her other books here and there are pretty good too–most of them non-series.


  1. Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs | Janicu’s Book Blog - [...] reviews: One Good Book Deserves Another – 4/5 Fantasy Literature – 3/5 (“lacks thrills, but romance is [...]
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