Thursday, April 14, 2016

MG Fantasy Review: Rise of the Wolf (Mark of the Thief #2) by Jennifer A. Nielsen

25582867Rise of the Wolf  (Mark of the Thief #2) by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Format:  Hardcover
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
Number of Pages: 352
Published: January 26, 2016
Source:  Library

Genre: Fantasy

Nic is caught between two sides of a war raging within Rome. A terrible predicament to be in for sure.   On the one side are The Praetor's,  who will stop at nothing to get Nic to retrieve the Malice of Mars,  an amulet needed to create a Jupiter Stone.  On the other side is Nic's grandfather, Radulf, who wants to use the amulet to destroy Rome and secure his power. Stuck in the middle are Nic's family and friends, who are constantly being used as leverage by both sides to manipulate him into doing what they want.  It's very complicated to say the least, and Nic is always unsure of who he can completely trust.  When Nic's mother is taken hostage by the Praetors, Nic challenges them to a chariot race.  If he loses, Nic agrees to the Praetors demands, but if he wins he will achieve his goal of ensuring those he loves freedom and protection.  

 As a parent, I'm always on a lookout for books, series, non-fiction, anything that sparks my child's interest. Although, I'm pretty lucky to have a reader and a school that encourages reading, I wish they didn't have genres requirements and reading prompts to do.  Any-who.  The Mark of the Thief has been one of those series' for us.  The first book came out as they were studying about Rome in school.  Lots of discussions ensued about the Roman empire, and the premise of Caesar being a descendant of the Gods.  The Gladiator battles were pretty cool too.  My kiddo just finished my copy of My Life in Dioramas, and has started reading Rise of the Wolf, I'll add in any thoughts or comments at the end of the review later.  One thing is for sure, we will be chatting about this book on our car rides back and forth from school.  Rise of the Wolf for me was about Nic's inner struggle to try to right the wrongs that he feels he committed in taking the bulla for himself in the first book.  He sees himself as a thief and doesn't want to be responsible for the fall of Rome.  He also really wants to protect his family, who all seem to end up in danger at some point or another, or are used to try and manipulate him in some way.   There is also a mystery about a key that is needed to acquire the Malice of Mars.  What exactly this key is and whether Nic possess it are two of the questions to be answered.  The character that surprised me the most was Radulf, Nic's grandfather.  Early on in the story, Radulf pretty much demands that Nic acquire the Malice of Mars for him.  Where at first he was  forceful and demanding, Radulf's tone begins to soften as his concern for Nic's safety in the chariot race begins to emerge.   Quite the twisty-turny plot of emotions and intentions.  One of the things that I really appreciated was that Nic didn't give in to the manipulations and is crafty in figuring out a way out of things thrown at him.  Well up until the chariot race and that cliffhanger ending.  My reaction was NOooo, but I enjoyed Nielsen's response to me "If we authors aren't cruel to our characters, how will they ever rise up as heroes?  So in a way, I'm helping them."  Yep, I've got faith that Nielsen has a plan for Nic to get out of this sticky situation.  Overall, Rise of Wolf nicely mix's historical information, mythology, action and intrigue that really appeals to us.  Anyone know when book 3 comes out?  Asking for a soon to be curious teenager.     


  1. I loved the first book in this series. I'll have to get this one soon. Glad you liked it and your child is reading it too. Sorry, I don't know when book 3 comes out.

    1. That's ok Natalie, we'll wait for the cover release. I remember when this one came out, we were pretty excited about it.

  2. I have not started this series yet, but it sounds fascinating. Wish I had information about book 3 for you! :) Great review!

    1. I love the setting of Rome and the characters. Did you read The False Prince series? That remains to be my favorite of Nielsen's writing thus far.