Beware wolves in bears’ clothing.
Four clans have been at war for ages: the powerful and destructive Ram, the Wolf, the Kodiak, and the Raven. The last three, in order to survive, have banded together to form the Allied Clan. As part of a move to infiltrate and destroy, Zo—a 17-year-old Wolf and healer—volunteers herself for the sake of the cause. She arrives at Ram’s Gate pretending to be Kodiak and throwing herself at the mercy of the Rams—with, unbeknownst to her, her younger sister right behind. Thus begins Zo’s journey to save her people and keep herself and her sister alive in the process. Along the way, she gains the friendship of a young Ram, becomes tangled in an unpredicted romance with a Ram soldier, and discovers plans for a Nameless uprising. Solid worldbuilding draws readers into the clans and makes them, unlike Zo, regretful to leave the walls of the Rams. The love stories are both touching and perfectly tied in with the major story arc of an impending war between the clans. The intricacy of the relationships among characters and between them and their society makes even the most antagonistic of the Rams sympathetic. Readers will feel the absence of back story, but Jenkins’ complex characterizations mitigate this creative sin.
Readers will be cheering for the underdogs and begging for the second volume. (Fantasy. 14 & up)