The Queen’s Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5) by Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 23, 2012
Buy It: Wattpad (Free!)
It is time. The boy must leave his family to serve in the Queen’s army. To be chosen is an honor. To decline is impossible. The boy is modified. He is trained for several years, and learns to fight to the death. He proves to the Queen—and to himself—that he is capable of evil. He is just the kind of soldier the Queen wants: the alpha of his pack. – Goodreads
Cinder got her own origin tale, and now it’s time for Wolf’s. I realized I should have read this before Scarlet when it was too late, and maybe it would have made me more sympathetic to Wolf (he gave off Edward Cullen vibes at first). Though their childhoods were different, both stories are heartbreaking. Cinder has no memories because she spent such a long time being rebuilt, and Wolf (or Ze’ev) is taken from his parents at the age of twelve to be transformed into a terrible monster. Of course, as we learned in Scarlet, Wolf is made part of an elite group of soldiers, so he’s not completely transformed into a wolf…hybrid…thing. (Should I just say werewolf? Are we doing that, or no?)
As someone who just had a baby boy (and that’s not required to feel this way, but man, is it intense), I felt so awful for poor Wolf. Twelve and taken and turned into something not human. Operated on, given no choice, scared, cut off from his family forever. No. It’s horrible. And within Wolf’s new “family,” we see typical werewolf dynamics (I love that there are enough werewolf books out there for any behavior to be considered “typical”), much of which involves violence. There are alphas, betas, and omegas, and that’s just the way it is. Wolf welcome by his pack’s alpha is not exactly warm and cozy.
This whole story does a lot to explain what happens to soldiers in the queen’s army, but it really just made me feel sad for Wolf. It made him seem more human, sure, and less Edward Cullen, but still, I mostly just felt sad for everyone involved in this pack. For everyone in all the packs. What happened to them wasn’t fair or humane. It’s horrible and immoral and hard to read about. But as an origin story, I rather liked it. At least it made me feel differently about Wolf.