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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

In the spirit of Adam Gidwitz comes a fairytale for the modern reader, but this time, the faeries are the monsters lurking in the shadows. In a city overrun by war, Luka doesn't have time for games. So when his little sister asks him to care for her faeries as she's sent away to escape the air raids, he dismisses her childish­ness. But it's already more than he can bear to see her go, so he pro…

The Wild Huntsboys

by Martin Stewart

Overall Book Review:

Start with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys–then add in a war-ravaged city and little faeries with a BIG attitude.  Any story with little weapon yielding fairies who fly on the backs of crows and are loyal to death has a very strong chance of NOT being boring. 

Life in a war zone has a way of changing people and the way they think.  For Ellie, Luka, Max, and Hazel, things move crazy fast when they end up on the radar of the faery world.  However, as Luke comes to realize, a promise is a promise, and he’s blown it big time.

Throughout the story, Luka comes to learn that he can’t do life alone and friends come in many shapes and sizes.  Narrated mostly by Luke, we get keen insight into the mind of a young teen boy who comes to realize that promises are meant to be kept and he has to accept the consequences when he blows it.  Forming a very unique team, Luka, Max, and Hazel try to save Ellie from danger and learn a lot about humanity and responsibility in the process. 

Filled with charismatic characters, The Wild Huntsboys is fun without being frivolous.  With great descriptions, a wonderful dash of kid-sized horror, and nail-biting suspense, it’s engaging to watch Luka grow and take on responsibility as he realizes how much he loves his little sister and his new friends.  If you love mythology and folk lore, you might just love this too.

Even though the story is set in a war-torn city and the Faire Folk are a bit zealous for revenge, the author, Martin Stewart, who lives in Scotland, has done a fun job making this story older kid-friendly.  This is his third book. 

Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy Received from the Publisher

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  18 religious exclamations; 10 mild obscenities; 3 religious profanities; 1 anatomical term.

Violence/Gore:  All children 10 and under are evacuated due to the war; a song describes how faeries will torture a person who doesn’t keep their promise to them; a teen boy punches another teen boy in the stomach; a teen boy trips and hits his head, no lasting physical damage; a faerie puts her blood on a house; a faerie has killed a small animal and blood mentioned; a teen boy cooks birds 2 times; multiple mentions of how the faeries will torture and cause physical harm to teen boys, blatantly put but not drawn out and described in detail; mention of kids living in the wild, implied because their parents are dead; a teen boy cuts his hand on glass, 2 mentions of blood; a faerie tells another faerie to “make them bleed”; a teen boy reads about the horrible things faeries will do to humans when they are angry, how blood is vastly important to them and how they drink blood in times of battle or victory; many mentions of bombed out houses; several boys abduct another boy; a young girl is in a place with animal blood and urine; teen boys tell another teen boy that they ate his dog and threaten him with physical harm; a father dies in prison; several teen boys are physically mean to 2 other teen boys; several teen boys demand a blood pact; a teen boy falls and hits his head; a man thinks a young girl is faking being sick and denies her food and water; an air raid with explosions; “the Fairfolk have a reputation of being bloodthirsty demons bent on the destruction of humankind”; a teen boy makes a hand symbol indicating he’s going to kill another teen boy; an airplane crashes; several fights between teen boys, some physical harm; a teen boy is burned in a small area, mention of a blister, not descriptive or gory; a faerie makes a horrible noise that causes people to be hurt, mention of blood; threats of a chemical attack; a teen boy has a black eye and is held by other teen boys; a faerie is hurt badly and is close to death. 

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

War, gas masks, death of father, absence of mother due to war work, rationing of food and wifi, magic, faeries, weapons, blood, homeless children.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Cigarettes.

Overall Book Rating
Profanity/Language
Rating:
5
10
Violence/Gore
Rating:
3
10
Sex/Nudity
Rating:
10

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About the Reviewer

Reading a good adventure story has always been a vacation in the theater of my mind. When I’m stressed or just need to get away for a few minutes, I love the opportunity to climb into somebody else’s world. I didn’t enjoy reading until I was in the Air Force and building bombs in Korea; it was a wonderful distraction from the real world. (I tried bull riding, but it wasn’t exciting enough.)