T.C. Shelley, The Werewolves Who Weren’t, Bloomsbury, September 2020, 320 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781526600806
T.C. Shelley’s The Werewolves Who Weren’t is the magical sequel to The Monster Who Wasn’t. After his great adventures of the previous novel, Sam is about to tackle a new challenge – settling in as ‘normal’, which may prove to be difficult as he is half monster, half fairy. When his adoption by the Kavanagh family is finalised and he finds his pack of friends, equally as strange as he, Sam feels as though he could do anything. All is right in Sam’s wacky, weird world.
That is until his friends go missing one by one, and both the fairy and monster tribes appear equally as threatening. Who is behind the mass kidnapping of the shifters? Sam is stripped of his attempt at normalcy as he and his gargoyle friends undertake a dangerous journey to save the shifters closest to his heart.
Sam’s character is one that the audience can’t help but root for. He knows that he is different, that he is strange, but he takes this all in his stride and even uses it to his advantage. Throughout the novel, themes of friendship, mystery, family, adventure, and magic are employed. It is through magic that friendships are formed, and it is this shared connection between the friends that further the lengths they go to for each other. I particularly enjoyed witnessing the friendships between Sam, Wilfred, Amira and Hazel that develop along with the storyline.
T.C. Shelley uses complex phrases and vocabulary, nothing out of ordinary for a novel of the fantasy genre. However, my ten-year-old sister often found herself having to reread pages to understand the fast-paced nature of the story, which challenged her, and helped to increase her vocabulary.
Shelley has done it again with this sequel, leaving readers enthralled by Sam’s magical and quite risky adventures. Thankfully, there is a third book to the series, and with that, more to Sam’s journey. The Werewolves Who Weren’t is the perfect read for children aged 10-12, especially those well versed in the mystical fantasy genre.
Reviewed by Olivia Sammut (age 15)