Start the Week Off with a Five-Star Book!

The Wolf Within
by Pamela Belle
Kindle edition, 570 pages
Published Feb 20, 2017, Endeavour Press
originally published in 1995

GoodReads Summary:
Everyone has their demons, but some are more deadly than others…
Bred for power, dedicated to the Wolf God, Ayak, and to be used as a tool for war, Bron’s short life has been nothing but torture. His captors, the Skai’i had sought to use him and his power to conquer the North but they underestimated Bron’s sorcery and paid the price with their lives. With the once war-ravaged Northlands slowly settling into peace, Bron is placed in the care of his father’s cousin, Lady Kefiri.
As the bastard son of his father – the powerful sorcerer and now King of Zithirian – his gift of sorcery is kept secret from the world.
But Bron is troubled by his immense power, traumatized by his time with Skai’I and by the Wolf God that demands blood and death. And in his thirteenth year, he accidently reveals his powers to the entire court…
Seeing that Brons needs to learn how to control his vast power, Ansaryon brings him to Silver City – the capital of Zithirian. And for many years, Bron learns to control his immense sorcery. Loved by his stepsiblings and stepmother, he feels safe and content at last. But the Wolf Within cannot be so easily controlled. Revealing that Ayak still lays dormant in his soul, Bron realizes he’s a threat to everyone he loves. So he leaves Zithirian – for good as far as he’s concerned – until Ayak no longer dwells within him. He needs to get to Jo’ami, the southernmost island of the known lands, where it is said the most powerful sorcerers reside. If he’s to be rid of the Wolf God, then he’ll need their help. But to get there, he must travel alone through the perilous South – particularly the Empire of Toktel’yan.
The Empire is preparing itself for a war to conquer the Northlands once and for all.

But can Bron conquer his own demons and rid himself of the Wolf Within in time…?

My Review:
Even though this book had names and places I couldn't pronounce even in my head, even after seeing them time and time again all through the whole book, I gave this a 5-star rating! This has to be one of the best fantasy books I've read in a while! Looking at other reviews, I can see you either love it or don't. I loved it and now need to get the other two books in the trilogy. 

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to lose themselves in a wonderful fantasy world that may seem vaguely familiar to parts of planet earth. To follow a character who just wants to live his life quietly and ends up becoming a hero because he believes in doing what's right with what he's been given. Sounds sappy? There's nothing sappy about Bron's life. When you start your life with two ultimate evils controlling you, it's not sappy. One evil on the inside trying to take over and one evil outside training and abusing you to do her will. Then while you are still a child, your best friend is killed in front of you to punish you, you lose your temper and annihilate 6000 people without a thought. Nope, not sappy. Magic.

Each time he finds a spot to rest, the evil awakens again and he is driven on in his journey to find help or oblivion. He gets sidetracked a time or two making friends, but he always gets back on track and finally solves his personal problem. But then he takes up a crusade to try to save his world and doesn't want anyone he cares for to get hurt, so of course, he has to do it on his own. But he spends a lot of time pushing people away since he's the sort of guy people like and want to help. Yeah, a likable hero.

The character of Bron is well developed and you get to know him well enough to predict some of his moves. That's not to say he's predictable. Just that you gain some insight. Some of the secondary characters you get to know for short periods of time. They remain real in your mind, too. The conflicts and events of the story are really good. It's bloody and violent, but it's an empire at war with sorcerors and armies with sharp pointy weapons. There are warm, close relationships formed as well. Old people die and babies are born. The book takes place over a span of years, so a lot happens and Ms. Belle handles it very well. I'm seriously looking for a week that I can dedicate to reading the whole trilogy through from start to finish once I get the other two books.

This trilogy was originally published in the 90s in paperback, but I believe it is now out of print. It is available in ebook these days, though with lovely new covers.
I was provided an eARC of this book by Endeavor Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am not being compensated in any way. All opinions are fully my own.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review