The Wolf Gift

Written by Anne Rice

Peel: Set in present day California, the story begins with a young reporter is sent to cover a story on an old house for sale. The reporter, Reuben, is enchanted by the house, its history, and its current inhabitant. One bite shifts Reuben’s life, character, and interactions with his family and friends.

This novel was very slow moving and built up a thorough storyline. It didn’t read like a fast-paced crazy paranormal story, and I enjoyed that. After a few chapters, the story hooked me in; the characters, dialog, and reactions all felt very realistic. Rice’s language was light and pretty, and rather conducive to lovely imagery. The book flitted between feeling historical to erotic to violent.

There is a bit of religious preachiness at times. Especially towards the end, the book goes into the explicit origin story, and potential philosophical and religious ramifications. I would have preferred more moral ambiguity in the character’s view of himself. One of the powers he develops is to smell the difference between innocence, evil, and being neutral. This made it far too easy to establish the moral standing of any character. He does bring up some interesting questions in a few of the articles he writes on werewolves, but we never see him grapple with them. Instead, the main character is a nice handsome guy who takes everything in stride. As a warning there is quasi-bestiality and lots of violence.

All in all, she’s a wonderful storyteller and it was an interesting take on the werewolf tale.

Nibble: “As for his father, he saw death in the falling leaves.”

I would recommend this to anyone with a love for werewolves.

My Rating: 8 out of 10 bitten apples

I received an advanced copy from the publisher, Knopf Doubleday, via NetGalley.

Anne Rice’s Site

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A Merman’s Kiss

By Laura Lond

This is a rather short and sweet read about two plain sisters who wish to be wed and gain social status. One sister Leatra is much more adamant about going about this by any means, whereas Ellie is very timid. I liked that the story took on more of a pragmatic tone than romantic{the story is far less romantic than the title suggests}. Both sisters are very plain looking, which made them nice to read about, and they seem off the bat more realistic. Unfortunately the two sisters personalities aren’t flushed out so well, and they come off as flat. On top of that they read very obviously as bad versus good. I would have liked to see both characters less extreme, so that it would be harder to establish who was ‘right’ or entitled to do certain things. Ellie stuck me as the type of character to be content in settling for anything, which made it hard for me to care about her. The side characters were actually more interesting and complex than the sisters. Overall, I liked the idea of the plot. The message behind the story is nice as well, even if not shown in the best light. It also reads rather quickly, in one sitting, and I didn’t find myself bored. Once the story climaxes and a few things are explained, there’s a three year break and then you see the outcome of everything for Ellie. I found this rather dissatisfying as those three years may have shown a more interesting side of Ellie, and developed her further. There’s also no followup on how things ended up with Leatra, and if she changes at all.

I would recommend this story as a fall afternoon read on the porch.

Nibble: “Leatra was so tired of maybes not coming true.”

My Rating: 4 out of 10 plain red apples

I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author via LibraryThing.