The Hunt for the Mad Wolf's Daughter

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
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Exciting, history-steeped sequel has heart, great heroine.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Lots of historical research went into this tale, and the author provides a glossary and detail about the era in an appendix. Vocabulary-enriching words aplenty, like "crenel" and "merlon," "parapet" and "battlement."

Positive Messages

Strong messages of courage, loyalty, friendship, family, duty, working together, and thinking outside the box, often to do the compassionate thing.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Drest, Tig, and Emerick developed a strong friendship in Book 1, and it endures here through many perils, giving each of them the courage and determination to look out for each other and do what's right. Drest's dad, warlord the Mad Wolf, is both fearsome and loving, and the two of them sometimes struggle for understanding as Drest comes into her own as a warrior in ways that he hadn't planned on. Drest has compassion for a weak, conniving character who's tried to kill her several times. Emerick's evil uncle is out to kill them all, but many supporting characters come to the rescue at the right moment.


For most of the book, Drest has a huge price on her head and is in constant peril -- but does brave deeds anyway. Between the battles and the harsh medieval justice system, there's a lot of talk about hacking, slashing, stabbing, hanging, and other horrible forms of death. But in some cases, Drest either avoids killing or finds an ingenious way to save a doomed person. One of the characters is the child of a murdered witch.


Drest and most of her brothers have different mothers. Royals are caught up in dynastic marriages, sometimes against their will.


Drest and her brothers show their affection by speaking to one another in constant insults, e.g. "you rot-brained hare's bottom." Emerick uses lots of exclamations like "God's bones!" and "God's breath!"

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Hunt for the Mad Wolf's Daughter is the sequel to Diane Magras' exciting, girl power-steeped tale of derring-do in medieval Scotland. Picking up where Book 1 left off, the sequel finds 12-year-old Drest on the run with her father (feared warlord the Mad Wolf), brothers, and 16-year-old Lord Emerick after a dramatic escape from Emerick's evil uncle. There's lots of talk about hacking, stabbing, slashing, hanging, and other awful fates, as well as dark deeds in the past. But there's also lots of empathy, compassion, loyalty, and creative thinking for a good cause. The siblings speak to one another in elaborate but affectionate insults. Drest is an irresistible heroine as she deals with the unasked-for challenges of being a legendary hero with a price on her head -- but also many good friends to help.

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What's the story?

THE HUNT FOR THE MAD WOLF'S DAUGHTER is on in 13th-century Scotland, as 12-year-old Drest has become something of a legend following the events in The Mad Wolf's Daughter. After all, she managed to free her father and brothers from imprisonment and certain death at the hands of evil Lord Oswyn -- and freed his captive nephew, 16-year-old Emerick, whose castle and holdings Oswyn usurped. Not one to take defeat lightly, Oswyn has put a huge price on Drest's head, which isn't making it any easier for the brave little band to stay alive, let alone restore Emerick's domain. Things look pretty dark -- but friendship, family, loyalty, compassion, and gratitude (to say nothing of warrior training) are strong, too.

Is it any good?

There's lots to love about the continuing medieval adventures of 12-year-old Drest and her courage and humor under pressure as she faces one deadly challenge after another. Fortunately, her family war band, her orphan friend Tig, and assorted kind souls along the way are willing to help her -- and rescued-but-wounded Lord Emerick -- evade the murderous Oswyn. Drest is engaging and relatable as she keeps to the warrior's code in spite of having both a price on her head and a strong-willed warrior father who isn't so sure about her newfound tendency to think for herself.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about historical fiction like The Hunt for the Mad Wolf's Daughter. Do you feel like you have anything in common with characters who lived long ago, or do you prefer stories about the present day? Do historical stories make you want to learn more about the time in which they take place?

  • Drest is glad to be the warrior she is instead of being "stuck" with maidenly pursuits -- which gives her compassion for another character whose many bad deeds come from being forced into a way of life he never wanted. Do you know anyone who wants to follow their dreams and talents but is under pressure to take a different path? How are they dealing with it?

  • How accurate do you think the story's peril, violence, and danger are to how life was like in Drest's time?

  • Climbing rock walls plays a big role in this story. Have you ever been to a rock climbing gym? Was it fun?

Book details

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For kids who love adventure and historical fiction

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