Title: Wolf, Becoming
Author: Rory Ni Coileain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 124 Pages
At a Glance: After a slightly choppy beginning, Wolf Becoming soon smooths out into a wonderfully engaging tale.
Reviewed By: Angel
Blurb: Volyk learns very young that he has to hide what he is—oboroten’, shape-shifter—after his father is killed and skinned by a hunter, and the pack that takes in his pregnant mother is hostile to his kind. When Volyk is ordered to fight the pack’s beta to prove his fitness, but instead obeys his hormones and tries to mount him, he’s declared an abomination and forced to flee.
Ilya, too, hides a secret. Being young and gay in modern Russia is dangerous, and he knows it. But the truth eventually gets out, and his brothers lure him into the forest to kill him. They’re stopped by Volyk, who hides the mortally wounded Ilya in his den. The only way to heal the human is to turn him into an oboroten’.
Unfortunately, Ilya’s gentle nature is ill-suited to the life of a wolf. But when Volyk’s old pack returns, seeking to take away Volyk’s magickal den, Ilya will have to embrace—truly become—the wolf Volyk made him to save both his mate’s life and his own.
Review: I have read Rory Ni Coilean before, and enjoyed the short story of Ilya and the Wolf as it was first posted in Dreamspinner’s 2014 Christmas anthology, Celebrate! I wanted more back then, and I can honestly say that I had hoped the author would return to this verse again—I was pleased by this newer, updated version.
Wolf, Becoming is the background of both Ilya and Volyk’s story. The author takes the reader on a slightly choppy introduction to her version of the werewolf legends, and incorporates the short story into this extended version. It took me a bit to understand the wolves’ primitive speech and the time jumps, but it did smooth out into a wonderfully detailed story.
I loved the differences on the unique take of Russian lore and magic that have much influence in this story, and while it was complete, it didn’t feel finished to me. I still think that the author has more to say and look forward to the continuing tale if the decision is made to return to this verse.
I adored the wonderful changes from the normal tropes where in this -verse shifting is an act of will and magic, and only certain places have the magic to allow the shifter to become human. There is also a running theme of being different, sexual preference, and the ways different individuals learn to accept the way they are.
Sweet and delicately handled issues of love and discrimination round out this short story addition to a nice change in the genre staples.
You can buy Wolf, Becoming here: