Latent Wolf by Elisha Kemp
Elisha Kemp has created her own world with the story of Tobias Finch, a sixteen year old boy with a hidden ability to change (called ‘shifting’) into a wolf. Only problem is that while he knows it should be possible to change, he can’t. Instead he constantly battles with the feelings of the wolf inside him wanting to shift. There are many others like him, and not just wolves. The reader learns about the ability of shifters to take the form of bears, wild cats and other wild animals.
Latent Wolf is the first in the Tobias Finch series and tells the origin story of Tobias and his struggles as a ‘latent’ - meaning he can’t shift. His mother has been murdered and his dad has died from losing his ‘mate’. It is also the story of a young man finding himself through his associations with his extended family - his grandparents - and those around him at his new school. Tobias is a likeable and thoroughly explored character by Kemp as she seeks to bring the reader along on this magical and rollercoaster ride through the adventure.
In addition to Tobias harbouring his shifting ability, he also holds another more troublesome secret. He is a born alpha meaning his abilities far outstrip others in the pack. Born alphas are usually killed at birth, but not Tobias. Only problem is, his existence has become known to a dangerous pack. With the help of unlikely comrades including his seemingly dementia-ridden grandfather, Finch must battle much stronger foes in order to return life to a sense of normalcy.
The narrative is also told from the perspective of a ‘she-wolf’, Lucy, who distrusts Tobias from the start and only warms up to him after he demonstrates his loyalty in the most spectacular way possible. The story is split between the narration of Tobias and Lucy, both in the first person.
For those who enjoy the magical elements of storytelling and the YA genre where the characters really find themselves and (in this case quite literally) their pack. It is a wonderfully rich and entertaining read and highly recommended for teenagers. The Tobias Finch series is sure to captivate. Looking forward to the release of the next one in the series.
Reviewer: Chris Reed