|Title: Wild Children||Author: Richard Roberts|
|Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press|
|Publication Date: 2012||Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult,|
Why Picked: NetGalley, Cover Art
First Line: “I think I was nine the first time I saw a Wild Child.”
Bad children are punished. Be bad, a child is told, and you’ll be turned into an animal, marked with your crime. The Wild Children are forever young, but that, too, can be a curse. Five children each tell a different story of what they became: One learns that wrong can be right, and her curse may be a blessing. Another is so Wild he must learn the simplest lesson, to love someone else. An eight year old girl must face fear and doubt as she dies of old age. Love and strangeness hit the lives of two brothers in the form of a beautiful flaming bird. Finally, the oldest child learns that what is right can be horribly wrong. Together they tell a sixth story, of a Wild Girl who can’t speak for herself, and doesn’t seem Wild at all. 
I have really struggled with this review. It is my first for NetGalley and I want to be sure that I am writing something which is true to myself and not influenced by the fact that it was and ARC or the promise of more ARCs.
Wild Children is six interwoven stories of children who have been “turned” wild. The actually mechanism by which with occurs is never completely explained to my understanding and it is not a hard and fast change. Children are turned to Hinds and Wolves and Doves and Cats and but their transformation is varied and different for each child. Think Pinocchio when he is turned to a donkey but some are more extreme and some are less.
Add to the transformational stories, stories of love and betrayal and sacrifice set in country towns, bustling cites and wealthy country estates. These stories are in turns fascinating and bizarre. The stories start with the idea that transformation is a punishment for sin and sets up the dynamic of religious leaders and political leaders using Wild Children as pets and scapegoats throughout the rest of the stories. Alternatively in the stories are those who view the Wild Children as Angels or as something they aspire to be. Now add in magic, alchemical theory and a war between the factions of the church and seeds of revolution and you get a vague over view of the book.
I wish that this book had picked a path. It suffered from too many ideas and not enough development. I never fully understood how or why children transformed. In some cases it seemed to be the results of a potion. In other cases it was the result a mystical underworld journey and encounter with a godlike creature. Also, I never understand why adults could not transform. The religious and political storylines were interesting but rushed and never quite resolved. In the end I felt like I was reading bits and pieces of a larger novel. Granted this is a larger novel that was intriguing and bizarre in all the best ways and one I would love to read but as it stands I was left feeling a bit baffled and unsatisfied.