Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den by Aimee Carter, Published by Bloomsbury, eARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Twelve-year-old Simon Thorn’s life has never been easy or normal, but things like being bullied at school and living in a cramped Manhattan apartment with his Uncle Darrell are nothing compared to his biggest secret: He can talk to animals.
But when his mom is suddenly kidnapped by a herd of rats, Simon finds out that he, his mom, and his uncle are all Animalgams—people born with the ability to change into an animal at will.
Simon Thorn looked like a quick, fun middle grade read, but felt underdeveloped.
I started Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den with hardly any expectations, but unfortunately came out of the book rather disappointed. It felt like most of the elements of the story were there, but not in the best quality.
For starters, I found the characters and the plot very one dimensional. Most of the characters seemed to have a single defining trait, and the plot was very linear and didn’t manage to surprise me very much. Like many middle grade books I have read, Simon Thorn seemed like it had been simplified so as to better fit into the genre.
The parts of the plot that did manage to surprise me ranged from confusing to just plain odd. A lot of the conflict between the different ‘kingdoms’ didn’t make sense to me and wasn’t clearly explained, and the motivations of the villains in the story were weird.
That said, I did enjoy a lot of the ideas behind the world in the story. The shapeshifter groups were interesting, and a shape shifter school hidden in a zoo? Yes please. I also liked the whole talking to animals element.
Overall: I liked the premise and the universe, but the story itself fell a little flat.
Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den will be published on February 2nd, 2016.