Etienne is the son of a lord in the kingdom of Armorique. He goes to train with Geraint of Lucanne, as his page, in the hope of becoming a knight. But Geraint has a secret - he is bisclavret, a born werewolf. Etienne - experiencing certain supernatural tendencies and visions of his own - must deal with both his Lord’s and his own secrets. What follows is a romp through medieval landscapes, encounters with ancient Celtic mythology, a touch of romance, and just a good old-fashioned story of betrayal and discovery.
Werewolves are all the rave now in YA literature - those fangs and clipped wings have fallen to the power of the claw (thanks, Jacob Black). I love werewolves, and the mythology that surrounds them - all full moons and animal instincts and the man giving way to the beast (on a side note, one of the movies I can watch over and over again and love it just a little more every time is Dog Soldiers - check it out, it's a great werewolf movie and great human characters). So it's great to see an Australian author having a decent go at the genre and even shaking it up - drawing on her own myths and folktales to create a werewolf lore that isn't just a rehash of what we've read and seen before.
When I first started reading I thought the writing was perhaps a tiny bit clumsy - I can't help analysing everything from my own perspective on writing (for eg: that isn't how I'd write that etc). I also got a bit lost over who was who and what they did. But I quickly got sucked into the intrigue and the mystery and just the great sense of discovery and adventure Wolfborn has. There is some great scene-setting of the forest and castle life, and Etienne's encounters with all the fay beasts have a good sense of awe and otherworldliness. The myth and the reality (Etienne's quest to help Lord Geraint) blend well, and the pacing is good. Bursztynski has created a likeable and charismatic character in Geraint, and so it is easy to invest in the race to save him.