I usually don't leave reviews, but in this case I had to, just to warn people.
First off, it seems that the author was desperate and hungry w..Show More »hen writing this book. Almost 60% of the entire story is made up of descriptions of sex and then food. There is regular sex, animal sex, soft sex, hard sex, loving sex, lusty sex... The list goes on. Then, there are long-winded descriptions of ordering food, eating food, and preparing food, down to salad preparation (usually followed by more sex, see above).
I mean, I don't have a problem with sex and food, I'm a single male, but I'd like a little progression of things. The author sets up a nice werewolf story, and then instead of progressing it AT ALL, it's just sex and food and not much of anything else. Meanwhile, there are all these questions posed, but none answered. I can't believe an editor told her this was a "book" and worthy of publishing.
I listen to books while driving to work, and with this one, I would be sitting there ready to drive the car into a telephone pole while rolling my eyes. The overly descriptive and repetitive sex and food are enough to drive you nuts, especially when the story is moving at a snail's pace. Perhaps she got paid by how many words she used or the overall weight of the book? I want things to happen in the book, but I find myself sitting there through sex scene, food scene, "love you" dialog, sex scene, food scene, fireplace scene (don't even get me started on how much time is spent playing with fireplace).
The dialog also shows that the author perhaps needs to interact with people more, and leave her mansion? She is completely out of the loop. No one talks like that in real life, and she writes the dialog as if the reader is 15 years old and will buy that. The way the character talks to parents is ridiculous, it is sooooo contrived, and also the loving talk with his gf. I mean, it would be nice if guys talked like this, but it isn't the case. Even movies these days know not to make up dialog because the audience calls BS. Not to mention, everyone in the book is "extremely handsome" and "beautiful'. Plus, what is with the very young and handsome main character having sex with several older (but very beautiful!) women? I mean, I'm not a brain surgeon (but I would like to perform some on myself while listening to this book) but I'm not buying this whole "older woman, younger handsome man" idea from an older female author. OK, maybe I would buy it once, but seemingly this ridiculously handsome guy just goes around jumping on amazingly good looking older ladies who throw themselves at him. Seriously, get over yourself and write a believable story, older author lady. All the "good" people are pretty and all the "bad" people aren't, its as if this was written by a five year old.
Finally, we have the fact that all the characters are extremely rich and well off and drive around in Porsches and live in mansions and throw money around. Great, we get it, the author is rich and completely out of touch. But after hearing the word "Porsche" about 400 times it gets old. I don't know, but when I talk about my car I don't call it "the BMW", I just called it "the car", as in "I'm getting in the car." or "they got in the car", not "I loaded up the Porsche" and "as he drove the Porsche". The author must have just purchased a new car or something because it is ridiculous how she can't get over it. I mean, I drive a very nice new car too but I just do not refer to it by the model/make like some stuck up crazy person. I think she also is turned on by the iPhone, or she got crazy money from Apple for product placement, because once again, she throws that word out there like its a raft to the drowning reader. Somehow I don't call my phone "the iPhone", I just call it "cellphone". Once again, this only becomes a barb in your eye when you hear it 400x over and over again.
Anyway, this is a classic example of terrible writing from a talented author. Either she put in zero effort, or she just has gotten too old to write, or she wrote this on her iPhone while driving to a date with a beautiful younger man in her Porsche after purchasing an older mansion in the woods somewhere. Either way, there is nothing of value here, especially when it is easy to see that the author has talent in setting up a plot and making descriptions, but then is completely unable to stay on track or actually keep their out-of-touch views from ruining it all.
Rueben, the Renaissance man, reluctant werewolf, continues his paradoxical struggle with his transformation into the world of the Morphenkinder, aka M..Show More »an Wolves, now surrounded by the gentlemanly old-school wolf pack. He's moved into the bequeathed Nideck mansion, is doing well with his Man Wolf lessons, has a new loup-garou love interest for his animalistic amatory side, but is haunted by the painful memory AND the spectral manifestations of his one-night stand love, the beautiful now ghostly, benefactor Marchent. Marchent is "Earth-bound" and hanging with the Forest Gentry until she works out the glitches in her ascension to the other side.
Did I mention it is the Yuletide season?!! Oh, it is -- for about 14 hours of the 16. The Man Wolves renovate the mansion and surrounding *village,* plan a Midwinter celebration feast for the local population, and string miles of colored lights. (This is the true horror of this book... stuck at Westworld-like Medieval Times and being schooled on all the minutiae of the period: roasted wild boar, mead and mincemeat, antique rag dolls, Battenburg lace, wooden puppets, and mummers...with an infinite loop of Greensleeves playing. Where's a hungry Man Wolf when you need him?) If it takes $1.5 million to maintain Downton Abbey, the Man Wolfs make the Grantham/Crawleys look like paupers; they are gazillionaires with an over-the-top penchant for decoration -- when they aren't taking care of magnanimous depradation or ritualistically frolicking naked among the ancient redwoods.
I 'd like to sit down with the spiritually diverse Ms. Rice...say maybe over a pina colada at Trader Vic's, or a big dish of beef chow mein from Lee Ho Fook's...discuss philosophy, Germanic neopaganism, her conversion from atheism. I'd sit with her for days until she got it all out of her system; I'd do it in memory of Lestat and Louis, and for all the reader/fans that yearn for the Anne Rice from the Vampire Chronicles. With that out of the way, I'd love to talk to her about what she does best -- writing gothic-fantasy-horror, creating epic characters and their complete cosmology based on universal myths and lore, how she layers her books with her knowledge of history and a keen eye for architectural and atmospheric details. Once she understood that I meant her no disrespect, I would start a conversation about the importance of an author distancing her personal obsessions from her work, and the need for professional editing to avoid a bloated theological treatise, over reliant on superfluous imagery that suffocates the plot.
There actually is a good story here, and it does set up some interesting possibilities for the concluding book, but you have to suffer for it. If you barely made it through Wolf Gift, you probably won't make this installment -- unless you are obsessed with Medieval set decorating. If determined but reluctant--skip through the decking the halls. They say horror done poorly becomes comedy...this is borderline, at times causing me mental images of a super-hero Man Wolf, sniffing out evil, and devouring the evil-doers down to "the last knuckle" before dragging himself to confession. I crawled to the finish line with hope that the final book makes the often uneasy reading task, so far, worth it.