I’ve started to group some of my reviews based on topics.  I have my science books (God, I love science), I’m sure to have my groupings of particular authors (McCammon, Koontz, Barker etc.) and now I’m starting my werewolf strata.  I’m sure I’ve said it before but I love werewolves.  Werewolves have always been cooler than vampires or ghosts, even demons and hell spawn rank below my wonderful moon howling beasties when it comes to my supernatural loves.  Robert R. McCammon still has the gold (in my opinion) for best werewolf novel, The Wolf’s Hour (which I keep saying I will review and I will).

Now I know many may be confused; I’m an outspoken atheist who loves science and rational thinking and going to skeptic conferences but give me a good horror novel any day.  My opinions have become a little strange and hard for me to even rationalize as I’ve gotten older and wiser (and more educated) so this review may need to be updated every once in a blue moon when I argue with myself about a piece of it, or if one of my loyal readers (I do have one or two believe it or not) brings up a good point to contest with me.  That all said on to the review, of one of the worst novels I’ve read in years.

Anne Rice has written it.  The Wolf Gift is Rice’s “gift” to the werewolf genre.  Now I cannot deny she rewrote the literature when it came to vampires, Lestat is just as synonymous with vampires as is Dracula, and rightfully so.  I love Lestat and his adventures, movie included.  I can’t say I was enamored with the Mayfair Witches but  Lestat and Co. … downright brilliant stuff.  She is some writer.  She was some writer.

Reading this was like enduring the Star Wars prequels, being such a fan of the universe you had to watch the new ones right?  But as they kept getting worse, and then Lucas started retooling (let’s be honest; fucking with) the old ones, it got harder and harder to bear.

The story takes place in present day San Fransisco and our hero is a young reporter who speaks in a fashion befitting royal snobs in a forgotten era.  Every once in a while Rice tries to support Ruben “the sunshine boy” and the other casts ridiculously overladen vernacular with wisps of something along the lines of their education or background or the fact that Ruben; just has a way of words and that is why he is an amazing reporter ????  yeah, didn’t hold for me either.

So Ruben is writing a piece on this grand estate belonging to a gorgeous woman whose uncle has been missing for decades and the house is being sold.  He wants to buy it and he can, ’cause his family is rich; and he sleeps with the beautiful woman within hours of meeting her.  He muses on whether or not sleeping with her is right or wrong because he has a girlfriend, but he’s sure she’ll understand (he can’t be expected to say no to such a stunning woman right?)  I know I know, I should put my values on the characters I’m reading about, they do what they do and you’re not expected to agree with all they do.  However it was how it was written, we are supposed to be on this young man’s side and we haven’t been with him long enough to understand where he may be coming from to agree with him on this.  Anyway the house is broken into and Ruben and Co. are attacked by a wild animal but Ruben left alive soon to come face to face with changes that make him feel alive.  He has been given the wolf gift.

So Rice begins to give us some elements of present day science and then creates odd deus ex machina (I don’t know what the plural would be) to wave it away.  Our hero / werewolf can smell evil and now we have a wild animal horror creature we can root for.  I shrug my shoulders not really enjoying the book as a whole but it’s a werewolf, what can I expect (they all can’t be the Wolf’s Hour).

Then some really weird shit happens; this werewolf has 100% human cognitive functions in wolf form, he uses a cell phone for christ sake!  He meets a woman in the woods that not only is not afraid of him but beckons him into the house where they fuck!!!  while he is a FUCKING WEREWOLF!!  And he also attends confession while in werewolf form.

I’m reading a book about a man who turns into a wolf and hunts bad guys and I’ve hit a mark where I say this is RIDICULOUS !!!

The book begins an up trajectory when Rice begins to create an anthropological and evolutionary history of the werewolf … genus ??  There are characters that I really liked and wished the book was more about them than Ruben (don’t worry after he cheats on his girlfriend with the second woman, our resident zoopheliac, the girlfriend goes and hoods up with Ruben’s bff and all is good).

Too bad the few good things happened towards the end and not before and instead of the confession and werewolf on human copulation.

This is to be a trilogy and like the Star Wars franchise I will read them even as my eyes bleed.  At least I can always pick up my copy of the Wolf’s Hour (and the subsequent short stories McCammon has written since revolving around my all time fav werewolf).