I received a review copy from the publishers as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Genre: Cli-Fi (General? Fantasy?) Age Range: MG Star Rating: 3 stars Series: yes - prequel
One frosty winter’s night, a pure white calf is born on an ordinary, muddy farm by the light of a silver moon. This is the legendary Mooncalf, whose arrival have been foretold since the dawn of time. According to a dream passed down from animal to animal, if the calf dies, a great terribleness will come – rising seas, a plague, skies raining down fire, the end of all things… and Little Hare vows to persuade all the animals to protect Mooncalf, whatever the cost.
But it’s easier said than done, and soon Little Hare realises that he is the only one who can save the world…
Synopsis taken from the back cover.
The first thing to say is just how pretty this book is. The cover is sort of purple, but the hardback underneath has orange-y woodland scenes that match the art style inside. The illustrations aren’t the scenes-from-the-book style, but more like decorative elements – trees framing the writing, or animals in the corners.
Reading a book about climate disasters just as the UN report came out was a surreal, and somewhat unsettling experience. A very powerful though alarming experience that clearly draws on our world with weather extremes and the young trying to fight for climate awareness while the older generations ignore it until it’s too late. THE WILD BEFORE is a call to action.
With it’s animal narrators and focus, not to mention biting commentary, on the current climate disaster, this book can best be described as ANIMAL FARM for the modern day. It has a subtle, tongue-in-cheek humour around some of the side characters – the stand-offish robin whose chorus is threatening violence, the mouse who sings.
It’s a challenging read, packing a lot into 200 pages, with a tension that does not let up. It’s quite a bleak story as disasters rock the animals’ world and Little-Hare feels helpless to stop it – despite knowing that no one else will. However, there is still hope the the worst can be mitigated.
I haven’t read the original trilogy that this book prequels, but I was able to follow along perfectly – and spot where the references to the original trilogy probably were. You could probably enter the series from either the first book in the trilogy or this prequel, depending on whether you wanted to start with a human or animal main character.