November 06, 2011
Ramblefoot by Ken Kaufman
This was a very wolfy book. Well it would have to be, with a wolf as the protagonist. I wasn't sure what to expect at first but was pleasantly surprised. It was a unique tale involving animals, which usually is a good combination.
Orphaned at a young age, Raspail clings desperately to survival, and is luckily picked up by some kindly wolves from another pack. They hope that he will become a strong hunter for the pack and they see something in him t hat tells him they won't be far off in their assessment. Raspail is a survivor, and a natural born leader. But misfortunes happen in his pack, and after the Facet (leader) is murdered, and Raspail suffering from an injury to his voice, he is unable to convince them of his innocence in the matter and has to flee. He wanders and regains strength with the help of a peculiar raven who becomes his friend and protector of sorts. Together they are joined by an older wolf, a story teller and what is known as a ramblefoot, a wolf who travels. He tells of a great land where game is free for the taking, but even with a full stomach, Raspail thinks of the pretty wolf he left behind and can't remain content.
Since these were wolves they can't exactly be related to normal characters for the majority of the time. Although I noticed that some of them had very human characteristics. As to their mannerisms, I only know a tiny bit about wolves, but they seemed to act in normal wolfish ways to me, yet the story progressed nicely with their thoughts and conversations. Raspail is a strong character and he really does emanate the strong leader vibe. I didn't find the bad guys extremely menacing, but considering that they're animals I suppose that's ok since I don't really see animals as being naturally evil. I did like Hagi the ramblefoot wolf. He was interesting and kind of like a guide for Raspail. The raven was a nice touch too.
This is kind of a wolf adventure in my mind. There isn't a real set plot unless you consider Raspail following his heart, but its more just the tale of his life and what he goes through. I did think the ending was a little bit abrupt. The pace of the rest of the novel was well done, enough to keep it interesting but not rushed, but I just felt that the ending did start the rushing and would have loved for it to be more drawn out. The writing had a nice tone to it and I liked the way the wolves communicated and played and just generally went about life. It should be noted though, that the wolf females were commonly referred to as a name that in all other contexts is a bad word, and one that I cannot put in this review. But since that's a proper name its alright to me.
A nice read. Good for those who like animals and especially would like to get in their heads sometimes. Since wolves are pretty popular, I can see a range of people enjoying this book.