Rise of the Wolf: Mark of the Thief, Book 2

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Rise of the Wolf:  Mark of the Thief, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Second in fantasy series keeps the action going strong.

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age 10+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Latin words and phrases, most with definitions and some with context clues. Brief strategies for chariot racing. Praetors' role in ancient Rome explained.

Positive Messages

Victory comes from protecting those you love, not destroying those you hate. There are no guarantees in life; anyone could die at any time, so you just have to live your life while you can. Stop wishing things were different and deal with your life and problems as they really are.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nic and Aurelia continue to model bravery, determination, and loyalty to each other and their loved ones. Nic often confuses guidance with attempts to control him and ends up learning things the hard way, but he's slowly learning to trust those who can help him. General Radulf still craves power, but his motives may not be evil, and he seems to genuinely care about Nic.

Violence & Scariness

Nic is frequently in peril, most often from confrontations with large groups of Praetors, a political faction threatening to plunge Rome and the gods into war. Battle-like fights involve swords, arrows, and magic; blood and injuries are mentioned but not described in detail. Other fantasy violence involves confrontations with powerful magical creatures with little gore; buildings collapse and burn; and injuries such as broken bones mention pain without describing it in detail.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rise of the Wolf is the second in a planned fantasy series set in ancient Rome, from the author of the Ascendance Trilogy. It picks up soon after the events in Mark of the Thief. Reading the first volume isn't strictly necessary, but there's frequent reference to characters and events from it. Hero Nic is in frequent peril, and violence comes from both fighting with swords and arrows and from magic and fantasy creatures. Nic and his friends are good role models for bravery and loyalty.

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Kid, 12 years old December 4, 2016

What's the story?

Everyone believes Nic has the key to unlocking a magical amulet called the Malice of Mars. A secretive and deadly faction called the Praetors want to use the Malice's powers to bring about the collapse of the Roman government from within and will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. They capture Nic's mother, threatening to kill her if Nic doesn't hand over the key. The only trouble is, Nic doesn't actually have the key. Can he harness his own magic and abilities enough to save his mother, and with the RISE OF THE WOLF can he prevent an all-out war?

Is it any good?

This second installment of a fantasy series set in ancient Rome keeps up the fast-paced action and excitement as it picks up where Mark of the Thief left off. Fantasy fans will enjoy the blend of Roman mythology and magic, especially magical creatures such as unicorns, dragons, and griffins. A couple of minor inconsistencies with characters' actions or motives and clunky dialogue heavy on the melodrama will easily be forgiven by readers who love action -- the chariot race is especially exciting -- as the pages keep turning. Another cliffhanger ending will leave kids eager for the third volume.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why fantasy books are so popular. Why do we love them so much?

  • Did you read Mark of the Thief? Do you like the second installment of the story as well, or better, than the first?

  • Nic has two kinds of magic, from the mark on his shoulder and from the bulla he carries. If you could have only one kind of magic, which would it be?

Book details

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