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Literature / Wolven

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Wolven is a trilogy of middle-grade novels by Di Toft.

Family circumstances force twelve-year-old Nat Carver and his mother to temporarily live with his grandparents in Temple Gurney, a small village in the English countryside. While there he adopts a large, ugly dog named Woody—-who transforms into a boy a few days later. Woody is a Wolven, a sort of reverse werewolf who escaped from a science lab as a puppy. Unfortunately the villains at the lab are still looking for him, including the mutated werewolf Lucas Scale. While killed, Scale bites Nat and possibly infects him with lycanthropy.

The second book, The Twilight Circus, sees Nat and Woody in France, where Nat’s father and grandfather run a circus full of supernatural creatures. Unfortunately the circus is spending its winter off-season in a town being attacked by vampires, who are in league with the resurrected Lucas Scale. Helping out is Alex Fish, a young agent from a Creature-Hunter Organization that wants to recruit Nat and Woody. Woody also hopes to find the remains of his Wolven clan living in the area.


The final book, Bad Wolf Rising, has the boys return to Temple Gurney, where Lucas Scale has started kidnapping local boys to form a pack of brainwashed werewolf servants. Working with a demon, Scale is trying to find the Baphomet Head, an Artifact of Doom that could kickstart the Apocalypse.

The books contain examples of:

  • Always Lawful Good: Wolven.

  • Artifact of Doom: The Baphomet Head.

  • The Bully: Teddy Davis, in the first book.

  • Can't Take Anything with You: Thing stay with you when you “flip” back in time, but you can’t take things from the past to the present. This causes Woody to lose his clothes in the last book, as he’d gone back in his Wolven form and then borrowed one of Rydian’s robes.

  • Chekhov's Gun: Medusa’s head is used to finally defeat Scale.

  • Circus Brat: Played With. Nat’s father and grandfather are starting the Twilight Circus during the first book, and Nat and Jude go and join them in the second.

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  • Creature-Hunter Organization: NightShift is dedicated to hunting malicious supernatural creatures. It’s not opposed to hiring nicer ones, however.

  • Deal with the Devil: Scale made one to survive his death in the first book. He and the demon are working together throughout the last two volumes.

  • Evil Is Burning Hot: The demon.

  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Maccabee is a “modern vampire” and is presented as a normal person, while “ancient vampires” are presented as basically being monsters.

  • Heroes Want Redheads: Played With—Nat is immediately attracted to Crescent when he meets her, but that ends pretty quickly.

  • Hypnotic Eyes: Scale has them, as do vampires.

  • I Have Your Wife: Scale kidnaps Harmony to trade for the Baphomet Head.

  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Used kind of confusingly in the second book. The narration refers to the villainous vampires as “it,” even as it describes how their leader has a “female form.” This does not apply to Maccabee, however.

  • Killed Off for Real: Teddy, in the last book.

  • MacGuffin: The Baphomet Head. The villains want it because it can apparently cause the apocalypse, but the last book is just spent trying to find it.

  • Mad Scientist: Gruber, in the first book.

  • The Malaproper: Woody, mostly in the first book. He learned English from telepathy and television, after all.

  • Mental Time Travel: William de Gourney’s book does this, allowing Nat to see that the King’s Wolvens were active during the days of Richard the Lionheart.

  • Must Be Invited: Vampires. Unfortunately, if you see them through the window they can just hypnotize you into letting them in.

  • Noble Wolf: Wolven are Always Lawful Good. Most of the werewolf characters also count.

  • Not Himself: Cresent, during much of the second book.
    • We don’t get to see much of Josh before he’s brainwashed, but aside from working for Scale it seems to turn him from carefree and cheerful to surly.

  • Psychic Powers: Wolvens have various forms of Telepathy, which can include the ability to create illusions or control animals.

  • Older Than He Looks: The Wolven brothers from the last book are about 100, but look about half that age.

  • Our Vampires Are Different: The “ancient” ones are pretty much all monstrous killers who don’t bother to look very human, while the more modern ones are of the friendly neighborhood variety.

  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Pretty standard “modern” werewolves. They can shift at will or based on strong emotions, pretty much have to during the full moon and are more or less in control of themselves. They also hunt in packs and have an “alpha.”

  • Rapunzel Hair: Crescent’s hair goes down to her waist.

  • Samus Is a Girl: When Nat first meets Alexandra Fish, she’s in a disguise that causes this to happen.

  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Nat spends about half of the last book stuck between human and Wolven forms. The result looks something like a caveman.

  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: A frequent issue for both werewolves and Wolven. It doesn’t effect vampires, whose shapeshifting is described as more magical and illusionary.

  • Skeleton Key: NightShift has one which previously belonged to Cleopatra.

  • Stellar Theme Naming: Woody’s clan uses this. His real name is “Crux,” and he has a sister named Cassiopeia. (”Cassie” for short.)

  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Werewolves and Wolvens are both described as having orange eyes.

  • Taken for Granite: Nat and Woody defeat Scale by tricking him into looking at Medusa’s head.

  • Teens Are Short: Averted; Nat has a growth spurt between the first two books, and it’s noted that at 13 he’s almost as tall as his father.

  • Totally Not a Werewolf: Wolvens are basically the opposite of werewolves, with wolves as their Shapeshifter Default Form but the ability to turn into humans. They also have Psychic Powers.

  • The Unpronounceable: The demon's name "which sounds like a scream” (or nails on a blackboard).

  • Vampire Monarch: She’s The Heavy of the second book. Mostly just referred to as “the vampire queen,” even after the protagonists learn her real name.

  • Werewolf Theme Naming: “Crescent Moon.” Possibly just a stage name, given that she’s part of an all-werewolf band called the Howlers.
    • NightShift’s head bosses are Wolven brothers who just use “Wolven” as their surname.

  • White Wolves Are Special: Wolvens are Always Lawful Good and all have white fur, while werewolves are more diverse both in coloring and moral alignment.

  • Younger Than He Looks: Woody is actually only three, but looks thirteen or so in his human form.

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