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Werewolves

Werewolves vs. Vampires

Werewolves have been a more tricky sell in the literary world than vampires. (Even though vampires are getting to be a little done.) Through out the history of the genre, Vampires come out every night to romance humans into giving up their blood through a deadly bite on the neck. What could be a more romantic way to die in the arms of a monster?  Wolves can be a little messy. In the tales, vampires have more history from living hundreds and even thousands of years. The old ones can tell us stories from the long forgotten past since they are themselves living history. One of my favorite vampire novels is Pandora by Anne Rice, which deals with a vampire living during the time of the birth of the Roman Empire. I love a good historical/monster/vampire novel.

Werewolves are a different beast. Pun intended.

Like vampires, the nature of werewolves varies from novel to novel and series to series. The wolves can be huge beasts that mimic prehistoric mammals; they can be a man/wolf hybrid that walks on two feet; or they can be your regular real world wolf taking the definition that a werewolf is a man that turns into a wolf literally. Werewolves differ in their nature as a predator as some attack at random in a frenzy of hate and hunger while others have control over their transformation. Through all their differences and similarities vampires have had the edge over werewolves for a very long time even though the folk tales for both monster dates back to the same time period.

This year I read my first two werewolf novels (vampires 25 : werwolves 2) and I would like to share them with you. First:

Frostbite
by David Wellington

I came across the galley for this book about a year ago and read it this summer. It is a quick read, but carries a very engaging story. The nature of the werewolves are very different from what I am used to reading in other novels that include werewolves. In this world a werewolf does not change only at the full moon. It changes when ever the moon is out and with that change comes a tough battle between the human and the wolf. This story takes place in the deep wilderness around Alaska and Canada, which means that as the moon goes through its phases, like the sun, it approaches a time when it does not set, keep the wolf in power longer than the human. Both wolf and human hate each other, but are stuck in the same body that will live forever unless it is killed.

The writing in this book is not the best I have seen, but the story is strong and the imagination is original. I like what Wellington did with the werwolves in that he brought them into more of scientific/lunar realm answering the question why do werewolves only turn on the full moon. In making the wolf and human hate each other he creates a character that is both a blood lusting killer and a victim. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to try out a werewolf novel or to anyone whom likes werewolf novels.

There is a sequel that I have ordered through my library and hope to read soon.

For anyone interested in reading more novels by David Wellington he is quite the horror writer. Check out his other books here.

The Last Werewolf
By: Glenn Duncan

First, this guy knows how to write a novel. I did not hear about this book until recently and when I did I had to bump it up to the top of my book pile skipping other novels that have been waiting patiently for more than a year. It received a lot of hype this past Spring before it was published in July. I heard about it from a from a friend of mine and then read about it at one of my favorite book blogs, here. Having read Frostbite earlier in the summer I wanted to double-down and try my luck again with another were-book. The cover and pages of the book also look incredible with the red trim and black jacket.

This was the first book I have read by Glenn Duncan who has also written Death of an Ordinary Man, The Bloodstone Papers and I, Lucifer. I am now ready to read more of his work after reading this thrilling novel that is very gothic/romantic. Every page had a new surprise and the nature of the werewolf was the exact opposite of Frostbite. The difference can be likened to the vampires in Twilight Series to those in The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. In this world, the man has control, but must live by the hunger, lust and animal urges of the wolf.

This book also reminded me of Interview with the Vampire in how it was written and in the voice.  It is told through the journals of Jacob Marlowe who is, as the story begins, the last werewolf. All of his kind have been hunted down and killed, by a paramilitary organization, leaving him as the last. Similar to what we find in most vampires stories, Marlowe tells us the story of his life, about how he was turned, when he was turned and how he had to leave his old life behind to survive through time never aging in more than 150 years. There are scenes of lust and scenes of love that may seem strange and cruel, but thanks to the clever writing we understand the mind of the wolf. In understanding we again see the werewolf as both the villain and the victim that we love and hate.

The best part about the book is the language and how Duncan develops the story through the words of the main character. Duncan knows how to tell a story and tell it well with strong prose that at times reads like poetry. It might be a little hard to get into, but once you get use to his writing style you will see that it is the way the novel needed to be written and how the story was meant to be told.

The book ends with a hint of a sequel, which I shall be eagerly await.

Give me your thoughts on these novels and another other werewolf literature you care to share.

Happy Reading,

ORB

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