When Ben Silver’s parents whisk him and his younger sister, Olive, away for a “holiday” he has a suspicion there is more to the story than what they are letting on.
The premise for Tristan Bancks’s book Two Wolves is quite intriguing – parents kidnapping their own kids. You want to immediately know why they are doing so.
Luckily, from the very start of the book the reader is quickly thrown into the action. The police arrive at the Silver’s doorstep and after they leave, Ben’s parents hastily drag them away on their unplanned holiday.
Ben is a chubby kid whose only wish is to finish his stop-motion movie and hang out with his friends. His creativity gives him an escape from his real world, which isn’t really all that exciting and even quite depressing at times. He wants to be a detective when he grows up and uses his skills to deduce what his parents have gotten themselves into, and why they are hiding out in his grandfather’s old cabin in the middle of nowhere. He asks a lot of questions but is immediately shot down by his scary father.
Ben isn’t your typical protagonist. He is awkward, has only few friends and is terrified of his father. When he finds out what his parents have done, he has to decide what the right thing to do is.
The theme for Two Wolves revolves around the old tale:
‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’ The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’
He simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’
Ben is haunted by many dilemmas. Does he help his parents escape from the authorities or turn them in? Isn’t family supposed to come first? But what if your family is rotten? What do you do then? Are we destined to turn out like our parents?
Ben reveals his inner strength as the book progresses. Not just that, he also becomes a fierce protector of his sister. Although he is highly torn between his family and the right thing to do, Ben’s decision in the end is satisfying.
Two Wolves is a fast-paced and intriguing YA novel. I highly recommend it.
Kristyn M. Levis is a freelance writer, author and photographer based in Sydney. She is currently the managing editor of Her Collective. Her first novel, The Girl Between Two Worlds, will be published this year.