This week’s review is of The Unclaimed Wolf by E.P. Stavs. I have already reviewed the first two books in the Shendri Series. You can find that review here.
As always, this review is my honest opinion and I received no compensation for it.
The Unclaimed Wolf is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon. It is currently enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, so you can read it for free if you’re subscribed. The paperback cost $12.99, which is what I paid for it. Without KU, the eBook will run you $2.99. Considering that this book is slightly longer than its predecessors at 262 pages of story, I would say that’s a pretty fair deal.
The book is available in English, and I’m not currently aware of any plans for an audio adaptation. I do try to update these sections if/when translations and audio editions become available.
As with the first two books in the Shendri Series, The Unclaimed Wolf features a beautifully simplistic cover. A gorgeous “fantasy-esque” font is layered over background image with mystical vibes. All of the text is easily legible. The series name and number are clear.
Personally, I enjoy the visual simplicity of these covers. They are very much about the fantasy “vibes” and I dig it.
As with the first two books, the interior is nicely formatted. I didn’t notice any major formatting flaws. Nothing new to say about it really.
Total for design is 5 teaspoons.
The Unclaimed Wolf picks up pretty much where the epilogue of The Searching Songbird left off. Sir Edmund is sent to search out the final, unknown wolf Shendri in a foreign country based on a rumor. That Shendri is a though-as-nails mercenary who doesn’t think too much of pretty-boy knights. He has a long road ahead of him if he thinks he’s going to convince her to come with him back to Eldour.
I’m not sure how to categorize this book. It’s not exactly enemies-to-lovers (although Maya certainly doesn’t like Edmund very much at the beginning). While the characters certainly follow some trope/archetypes I have a harder time putting the premise itself into a box. It’s certainly interesting, and I was looking forward to Edmund’s story.
I give the premise 5 teaspoons.
I’m just going to be blunt. I did not like Maya for about the first 50% of the book. Or rather, I didn’t like her for Edmund. This is easily my least favorite pairing of the series so far. Her devotion to her family and her home is admirable, but… I generally found her outlook to be narrow and short-sighted.
Edmund was very much Edmund. His role in the first two books was quite small (he spent most of book one in a dungeon, after all), but we did get a bit of a feel for his character. At times he is the consumate flirt, but underneath it all he really does seem to have a heart of gold. I’m really glad that it felt like Edmund’s character from the previous two stories was deepened, and not contradicted.
But as a couple? I didn’t get the chemistry. At all. I’m still not sold on them as a couple, if I’m being honest.
We also got to learn a little more about Fia and Bade. That relationship is… interesting. I’m really curious to see where things go in the final installment. I’m wondering if we’re being set up for a redemption.
Anyhow, individually I give the characters 5 teaspoons. They’re well written and enjoyable. I have to knock off a teaspoon though for the pairing. It just didn’t click for me.
4 teaspoons for characters.
This section is going to be difficult to talk about without spoilers, but I’m going to try.
Maya’s abilities beyond her standing as a Shendri and where they came from added an interesting element to the world and the story.
I wasn’t enamored with the Dirt Mercs and their home in the ground. The whole situation with the village also just felt weird to me. It was definitely an element of the world I could do without.
I didn’t feel like we got as much of a taste of the culture of this new place as we did in The Searching Songbird. The village near the Dirt Mercs felt very generic medieval fantasy world to me. However, There was some great foreshadowing with a children’s game played in the village. It added a layer of richness and history to the world overall. This is a living, breathing place where truth is lost to myth, and myth is lost to children’s nursery rhymes.
I give worldbuilding 4 teaspoons.
There were some surprises in this plot, for sure. I didn’t see the ending coming. Although Stavs did poor Edmund dirty AGAIN. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
Plot gets 5 teaspoons.
Stavs’s style continues to be an easy, fluid read. It’s descriptive and dynamic. The action scenes were well done without being over-done.
Writing gets 5 teaspoons.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It’s not my favorite in the series– that distinction still goes to The Searching Songbird— but it did a lot to develop the overall plot of the series and was fun to read. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Stavs wraps things up in The Moonlit Warrior this fall.
My final score for the book is 4 teaspoons.