Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review: The Wildcat of Braeton

The Wildcat of Braeton by Claire M. Banschbach

Recommended for: Ages 10 to Adult

Rating: PG (for violence)

“If you’re fighting our battle, we’d best make you look like a champion,” Tam said to Aiden. Tam and Blair began to apply the war paint the Clans had worn into battle since before they arrived in Braeton.

“You ready?” Tam asked when they finished.

“As I’ll ever be,” Aiden replied. “Tam, if everything goes wrong, you take charge after me.”

“I’m praying nothing goes wrong,” Tam said. “Just remember what Diarmad said when he built this place: ‘In times of trouble, a Champion shall rise up and Scodra shall not fall.’” 

His term of service to Lord Rishdah now complete, Aiden returns to his home in Braeton. As he travels he hears rumors that trouble plagues Braeton. Clan Canich is being attacked from within. He arrives, determined to save his father, his brothers, and his Clan from the treachery of one man.

A year has passed since the Calorins were driven from Aredor and Corin is struggling to rebuild his country. Despite the peace, a fear haunts him that the Calorins aren’t far away. The Hawk Flight takes to the forest again to defend the borders against a possible attack from the neighboring country of Durna and its Calorin ally.

As Aiden and Corin struggle to adapt to their new lives they know one thing for certain - war is coming to the North!

The Wildcat of Braeton is definitely a step up from The Rise of Aredor. I certainly liked it better. While it still doesn't make it to my favorites, it is enough for me to continue following this author's career.

Writing: 4/5

It felt better written than the last book, certainly. There's still more telling than showing, and the character point of view could be deeper, but there was less head hopping and the story was much easier for me to follow. Claire has certainly improved between books.

Setting: 4/5

The worldbuilding is expanded upon in this book. You get to see what Braeton is like. It reminded me of the Scottish Highlands as portrayed in Little House: The Martha Years. I always loved those books, so being able to draw that connection was a definite plus. It feels like a real world, and I like it.

Plot: 4/5

I liked this storyline much better than that of the first book. Aiden finally leaves Calorin to go home to Braeton. He had some difficulties with his family prior to running away, so fixing those relationships and fitting back into a very different culture from the one he has lived in for so long is an important part of the story. Also, Corin has trouble fitting into his old life. He doesn't really like being a prince. And the guys start finding girls. :) The threat of war hangs over them for most of the book, but battles don't happen until the climax, which is just where I like it. There are deaths, though, which, well, I didn't like them--at all--but at least it isn't as bad as Mockingjay. The story structure could still use some work. The plot line kind of rambles rather than following traditional story structure, as far as I could tell. Still, I liked the story.

Character Development: 4/5

In the last book, I felt like I was watching a group of close friends. In this book, I felt like I was on the outer edge of the inner circle. Certainly an improvement. Deep character point of view would make these characters fantastic because, while they are well developed, they are still a little difficult to connect to. That being said, the deaths in the battle did certainly affect me. I was sad. Very sad. They did feel like somewhat pointless deaths, but I guess it is kind of unrealistic for that many characters to survive the battle. I have to say goodbye to the characters before I know them as well as I would like, but I do wish I could know them better in later books. (The epilogue kind of seems to indicate that this is the end of the Aredor/Braeton books, at least for these characters.)

The Wildcat of Braeton was a good book. I enjoyed it and do recommend it.

This review is part of the blog tour for The Wildcat of Braeton. Find the rest of the blog tour here!


Opens at midnight March 23 and closes at midnight on March 28. Giveaway includes 2 signed copies of The Wildcat of Braeton and accompanying sets of four notecard sized illustrations from the series!

About the Author:

Claire Banschbach was born and raised in Midland, TX, the fourth of eight children. She was homeschooled through high school and is now a proud member of the Texas A&M University class of 2014. An avid reader of Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and many other adventure novels, Claire was prompted to begin writing her own fantasy novel at seventeen after several years of daydreaming. She continues to write in her spare time (and often when she doesn’t have spare time). When not scratching out stories and homework with pen and pencil, Claire partakes in the joys of watching the Boston Red Sox, Aggie football, playing volleyball, and horseback riding. She hopes her faith and strong foundation in God will continue to help guide her writing. She is currently working on her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center.
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Release date info from the author-

Due to circumstances beyond my control, the release date has been moved to (most likely) May. However, if you feel that you cannot live without this book, you can buy it here- Warning- it costs about a hundred-million dollars (or I’m a poor college student and anything over $20 is expensive), so I would wait until its official release date and you can shop more cheaply! Stay tuned on my Facebook page or blog for more info on the release date!

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