I’ve been reading a ton of middle grade fiction lately, because a) it’s fun, b) it’s short, and c) it’s what I write. I think adults miss out on a lot of fun if they DON’T read some middle grade here and there.
The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras takes place in medieval Scotland, where a girl—the only girl in her family, and the youngest member as well—finds herself in the position of being the only one who can save her father and five brothers from hanging at the castle some ways away. Readers know right away that Drest, the main character, isn’t going to let things go without a fight. She’s ready to kick butt. The only problem? She gets discouraged a bit because she’s small. She can’t swing a sword like her brothers and father. But she doesn’t let that get in her way for long. With the encouragement of the voices of her family in her mind, she sets off to save them. Along the way, she meets some unlikely allies, some people who have more to them than meets the eye, and some enemies.
This is a story about taking chances—on people and in situations. It’s about family and friendship, about trust and betrayal, and, of course, about adventure. Drest is a hero girls can identify with, and while she makes mistakes, none of them make her seem foolish or stupid. She learns from them and moves on. Drest is on a very tight deadline, and the lives of her family depend on her getting to the castle in time to save them from hanging. But it’s not always easy to tell friend from foe on the road, and when a girl has never been away from home before, it gets even harder. She begins to question if her family is who she thought they were, and if, indeed, anyone out there is what they seem. There are fights, daring escapes, as well as rescues. I think fans of Robin McKinley and Tamora Pierce will love Drest’s tale. And there is a sequel!
Melanie R. Meadors is an author of middle grade fantasy, a role playing game designer/editor, and a blogger with The Once and Future Podcast and GeekMom. She also loves science, sewing, music, comics, DMing for a couple of gaming groups…In other words, she is a professional nerd. You can learn more about her at her website.