Here’s our spoiler-free review of The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi by Cerece Rennie Murphy. Get your copy by becoming a member today and then join us in the member portal to get your questions answered by Cerece!

Not offensive to women = 1/1 pt, Features a woman as the main protagonist and/or supporting character = 2/2 pts, Passes the Bechdel-Wallace test = 3/3 pts

We see the world primarily through the character Ameenah’s eyes. She is a young black woman living almost alone on the edge of a forest much feared by other locals due to stories of horrific creatures and magic deep beneath the trees. Ameenah embraces their fear, using it as an additional layer of protection between her and the outside world. As readers we don’t understand what, exactly, Ameenah is afraid of until the story begins to unfold. Unfortunately, the more we learn the less safe Ameenah becomes. In addition to Ameenah we encounter multiple other women characters pivotal to the story. There is Ameenah’s mentor Siama, an older woman from Ameenah’s youth who understands the roots of her story. There is Oorala, a fierce and kind woman with an equally troubled past who protects Ameenah, and there are many other characters that play a role in this tale.

Artistic and/or Entertaining = 4/4 pts, Above and Beyond General Media = 5/5 pts

When you start reading The Wolf Queen you immediately know you are reading something special. Murphy takes her time telling this story and you must sit back and relish it. The pace is gentle, making the sweeping plot all the more jarring when it sweeps your feet right out from under you. The story begins with a prologue entitled The Fall of Elan, and I found myself holding it in my mind as I read through The Wolf Queen trying to piece it all together.

Even when you think you’ve unraveled the threads, you still find yourself breathless.

Murphy is an expert at portraying characters we want to learn everything about, and then she thoroughly indulges us. The Wolf Queen takes you down side streets and memory lanes, letting us not only see Ameenah’s history, but her friend’s histories as well. As the past overlays the future and the game is set, we wait on the edge of our seats to see what Ameenah’s next move is. Will she choose love? Will she choose security? Will she choose isolation? Is there a choice at all?

Ameenah has a spine of steel, and you ache for her to bend ever so slightly and let good and kind things into her life. Which is why you feel absolutely gutted when reality keeps reinforcing her desire to be isolated.

My advice to all readers is this: read the book from front to back. When you are finished, re-read Cerece’s author preface and feel the impact when she says “I began the book you’re holding now, long before I realized it, on a quest that started years ago, to understand the legacy of women and how such powerful beings became the most maligned of the earth.”

That line gives me the chills every time

For all these reasons, The Wolf Queen: The Hope of Aferi gets 15/15 on the Scale:

Her Story Arc Scale of Inclusivity image, a yellow number 15 inside of a pink Venus symbol

Watch the The Wolf Queen book trailer:

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