Wolf Who Rules by Wen Spencer

Wolf Who Rules
Wen Spencer

This is book 2 of The Tinker Series by Wen Spencer. I think it this is it - only 2 books in the series, but I could see it continuing, so I'm actually not sure if this is the last book. I can't figure it out from Wen Spencer's website.

I really liked Tinker so I was really looking forward for Wolf Who Rules to come out in paperback. Tinker is a young female genius who lives in an interdimensional Pittsburgh. Her father created a gate which transports the whole city to Earth once a month for supplies (a day called Shutdown), while the rest of the time it is in Elfland. In book 1 Tinker saves Windwolf (aka Wolf Who Rules Wind), viceroy of the elves and gets tangled up in elf culture and in fighting off their enemies. I loved the world and the ideas used to explain elves and japanese folklore like oni and tengu. I did notice some Mary-Sue aspects to Tinker (smart, so many men are in love with her, she doesn't realise her own beauty .. blah), but some flaws did help her from becoming a complete Mary-Sue: she is only 18 and completely clueless about relationships with men and her own hormones, and she is capable of acting before thinking despite her genius. These traits continue in the second book.

In Wolf Who Rules we continue right where Tinker leaves off, and I found I had forgotten certain parts of Tinker – like who certain people were again and what certain japanese words meant in Spencer's world. For the most part I managed to pick it up but there are a couple of things I'm still confused about but I don't have my copy of Tinker to go look it up on vacation.

To add to that confusion, Tinker herself is confused and not feeling like her normal self – she has dreams like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz and wanders around feeling out of sorts for most of this book. There was one action-y bit at the beginning of the book, then there is this waiting/set up feeling for a good 250 pages before Tinker gets in gear and charges forward to do what she does best (save the world) again.

I guess that the book is named Wolf Who Rules because this book is more about his elf world than Tinker's human one and much of the book has Tinker having to flail about in this new culture and find her way really quickly and without much instruction. Wolf Who Rules Wind actually says this about her and what she is going through and while he tries to help he doesn't have the time to be with her constantly because he's busy with elven politics.

Unfortunately in the end I felt shocked because I was actually disappointed in this book compared to Tinker. Which is a big deal because I love this author and I love her plots and amazing ideas (ok interdimensional Pittsburgh? elves? oni? spaceships?), but I felt like I expected Tinker to be take charge like she was in book 1 that seeing her out of sorts for what felt like much too long in book 2 just made the story drag. Wolf Who Rules was still full of some interesting concepts that blew my mind, so worldbuilding was still wonderful but the plot was off for me. I think trying to get the plot to fit in with an Alice in Wonderland-ish dream and a Wizard of Oz-ish dream just didn't work. Unbelievable! So far I've read 5 books by this author that are in a league of their own so me being disappointed is weird. I will still will keep buying from this author though. And I'm still keeping this book since I'm a fan of Tinker and this is the continuation of that. Maybe one day I'll reread them one after another and see if I like part 2 better then.

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