Akea is the story of a husky pup and her coming of age. Akea is born to a husky pair and trained as a sled dog but always feels different from her brothers and sisters. When she meets the nomad wolf Kazakh, she runs away to join the wolf pack and find her destiny.
Theme of the Book
Like many YA coming of age stories, Akea tells of finding one’s inner self and gaining independence. Instead of writing about young people, Ms. Jade has chosen to express this theme through the story of wolves and dogs.
What I Liked About the Story
Choosing to set the story in the world of wolves and dogs was imaginative. Akea, the young husky cub who discovers her inner wolf is the protagonist of a typical coming of age story in which a young woman finds herself and her independence. Akea’s inner wolf is present from her youngest days. She feels a strong but puzzling attraction to the nomad wolf, Kazakh. Yet her ties to her husky family, and especially to her sister Faith, are stronger than her instincts.
The relationships between the characters, especially that between Akea and Kazakh, are very well written and honestly believable. Ms. Jade has managed to develop both romantic and familial feelings with delicacy.
Ascribing human characteristics to both the dogs and the wolves means that the theme of the story is consistent, even though the main characters are not human. Ms. Jade has created canine characters with whom the reader can identify and for whom the reader will feel real sympathy.
The plot moves quickly with plenty of action but also pathos in the scenes in which Akea rediscovers her sister. Though Akea and her wolf clan face threats that would be true in the real world, the threats are never too frightening for younger readers.
Finally, the illustrations by Anthony Wallis are a wonderful addition to the book. They are beautifully done and give the reader a real image of Akea and her clan.
What I Didn’t Like about the Story
While the relationships between the main characters were well defined, I would have appreciated more details on the relationship between Kazakh and Buinse. Are they siblings? Were they supposed to be mates? Why was Buinse so sure she would replace the wolf queen? This plot element needs to be better developed to explain the tension between Buinse and Akea.
Since the author is dedicated to animals, it would also have been helpful to those readers who do not know much about wolves to dedicate some of the story to describing the social structure of the wolf pack and their hunting and living habits.
Finally, there were a few errors in punctuation and word usage that should be corrected.
Akea is an excellent book for young readers either to read themselves or have read to them. Although there are a couple of scary scenes, the story is generally positive in tone. The addition of the drawings was wonderful and will certainly help readers to bring the story to life.