Book Review: Tamora Pierce’s Wolf-Speaker

Posted January 15, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Middle-Grade readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Tamora Pierce’s Wolf-Speaker



Tamora Pierce

It is part of the , series and is a fantasy in Paperback edition that was published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers on 2003 and has 281 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant, Wild Magic, Trickster's Choice, Trickster's Queen, Emperor Mage, Realms of the Gods, First Test, Page, Squire, Lady Knight, Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff, Daja's Book, Sandry's Book, Tris's Book, Briar's Book, Magic Steps, Street Magic, Cold Fire, Shatterglass, The Will of the Empress, Melting Stones, Battle Magic

Second in the Immortals fantasy adventure series for middle-grade readers (ninth in the overall Tortall series) and revolving around Daine, a 14-year-old girl Gifted with the ability to speak to animals as well as heal them. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Tortall books on my website.

My Take

Oh, this is a lovely adventure that revolves around tolerance and environmental pollution. Your kids will get a kick out of Daine as she learns to see goodness even in those who aren’t pretty, to accept that everyone does not see the world as she does, and she can talk to any animal. A truly useful ability when it comes time to take down the bad guys!

Exercise your child’s imagination when Daine learns to shift her consciousness into different animals and Pierce enables us to experience the world through their eyes…and noses! Even as the animals who allow Daine into their bodies learn to see from a human perspective. It’s an exciting read with lots of action and adventure even as we learn to accept animals, people, and monsters for their own sake and not from prejudice learned from others.

Laugh as the wolves and the horses do their best to confuse the hunter of wolves when they mark the traps and pits he tries to use as well as the tricks they play on the bad guys.

The Story

Daine’s old wolf pack has sent her an urgent message for help. Driven from their old home, the Long Lake Pack refuse to abandon yet another one especially when the actions of the men in Fief Dunlath are hurting so many. Combined with Queen Thaylet’s concerns about the missing Ninth Rider Group, the king has sent Daine and Numair with Kitten, Cloud, Spots, and Mangle to learn all they can.

After meeting up with her old friends, Daine is dismayed to see how changed the wolves are from normal wolves as well as the terrible things the two-leggers are doing to the valley: the mining, dumping into the lake, enslaving the ogres, and too many soldiers bottling up the valley.

Not ones to hold back, Numair and Daine travel into the village to discover what they can and are invited to dinner at the castle where Numain encounters “old friends”. Mages. War mages. They learn enough that Numair hustles them out of the village in the middle of the night barely escaping with their lives. The king must be warned of what the Beldens and the mages plan; the wolf pack must be protected.

The Characters

Veralidaine “Daine” Sarrasri is gifted with the wild magic which enables her to interact with animals both speaking and healing. Cloud is the only pony who survived the bandit raid on Daine’s home. Skysong, a.k.a., Kitten, is the baby dragon Daine now cares for after her mother died saving everyone at Pirate’s Swoop (see Wild Magic).

Numair Salmalín is King Jon’s wizard and Daine’s teacher.

The Long Lake Pack is…
…Daine’s old friends including Brokefang, the leader; Fleetfoot; Russet; Short Snout; Battle; Sharp Nose; Frolic; Frostfur, is the female leader and she hates Daine; and, Longwind. The wolf pups include Leaper, Chaser, Silly, Runt, and Berry.

Sunclaw is a friendly eagle. Tkaa is a basilisk brought over from the Divine Realms by Tristan when he summoned the Stormwings. The Song Hollow bats help to map the shield the war mages have erected over the entire valley; Wisewing allows Daine to shadow with her. Flicker is a squirrel Daine heals and who agrees to help Daine with her spying. Quickmunch is a marmot who shares her body with Daine so she can communicate with Numair through the shield. Iakoju is the ogre who runs away and joins their motley rebellion. Blueness and Scrap are castle cats who also help Daine with her spying.

Master Parlan is the innkeeper in Fief Dunlath. Tait is the huntsman who joins the rebellion. Old White and Night Black are the wolves’ Gods. Sir Alanna, the King’s Champion, and Raoul of Goldenlake, the King’s Commander of the King’s Own.

Tristan Staghorn is a War mage and an old schoolmate of Numair’s. He is one of the mages behind what is happening in Dunlath along with Alamid Mokhlos and Gissa of Rachne.

Lord Belden is the master of Fief Dunlath; his wife is the Lady Yolane, heiress to half of Dunlath and obsessed with aping the royal court. Lady Maura is Yolane’s half-sister and the heiress to the other half. She’s also friends with Rikash, surprisingly. THey have two merchant guests: Hasse Redfern and Tolon Gardiner.

Stormwings are half-metal, half-human immortal birds. Lord Rikash Moonsword leads these Stormwings and yet is friends with Maura. Emperor Orzone is the ruler of Carthak and an enemy of Tortall. It is widely believed his mages opened a rip in the boundary between their mortal world and the Divine Realms, land of the Immortals.

The Cover and Title

With a suggestion of a Russian lacquer box with its classic fairy tale design, this cover is bordered by two columns of leaves on the sides, the bottom border is a plaque showcasing Tamora Pierce’s name, while the top border is of two Hurroks flanking a plaque with the book’s title. It all frames Daine with her braided hair and red jerkin covering a white blouse with slashed sleeves kneeling with her animal friends, three wolves and Kitten, the baby dragon huddled next to a huge tree as they observe the smoke rising from the other side of a lake.

The title is accurate for Daine is a Wolf-Speaker for her friends.