Thank you Head Of Zeus for asking me to join the blog tour for The Wolf Den!
Book trigger warnings: rape, abuse (verbal and physical), violence, parental death (prior to book but mentioned), slavery, kidnapping (prior to book starting), suicide
As someone who has a degree in Archaeology and Ancient history, being asked to be a part of the blog tour for The Wolf Den was such a joy! I’ve loved learning about Pompeii since I can remember, even doing my final ever Uni essay on the art found within the buildings! I was also lucky enough to visit back in 2017!
I flew through this book – Elodie has such a masterful way with words that transports you into each scene; it’s like watching a film! The descriptions are vivid and rich, creating such a vibrant world that simultaneously shows off her skill as a writer as well as her intimate knowledge of Pompeii.
I love a book that tells an alternative history to the usual stories of the rich and famous, so this book is basically my catnip. We follow Amara and the other She-Wolves of The Wolf Den as they navigate every day life in Pompeii. From the get-go, the sense of danger and fear felt by the women because of their status, occupation and lack of money jumps off the page.
This is a story about survival and hope at its core – female friendships and a strong support system keep the women going through their lives in The Wolf Den. This book doesn’t hold back any punches; the lives of these everyday Pompeiian women are laid bare for readers to witness in the most brutal fashion. Each time a flicker of hope, love and friendship shone through, it was a little brighter because of this.
As a main character, Amara is fascinating. She is wickedly intelligent, manipulating those who take advantage of her and protecting her loved ones with a strength that is truly inspiring. The other characters are also fantastically written – given complex backstories, character arcs and plots, instead of leaving them to be flimsy background characters. Even Felix is given a backstory that evokes understanding without absolving him of his awful behaviour.
Another aspect of this book that I loved was the idea of identity: Amara struggles to hold on to who she was before she came to The Wolf Den whilst also having to successfully navigating the world she is stuck in. This juxtaposition and internal conflict led to some wonderful interactions with other characters.
I found myself laughing, crying and gasping out loud at this book – every plot point was mapped out to either wrap up neatly or is left with enough loose ends to carry on into the upcoming second book. I rarely have theories after finishing a book, but my head is full of questions about where this one will lead! I’m shocked that this is a debut – I hope that everyone picks up this book so they can experience the absolute triumph that is The Wolf Den.