Sunday, 16 February 2014

Review - The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

I have a weakness for werewolf stories, especially the ones where werewolves are not depicted as all-out evil monsters/killers. Therefore, I picked up Anne Rice's The Wolf Gift with somewhat elevated expectations, even though I had been warned that it was not that great a story.

Overall, the main attraction of this novel was the concept of werewolves that Anne Rice has cooked up, mixing some older concepts and adding in a bit of her own. Unfortunately, practically all other story elements fail: the characterisation of the protagonist is shaky (23-year old with a job who still somehow lives at home and doesn't seem to mind it - behaves occasionally half his age and occasionally twice his age), the story is uneven (series of events, rather than a cohesive story), and the storytelling is filled with repetition (to make the book longer, perhaps). The climax of the story is the worst of all, the end dragging on far longer than it should. It is basically one very long discussion between the main characters where they tell what werewolves are, where they come from etc. etc. Some of this information should really have come out earlier in the story, in smaller doses.

The concept of werewolf is bit of a deviation from the traditional, and for the most part Rice's werewolf acts more like a wereape - climbing trees and jumping between buildings with uncanny agility and dexterity. Although the jumping would be possible for wolves as well, the fact that Rice's werewolf seems to spend more time up in trees than on dry land was something that bothered me to an extent - but nowhere as much as the writing style in general did.

I'd recommend the novel only to those who really like werewolf stories and want to know what Anne Rice has to say in the genre. For anyone looking for good fiction, this is not a novel to read.