I’ve not read much werewolf fiction before, and not a great deal of Anne Rice either (I’m thinking Queen of the Damned, and Interview with the Vampire) so whilst I knew some of her writing, it wasn’t a lot. As such, I didn’t exactly know what to expect when diving into The Wolf Gift.
MAN OR MONSTER?
Anne Rice reinvented the vampire legend.
Discover what she’s done with the werewolf myth.
After a brutal attack Reuben finds himself changing. His hair is longer, his skin is more sensitive and her can hear things he never could before.
Now he must confront the beast within him or lose himself completely.
That’s literally the only synopsis I found, and it’s not exactly detailed for such a big book, right? The version of the book I had was over 500 pages. This isn’t something that I usually pay attention to – the length of a book has no bearing on how good a book can be.
In this book we’re introduced to Reuben, a 23 year old with a doctorate in English. He’s working for a local newspaper, and every seems to love him. Oh, and he’s very good looking. Apparently. He’s travelled to a place called Nideck Point to interview a women selling a mansion that’s been in her family since they arrived in the America’s .
Naturally, not only does he want the house itself, he also sleeps with this woman. Despite having a girlfriend. And not exactly knowing the woman, Marchent, either. (This becomes a theme, sort of. Sleeping with someone he doesn’t know despite having a girlfriend). They are attacked in the mansion and Marchent is killed… but then something weird happens and a big dog comes in and kills the attackers, bites Reuben and then runs off. There’s no evidence of this dog except that it killed the intruders.
Naturally, this is the start of the werewolf side of things, and I like that Rice doesn’t invoke typical werewolf lore here. There’s not a change at the full moon, although to begin with it happens every night for about a week and a bit. But it can be controlled, and Reuben learns a lot of things that are going on by himself. As he transforms he’s attracted to the scent of evil, killing those who are committing evil acts – rapists, kidnappers, torturers – those kind of things. He hasn’t exactly lost his mortal compass in killing these people, but he’s not exactly torn apart by it when he returns to his human form either.
In the middle of a forest, in the middle of the night he comes across a house with a woman. The woman looks at Reuben in his wold form, and for some strange reason decides the most logical course of action is to sleep with him. So she does, and they continue this a lot. It’s basically a book with a lot of animal sex but it’s okay because he’s a human really sort of thing going on.
There is an actual plot as well. Except that this book read so much more like an internal narrative that everything that happens just doesn’t have the right feel to it. The secondary characters are treated more as an afterthought than anything integral to the main story.
There’s a lot of references to luxury goods as well. I mean lots. If Reuben was looking at his phone, it was always referred to as an iPhone, the DVD players and sound systems were Bose, the car he drove was a Porches. (I don’t even know if I spelt that right!). It’s alright to mention these things, but over use makes them feel tedious and ‘oh hey look I have this and maybe you don’t’ sort of thing. I got tired of reading them.
The relationship with his first girlfriend in the book didn’t feel like a real relationship – which perhaps was the point as it was so easy for him to cheat on her. There was a theme of that running through their relationship anyway, but there was nothing tangible to relate to that relationship in the first place it makes you wonder what was the point of writing about it. It would have been more effective to have written their relationship as a good and close friendship instead.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?