This is part of the book blog tour for Amarok by Angela J. Townsend.
Emma’s life has been hell since she moved from sunny California to a remote Alaskan town. Abandoned by her father and living with the guilt of causing her mother’s death, she makes a desperate dash for freedom from her abusive stepfather. But when her car skids off the icy road, her planned escape leads to further captivity in a world beyond her imagining.
Dragged across the tundra by an evil mountain man and his enormous black wolf, she learns that love can be found in the most unexpected places. Amarok, as she’s nicknamed the wolf, is a young man from the gold-rush era enslaved by an ancient shaman. Emma’s gentle touch and kind heart win his love and devotion. When a vicious madman — trapped in bear form by the same Shaman — attacks the travelers and injures Amarok, Emma must find the strength to face her fears and free the wolf she’s come to love. But that means she must face down the evil shaman, a Siberian mammoth hunter from the ice age, and he has no intention of giving up his power to her.
With a stepfather that is often drunk and abusive, Emma desperately wants to escape. Leaving Alaska may not be easy, but Emma knows the longer she stays, the more danger she’ll be facing. Determined to leave, she takes off and drives in the freezing weather condition before dawn. Unfortunately, her escape is hardly a better option. On the road, she faces something far worse than the abuse from her stepfather. If she cannot find a way to save herself before it’s too late, she’ll probably be caught and disfigured by an evil shaman.
A story about a land that is being cursed, Amarok offers something that is a little different from what I usually read in the YA paranormal genre. Here, our main character, Emma, is not someone I’d consider a kick-ass heroine. She doesn’t have the usual smartness. She doesn’t have much survival skills. She may be kind to animals but when she is around with people, she is not sweet or particularly friendly. She trusts nobody. She is an angry girl learning to break some old, self-destructive habits. Instead of coming up with ideas to survive, her tendency is to space out and not stay focused on solving the task at hand. Multiple times, I wondered how she could survive as I read the book and while she does change somewhat for the better in the latter half of the book, she is flawed and far from perfect. In a way, you can say she is someone I’d want to dislike but couldn’t. It may sound odd but I find her, to some degree, pure-at-heart – a vague resemblance to Snow White – even though she is angry, hurt and self-loathing.
As for the other characters in the book, although they are not as well-developed as I’d hope, they do form an interesting bunch, especially Amarok and Jock, who, in my eyes, are truly the representation of what brave, resourceful, loyal warriors should be. What I love about these characters is that they add a vibe of friendliness, hope and harmony to the story. Without them, I’m afraid the story would not only lose its luster but also fail to inspire hope and empowerment.
Although there is an evil shaman in the story, I personally don’t find his presence creepy or scary.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Amarok. Perhaps the story is situated in Alaska, I kept feeling like I wanted to sit by the fire while reading the book. To me, Amarok is a love tale even though it has its elements of magic, mystery and danger. If you like beautiful love stories, you may want to add this to your collection. Just close your eyes and imagine how cozy and heartwarming it is to sip hot cocoa by the warm fire while reading a good book … feel into it for a moment … isn’t it a lovely feeling? …Yep, that’s exactly the feeling I had when I read Amarok. Hope you’ll feel the same way too! 🙂