After saving the day at the end of WOLF TOWER, it looked like Claidi was all set for a happily ever after. However, her peaceful life is shattered when she’s kidnapped and held hostage in a clockwork castle. It’s up to Claidi to rescue herself and escape—assuming, of course, that the handsome prince of the castle doesn’t annoy her to death first.
WOLF STAR is the best written book in the Claidi Journals series. The story is more complex than “follow the hot guy” this time around, and Claidi spends most of the book in one location. As such, there’s more devotion to her character arc and world-building instead of describing constant scenery changes. Claidi’s forced to develop actual social skills this time, as her problem solving methods in WOLF TOWER amounted to “be snarky” and “sulk somewhere else”. The irony between her situation with Prince Venn and her treatment of spoiled nobility in WOLF TOWER is particularly delicious, with the added bonus of him being one of the most complex characters in the entire series and certainly the best love interest.
On the other hand, WOLF STAR just doesn’t have the charm of the original. Claidi’s wit comes from her naïve reactions towards new things, but this time around she’s limited to the various moving rooms in the castle. The novelty wears off fast, leaving little to distract from the fact that Claidi is kind of a brat.
Furthermore, the flaws of the second half of the series stem directly from the plot twists from WOLF STAR. It marks the shift from a vaguely dystopian landscape into an overtly steampunk/futuristic scifi setting, which isn’t bad in of itself, but technological rewards begin replacing emotional payoffs in consequence. It’s also responsible for introducing Ustareth, the worst character of the CLAIDI JOURNALS. Explaining why would be a major spoiler, but rest assured that she is reasonable for the stupidest elements of the entire series. All of them.
At the end of the day, it's a not terrible book. Tanith Lee was an excellent writer and she shines here. Sadly, sequels only get worse from here on out.