Ever since the rise of the Harry Potter books, the fantasy genre has been overrun by "Young Adult" books. Personally, I am sick to death of angst ridden teenagers, coming of age, and rising hero stories. Really. I'm a grown-up. No matter how popular the book is, if the main character is under legal drinking age, I'm probably not interested.
So when "Books on the Nightstand" featured this book, I couldn't wait for Audible to get it. Glen Duncan is an amazing writer. This is a book about growing old, finding love and a reason to live, and the pain of loss. There is mystery and intrigue, betrayal and alliance. Oh, and there are werewolves, vampires and lots and lots of sex.
Robin Sachs blends his beautiful voice and lovely accent with Duncan's amazing prose. It's a wonderful piece.
The reader performance is first rate. The book is first rate.
This is a book for grownups. If you love a good horror novel, written by a talented author, this is your book. If you're uncomfortable with the horror genre, move along. This book is not about asexual vampires, in love with teenage girls. It doesn't have non-threatening homo erotic themes. This is about monsters, werewolves and vampires who eat people and the terror of that idea. It's about a character who makes peace with, and embraces the horror of his nature.
Yes, there is sex (really hot, steamy sex). Yes, there is gore (really hot, steamy gore). I only wish Audible had more titles by this author.
This is one of the best books I've read (or heard) in quite a long time. Between the brilliant story-line and Robin Sachs' wonderful narration, this audio book offered an incredibly engaging and sensually rich experience. As soon as I finished the story, I began searching for more books on Audible by Glen Duncan, but, alas, this was the only one. I may have to actually pick up a paperback to get another juicy dose of Glen's writing.
What a great listen!! I first heard about the book on NPR's On Point a few months ago. When one of the guests recommended this for a summer read, Tom Ashbrook responded with more than a bit of incredulity to a book about werewolves. Fast forward two months and he's got him on the program!! Enough said. Really a terrific book, extremely well written and Robin Sachs was fantastic as the narrator. Even if you're not a fan of the genre, but like good literature, I think you'll enjoy this one.
I was initially skeptical about this book when I read a review in the NY Times. But an NPR interview with the author made me bite (haha). I was absolutely hooked on this book from the first sentence. Duncan writes with such abandon and deep passion for these characters, it is impossible not to sympathize with and root for Jake Marlowe, the last werewolf of the title. Robin Sachs was a superb narrator, bringing just the right essence to each character and carrying me right along with the story. And it is the story that is king here - a real plot, a real cliffhanger ending
Can a book be both literary and genre? Yes. Can it be both successfully? Yes, see: The Last Werewolf.
I originally heard about this book via an NPR review and it languished on my to-read list for a long while until, when in need of my next book, I reviewed the synopses of the books on my to-read list. This one finally had it's turn to be what I was in the mood for. I loved it from the word go. The Last Werewolf was, for me, a perfect fit between what I was in the mood for and what the book (and the wonderful reader since I listened to this one) delivered. Beginning this book was like slipping into a warm bath mood-lit by aromatherapy candles, perfectly steeped cup of tea in hand. Or whatever your perfect scenario might be. I'll admit that my tranquil depiction makes for a strange juxtaposition with the violence and gore of the book, but such was my satisfaction with starting The Last Werewolf.
For starters, Jake Marlowe is a werewolf. And,I don't mean a Twilight werewolf, running around with no shirt, well-oiled muscles glistening in the sunlight kind of werewolf. He is an ancient, pragmatic, animalistic, savage monster who has no delusions that he is anything else. Glen Duncan wrests the werewolf from the teeny-boppers and the romance novels, and successfully returns him to the horror category. It is Jake's acceptance that he is an evil monster that makes him so unnerving: he is neither an unthinking beast (quite the contrary in fact, since the whole book is filled with his musing and ennui) nor is he in denial of the monstrosity of his true nature. In fact, the frank tone with which Jake describes killing and sex add to the discomfort.
The potential reader should be aware that this book is graphic. I blushed more than once. There is sex in this book, but it is not the sex of romance novels; there are no corsets, or 'throbbing members' here. There are, however, multiple mentions of the c-word. Be forewarned.
A Note on the Audiobook:
I often wonder what I may have missed by listening to the book that I would have gained if I had read a physical book. e.g Would I have enjoyed that passage more if I had re-read it? Not so with this book. I believe that listening to this only enhanced my enjoyment. In fact, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it at much if I had read a physical copy.
Smart, dark and entertaining, I couldn't stop listening. Paranormal Romance for the intellectual set.
The narrator's voice is hypnotic.
Glen Duncan is a master story teller with an extraordinary flair for use of language; which can only be described as melodic sophisticated and seductive. One can actually feel the wolf inside Jake trying to emerge and heave a sigh at his sheer exhaustion of having lived life for so long - the descriptions are that good! This is an intelligent read and even if the story weren't that good - it would be worth the read to experience the writing style. The combination of this type of writing and an excellent story line which is fresh and innovative make this one of my top three reads -- ever!
Robin Sachs did an outstanding job as narrator and the dry british intonation and humor in several parts were laugh out loud funny. The narration was also much apreciated in the french accent of one character and italian accent of another also in the voices of two women lovers. There were times where the accents flowed in conversation with three or four characters at the same time -- absolutely amazing!
The most memorable and surprising moment was when he learned that he was not the only.......
My favorite scene was fairly early in the book where Jake describes the full moon pulling at him like the Virgin Mary..................
One of several classic scenes and lines in the book.
Incredible sadness when the vampires killed his foxes.....you could actually feel his sense of loss.
This is an incredible book not to be missed. Intelligent, fresh, imaginative, and sharp - no teen lit shallow story line here. Bravo Glen Duncan and Robin Sachs - really incredible! Thank you both for a great book and read that resonates!
This was a genuinely well-written, serious adult novel. Dark, emotionally complex, often violent (not gratuitously so), but with a redemptive message. Sachs gives a gorgeous performance.
Maybe a Hemingway or Steinbeck novel, except that the main character is a werewolf.
Sachs did a beautiful job. His resonant British baritone was perfect for the character of the werewolf. The only slightly off note was when he had to read dialogue by women. His falsetto was inevitably somewhat distracting and a bit annoying, especially with the American accent that he sometimes had to put on. Not his fault, certainly-- this guy's voice is just unavoidably male.
Perhaps . . . The triumph of love over cynicism and despair?
It's not for kids. I love fantasy books, and often read them with my 12-year-old son (even the dystopian novels). But I'm glad he didn't read this one. This is NOT a book for kids, or even adolescents. It's very emotionally and psychologically adult, very dark -- there's quite a bit of sex, which is graphic and completely unsentimental, and sometimes juxtaposed with brutal violence. So, don't read it with your kids.
This book reminded me of Lev Grossman's "Magician" novels -- urban fantasy that read like literary novels. Yes it's graphic in terms of sex and violence, but how can you have a werewolf story without them? To my mind, that's the point of horror fiction: to take what we fear in our mundane lives and to exaggerate it for effect, I liked the narrator's performance as well; his deadpan delivery matched Jake's world-weary ennui perfectly. Looking forward to listening to more of Duncan's audiobooks, as they become available.