4 out of 4 stars
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Victoria Speranta lost her twin brother at a young age and is now the only heir to the throne of the vampire kingdom of Sangera, one of the ten kingdoms of the magical nation of Terrarum. Due to her grief and the fact that she didn't have magical abilities, she was holed up in the royal castle by her parents for seven years. Victoria's lack of powers saw her tagged a cripple vampire. This forced her to push and train as hard as she could during her isolation to compensate for her lack of powers and prove her worth. Victoria became highly skilled in the use of swords, spears, hammers, and other weapons.
After seven years of isolation—culminating a few months to her fifteenth birthday—mouths began to wag, so it was time for the princess to return to living life like everyone else. She resumed school at Viata Academy, where her mother was the headmistress. She had only had one friend since childhood, Albert—who was also her betrothed—and was troubled about what her future at the academy would be like. Fortunately, she was able to make some trustworthy friends like Alex, Raduta, and Adrian.
These friendships proved vital when she was kidnapped by an evil force threatening to disrupt the normalcy she had achieved; the thoughts of her friends kept her going throughout her ordeal. During her period of captivity, Victoria was forced to fight on many occasions and attained something of a gladiator status. Still, it was during this time that she also realized her true powers and potential. What was life like for Victoria before and after her isolation in the castle? What roles do her friends play in her life? Does she ever make it out of captivity? How does she realize her true powers, and what are they?
The Hunger of Wolves by A. R. Ruggiero is a brilliant supernatural story. The story's pacing felt intuitive; it was tied to whatever was happening in the plot at any given time. There were moments where the author took time to flesh out rich dialogue, and there were other moments filled with fast-paced action, adventure, magical abilities, and more. Also, the suspense was effective. A good example was when Victoria and her friends were in a forest owned by the kingdom's oldest people. It looked like that was the moment her powers would reveal themselves, but the plot twisted away from that possibility. This kept the story intriguing and kept me expectant as I read.
I also liked how Ruggiero's writing embedded the plot in a unique world. The vampire kingdom of Sangera and the larger nation of Terrarum had their unique culture and way of life. There were mannerisms and festivities in this tale that I'd never heard about. Two examples were the celebrations of Stransura and the Lacrima spirit.
What I enjoyed the most was Victoria's bravery and mental fortitude. Her character was enviable and inspirational. I would have readily forgiven her if she had broken down and given up, but she was a tenacious warrior. She had lost her twin at the age of seven and had been locked away by herself for a further seven years. She was supposed to be the heir to the throne of a vampire kingdom and yet, unlike everyone else, had no magical abilities. The vampire princess had to adjust to a new life at the tender age of fifteen after seven years of isolation. She was shortly kidnapped, forced into a life of fighting, and endured some unspeakable acts during her captivity. Almost anyone would have given up under such circumstances, but she didn't. Instead, she spent her time in isolation training herself to be a skilled fighter, and these skills would help her later during her time in captivity. She overcame any social awkwardness brought on by her years of isolation and made friends soon after reintegrating into society. Victoria was also witty, which spoke to her strength of character and self-belief. I also appreciated the bond between her and her friends, even though they couldn't have been more different from each other. Their mutual loyalty toward each other was refreshing.
I didn't dislike anything about this book. It was a good supernatural story with a human element to it. It was also professionally edited. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars and recommend it to lovers of vampire and supernatural stories.
The Hunger of Wolves
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