"When I change I change fast. The moon drags the whatever-it-is up from the earth and it goes through me with crazy wriggling impatience... I'm twisted, torn, churned, throttled-then rushed through a blind chicane into ludicrous power... A heel settles. A last canine hurries through. A shoulder blade pops. The woman is a werewolf."
The woman is Talulla Demetriou. She's grieving for her werewolf lover, Jake, whose violent death has left her alone with her own sublime monstrousness. On the run, pursued by the hunters of WOCOP (World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena), she must find a place to give birth to Jake's child in secret.
The birth, under a full moon at a remote Alaska lodge, leaves Talulla ravaged, but with her infant son in her arms she believes the worst is over - until the windows crash in, and she discovers that the worst has only just begun....
What follows throws Talulla into a race against time to save both herself and her child as she faces down the new, psychotic leader of WOCOP, a cabal of blood-drinking religious fanatics, and (rumor has it) the oldest living vampire. Harnessing the same audacious imagination and dark humor, the same depths of horror and sympathy, the same full-tilt narrative energy with which he crafted his acclaimed novel The Last Werewolf, Glen Duncan now gives us a heroine like no other, the definitive 21st-century female of the species.
©2012 Greg Duncan (P)2012 Random House Audio
Avid reader; audiobook junkie. Obsessed with Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Eclectic tastes, with a heavy does of sarcastic humor.
This is a sequel to The Last Werewolf, which was a great book with a great narrator. Tallula Rising is a pretty good book with a terrible narrator, which ruined the book for me. I assume Penelope Rawlins is a good narrator for particular roles, but this was NOT one of them. The third book is due out in 2014 and I'm begging Glen Duncan: PLEASE do not use this voice actor again!
Let me elaborate. The main character of this book is a 30-something cynical woman from Brooklyn who becomes a werewolf. The narrator of the audiobook sounds like a 20-year-old girl and has a neutral, middle-East Coast patois, but randomly slips into a Bostonian/Bronx accent with words like "orchard" (awwchud) and "pattern" (pat'n). If the whole narration was done as a New Yorker, she might have pulled it off, but it's so arbitrary that it sounds like an amateur mistake and gets really annoying by the halfway mark.
More annoying is the frequent and bizarre mispronunciation of common words. How can a professional voice actor repeatedly mispronounce "capillary" and "Haitian"? This happened so often that I found myself correcting her out loud, in my car, my house and on the street. By Chapter 20, I was shouting. People stared.
Even so, I have to admit that I really enjoyed the storyline. A warning: the author is rather obsessed with the word "c*nt", and there's a lot of gore (it IS about werewolves), but as long as that doesn't bother you, it's a great storyline. If I had read the traditional, paper book, it would have gotten 4.5 stars.
People who enjoy poor narrators.
The infants. They hardly spoke.
She bit off more than she could chew, so to speak. My biggest beef, besides her sounding like a twelve-year-old, was her constant mispronunciations. Here are two: "Haitian" is hi-eeshun and "reprisal" is "ruh-preezul." And she's constantly mispronouncing words, usually in really awful accents.
My gripe is with the narrator, not the story.
I really (pause) really (pause) wanted to like this book. I absolutely adored "The Last Werewolf". Everything I loved in that book is absent in this one. The tale is told from the perspective of an oversexed, barely adult narrator. She whines about pretty much everything. She is annoyingly introspective, without much experience to look back on.
I didn't much enjoy Penelope Rawlins performance - though I don't think the author gave her much to work with. There is nothing like the lyrical prose of the first book. I trudged on to the end of this work, hoping against hope that something interesting would emerge. Alas, I did not uncover any gems.
This, my friends, is a dud.
Wish I had listened to the audio sample first. The narration is just awful - her performance is just lousy, and her voice/delivery doesn't fit the character/story. Total waste of a credit. Such a shame, as the narrator for the first book was spot on...
I would not recommend this book. The story in this book was not as good as the first book. Just too much randomness and happy accidents. And one of the more interesting story points carried over from the first book (the one that involves a certain old book) was just skimmed over and never really talked about in detail till the very last of the book and even then there was no explanation. My other big problem with it was the narrator. Penelope Rawlins does a fine job reading and the different voices she can come up with are great, except for the voice of the main character. The main character is American and although I do not know for sure I would guess that Penelope is Australian. Americans do not use soft R's nor do they say the word skeletal as ske-ly-tle. This went on through out the book in more ways than I could ever begin to list here and really started to drive me crazy about half way in. It actually got to the point that I would turn the book on just hear how the narrator will mispronounce words.
Blah, not a big deal.
Probably not, unless she is not trying to perform with an American accent.
I am pretty sure I already have. (Underworld.....)
I feel the need to qualify this unorthodox review, and admit I didn't continue beyond 4 1/2 hrs. (so pass on this if you want the complete experience of a listener):
I've filled a few "Swear Jars" in my day; there have been times I couldn't kiss my mama with this mouth; I had the un-cut version of the song "Up Against the Wall Mother F-ers" in the 60's, not proud of it (it was just bad music); I'm not prudish or judgemental, and I fully support the First Amendment...but holy *!#*?*! I just ran into the first object in my life that I find so gratuitously offensive that even the ususal for-art's-sake pass can't excuse this hot obscene mess. The very raw and adult prequel, The Last Werewolf (which I liked - wrote a positive review) was just rough-foreplay in comparison. It too was literally peppered with C-Bomb assaults, dropped every few pages, ...but this was C-Bomb/F-Bomb Blitzkrieg; all shock and no awe. My ears have been vi-o-lated.
