________________ CM . . . . Volume 21 Number 20 . . . . January 30, 2015


Over My Head. (Wildlings, Book Two).

Charles de Lint.
Toronto, ON: Razorbill/ Penguin Canada Books, 2013.
377 pp., hardcover, $21.00.
ISBN 978-0-670-06534-9.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.

**** /4


“You son of a bitch!” I yell.

I come up off the sand, done with playing around. But before I can even take a swing at him, he grabs me by my throat and lifts me from the sand. I dangle like a doll in his grip. My head’s still ringing from the tire iron. Now I’m seeing stars and I can’t breathe. But I can’t get loose. Every time I try, he gives me a shake. Just before I black out he tosses me back on the sand.

I lie there wheezing, I’ve never run into anybody this strong before and I don’t know what to do. I want to kill him for what he did to Lenny, but I play it smart and just lie there, catching my breath. Gathering my strength.

He hunkers down, sitting on his calves. There’s no emotion in his face. He doesn’t say anything, just stares at me.


Over My Head, a sequel to Under My Skin, is the second volume in the “Wildlings” trilogy about a 17-year-old high school student and his friends living in Santa Feliz California where they are experiencing an unusual phenomena. Teenagers in that town are turning into what is called “Wildlings”. They have the ability to shape shift into various animals. The main protagonist is Josh Saunders whose animal shape is a mountain lion. Unlike the first volume, where the story was told from two points of view, in this book, we have four viewpoints. Again we hear from Josh and his good friend Marina, plus Des, another friend, and Chaingang, a rougher acquaintance with gang connections. Des is the only one not a Wildling.

     In this book, the teenagers are up against an outside force rather than just the FBI. One of the almost mythical beings called the Old Ones is unhappy that some of the shape changers, called “cousins”, think of Josh as a possible leader or savior. He has declared war on the newly created wildlings and seeks their death as well as bringing back the old ways before modern humans (five fingers) took over.

     Set in the surfing culture of California, the story follows the teens’ wild adventure as it sinks deeper into mysticism while becoming involved in street gang warfare and the normal problems of home and high school life, like bullies, bickering siblings and divorced parents.

     The book, at 377 pages, is broken down into a large number of fairly short un numbered chapters, identified only by their titles under the point of view of the character the reader will be following: Josh, Marina, Des and Chaingang. The chapters range in length from two pages to much longer. Getting inside of four heads, and following their separate stories, gives the audience a far wider view of what is happening.

     Very well written, Over My Head is a page turner of the sort you hate to put down, yet don’t want to read too quickly and shorten your involvement in the tale. It comes to a satisfactory ending, but you know quite well there is a lot more of the story still to come and enjoy. Even though the main human/wildling characters are teenagers, adults will also find this a gripping and interesting adventure.

Highly Recommended.

Ronald Hore, involved with writers groups for several years, dabbles in writing fantasy in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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