Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

Book:  The Wolf Gift
Author:  Anne Rice
Publisher:  Knopf Publishing Group
Date:  February 14, 2012
Source:  Netgalley
My grade:  C+

A daring new departure from the inspired creator of The Vampire Chronicles (“unrelentingly erotic. . . unforgettable.”), the Lives of the Mayfair Witches (“Anne Rice will live on through the ages of literature”), and the angels of The Songs of the Seraphim (“remarkable.”). A whole new world—modern, sleek, high-tech, and at its center, a story as old and compelling as history—the making of a werewolf, re-imagined and re-invented as only Anne Rice, teller of mesmerizing tales, conjurer extraordinaire of other realms, could create it.

The time is the present.

The place, the rugged coast of northern California. A bluff high above the Pacific. A grand mansion full of beauty and tantalizing history set against a towering redwood forest.

A young reporter on assignment from the San Francisco Observer. . . an older woman, welcoming him into her magnificent, historic family home that he has been sent to write about and that she must sell with some urgency . . . A chance encounter between two unlikely people . . . an idyllic night—shattered by horrific unimaginable violence. . .The young man inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness . . . A violent episode that sets in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation as the young man, caught between ecstasy and horror, between embracing who he is evolving into and fearing who—what—he will become, soon experiences the thrill of the wolf gift.

As he resists the paradoxical pleasure and enthrallment of his wolfen savagery and delights in the power and (surprising) capacity for good, he is caught up in a strange and dangerous rescue and is desperately hunted as “the Man Wolf,” by authorities, the media and scientists (evidence of DNA threaten to reveal his dual existence). . . As a new and profound love enfolds him, questions emerge that propel him deeper into his mysterious new world: questions of why and how he has been given this gift; of its true nature and the curious but satisfying pull towards goodness; of the profound realization that there are others like him who may be watching—guardian creatures who have existed throughout time and may possess ancient secrets and alchemical knowledge and throughout it all, the search for salvation for a soul tormented by a new realm of temptations, and the fraught, exhilarating journey, still to come, of being and becoming, fully, both wolf and man.

My Review

Oh how I love Anne Rice!  I fell in love with Louis in Interview with a Vampire and then went on to love Lestat even more.  Honestly, Queen of the Damned is one of my favorite books of ALL TIME!  I eventually gobbled up every other supernatural novel that Anne Rice wrote:  The Mayfair Witch novels, The Mummy, The Servant of the Bones.  I read every single one of the vampire novels.  All of them.  And I loved all of them.  I even bought the official guides to The Vampire Chronicles and The Mayfair Witch novels.  I read them from cover to cover.

So when I saw that the gothic horror queen herself had taken on the werewolf genre, I was beyond excited.  After all, who could write a better werewolf novel than Anne Rice?

To say that I am disappointed doesn’t even sum it up.  I expected great, great things from this novel.  Instead, I found myself on page 300 of a 384 page novel and I realized I didn’t really care about any of the characters.  I could have put the novel down and probably not thought of it again.

Obviously, I did end up reading until the end.  Luckily, the last 50 pages redeemed this book somewhat.  And it needed that.  Because in the first 100 pages I had to keep looking at the title to make sure I hadn’t accidentally gotten my hands on a superhero comic.  I kept imagining bad ink drawings of a superhero who looked like Teen Wolf in a bad spandex outfit with a giant W on the front.  Nope, not even kidding.

The story was alright.  I mean, it was fairly slow-paced but it kept moving.  I found that I could read for a while and then put the book down without feeling like I just had to get back to it.  It certainly did not keep my family from eating meals (for which I am certain they were grateful!).  When I read Anne Rice’s vampire novels, I would sit and read until I was finished.  With this one, I didn’t.

The last 50 pages was the best part.  Margon’s story was the one redeeming quality for this book and if she writes any more wolf novels that will be the only reason I would pick them up.  Hearing more of the history of the wolves would be interesting, but I don’t think I could read another book this tedious.

Since I normally only review YA on here, I do need to let my readers know that this book definitely has more sexual content.  I mean, it’s not erotica, but there is sex and it is described.  Just be forewarned that it is, indeed, an adult novel.

My grade for this is a C+.  The last part of the book managed to get the + added on, but I have read much better Anne Rice novels and much better werewolf novels.  If you love vampires, you can’t go wrong with Anne Rice, but if you want to read a fantastic werewolf writer, pick up Kelly Armstrong instead.

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