If you were to cut every *!?@#! word out of this book (you'd have about 1/2 the bulk), the detailed crude acts alone would still keep this one in the category of #**?&! There is erotic...then there is just plain debasement...then there is this. The crass language and lascivious behavior of Duncan's werewolves are far more convincing arguments for folks to start packing silver bullets than the much less repugnant idea of being attacked, mauled, and possibly becoming one of his repulsive potty-mouthed creatures. (I hope she-wolf Talullah doesn't lick her hind-end with that muzzle.)
Narrator Penelope Rawlins was just as bad as the material she was reading, and her male French accent was painful, or ridiculous. Last Werewolf, for all of its vulgarity, was at least performed by Robin Sachs with his aristocratic-sounding voice, Penelope just sounded uncouth -- any redeeming savior faire that Jake possessed and left as a legacy was mangled by Penelope/Talulla. [*Listen to the difference in the samples provided from each book.] But in fairness, it would take an extraordinarily mellifluous voice to make these words sound nice. After this performance/material, I'd advise her, with sincere concern, to take her mouth through a car wash (which I'll bet she did).
I thought Duncan bravely pushed the boundaries with The Last Werewolf, giving the whole monster-lore an unabashedly brazen beast that was original and "believable." Talullah Rising was one of the books I'd been looking forward to reading, even knowing the material would be borderline hard-core, the language flat-out nasty. I found out I have limits. Too bad, because what I did make it through was interesting, and I feel like I missed out on a good storyline. Duncan, you're a good writer -- WT *#!@%!!*?
I hope that you have better luck, and some Herculean tolerance. *Words do have the power in and of themselves to be offensive, especially en masse. Just ask your mom, your sisters, your wife, your daughters.
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I am a fan of Glen Duncan. I loved ???The Last Werewolf??? and ???I, Lucifer???; so, I was really excited about this book. ???Tallula Rising??? starts less than a year after ???The Last Werewolf??? ends; so, Tallula is still grieving for Jake and about to give birth to Jake???s offspring. After giving birth, Tallula???s child is kidnapped, and the reader is taken on the journey to recover said child. Seems interesting, right? It isn't. Most of this book is spent describing the newborn. Plot development is slow and Duncan continues to have Tallula use British slang instead of American slang even though she is supposed to be American. Because of these constant cultural errors, it is impossible to get lost in the story. Ultimately, Glen Duncan is too male and too British to channel a female American. This is not Duncan???s best work. The narrator also doesn???t help. She keeps dropping accents in the middle of dialogue and confusing accents between characters. If you want to read this book, I suggest buying the text, because as an audio production, it is awful.
I don't often post a wordy review. So when I do, I really felt it was important!
I've listened to The Last Werewolf (the prior book in this series) more than once - the prose is often of a quality that invites reflection, like one may indulge in a particularly fine food.
Talulla Rising is similar, though with a main character who is, naturally since she's much younger, is somewhat less refined in speech and depth of experience - but also less bogged down by the past, and more ruled by the immediacy of her situation. Not yet weighed down by a lifetime or two worth of being a monster, she's, as of yet, free to experience life with new eyes.
It does lead to a different tone at times - it is naturally far less cynical than the prior novel, as bitterness has not had the time to develop. The inevitability of bad things is still present, as it was in the first - and the daunting nature of the world is still there, naturally. Simply expect young Talulla, along with most of the other characters, to grapple without the benefits or burdens of experience alike.
Some may struggle with the vulgarity of the subject matter itself, but it's ultimately delivered with very finely crafted words - just don't expect to be shielded from the nature of the subject matter.
In fact, that someone capable of this sort of verbal depth, combined with a lack of shyness, applies himself to matters often glossed over and given a sparkly, superficial Twilight sort of way, it's utterly enthralling. Some will come looking for junk food, which goes down easy, gives a sugary thrill, feeds a sort of unthinking addiction, so forth. This book, like it's predecessor, feeds more particular and complex tastes - some will love it, and others will reject it outright. But that's where this particular series will inevitably reside - a sharp flavor, which will reward those who can appreciate it.
A few final notes -
The voice actor's style grew on me in time, though the accent for Talulla herself can be a little uneven. A learned Queens style, which only becomes very evident in a few words, a little too evident. Forgivable, though, just overly noticeable.
It's really delightful to have multiple strong female leads - and it's touched on, but not overstressed.
There are certain avenues I really crave to hear more of - but I think I'll need to wait for the next book. The possibilities are clearly there for it, by the end.
I have always enjoyed learning. Opening a book is like opening a door to a new world nearly every time. So much to know and so little time.
This series has been great. What I enjoy most is as your fall into the characters you will, at times be forced to question your own morals and social ethics. Keeps you tuned in and surprises you at the best times. Definite must read.
I liked the first book because it wasn't Sookie Stackhouse, at all. This one, strangely, is. The writing is much weaker and the narrator's vapid style (with frequent, bizarre mispronunciations) matches. I can't accept that it's the same author.
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