Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #1: Wolf Brother - Michelle Paver
Though I just want to point out that it's really 3.5 stars. The .5 is important.

I first have to say something positive about this book, because I the setting was so fresh and lovely and I want to give Paver the biggest and tightest hug ever for creating this wonderful world around a hunter-gatherer culture instead of the same setting, the same kingdoms and cultures over and over. Ugh this was so lovely a change, my goodness. The culture was in every page, every dialogue, every thought. It was beautiful and easily the strongest and most beautiful part about this book. And, obviously, my favorite thing about it!

Well, besides the character of Wolf. Wolf was my favorite character and really shone here. His voice was stellar (with his cute words for things we're familiar with, like Big Wet [a river] and Tall Tailless [the main protag]). However, I think the other characters kind of fell flat for me. I wished there had been more development with Torak and Renn, or at least a more solid grasp of their character besides using them as bodies to carry out the plot line.

And now, unfortunately, I feel like I have to talk about what I didn't necessarily like about Wolf Brother. The writing seemed stilted at times, dialogue a little unnatural and forced--put in place just to move to the next plot point or to get the next idea across to the readers rather than how the actual characters would interact. I feel like Paver sat with a very detailed outline and just checked off the bullet points. It can be a tough thing once you're so familiar with your own work to read it with fresh eyes and see where this kind of thing happens . . .

The ending also seemed a bit rushed to me. I feel like I had to read the last couple chapters two or three times to see if I understood it. I felt like I don't understand why it happened why it happened, just that Paver wanted some kind of heartbreak and bittersweet aspect to the ending. I don't feel like it worked the way she wanted it to. Maybe if she'd spent a little more time on the actual parting it would have worked a little better, but as it was, I didn't feel the emotion as I should have (or even wanted to!).

So all in all, it's a pretty decent book. I probably won't continue for the writing and the characters, although I applaud Paver for her creativity in the world-building.