Monday, 19 December 2016

Review: Rise of the Werewolf by Mike Tufo

It's been a while since I succumbed to the lure of werewolf stories, mainly because finding good ones is such a challenge. But when I saw a plethora of good reviews for Rise of the Werewolf (Lycan Fallout #1), I had to take a look. The author promised that although the novel stars the same protagonist as his earlier zombie novels, reading them would not be necessary to enjoy this werewolf storyline. To a degree, he was correct.

The story begins with what can perhaps be called a time jump from the zombie series: Michael Talbot, the half-vampire protagonist of the earlier series, spends a hundred and fifty years in the basement of his home, grieving the fate of his family. His only nutrition are the cows and other animals that his old friend brings him once a year that Michael drains to stay alive. Until he doesn't. One year, the friend brings a puppy instead and Michael finds it impossible to consume the little creature. Instead, he begins to rediscover his will to live. And then his friend comes back and tells him that he did that on purpose and Michael is needed in a fight against a new threat to humanity: lycans and werewolves.

The first novel in the series begins with a trope (a pet rekindling someone's will to live), but continues a bit more interestingly as it introduces the world that is being repopulated by humanity after the zombie fallout. Michael meets old friends along the journey, but they are sometimes confusingly introduced to those readers who are not already familiar with them, references being made to other friends (e.g. Eliza) who appear to have either died or disappeared in past.

Worst things first: The writing is very uneven - there are several places where the author has simply used a wrong, similar sounding, word where he means to say something else (e.g. sheared<>sheered, spurred<>spurned, phased<>fazed). I was often distracted from the story by my tendency to use the Kindle reporting function to report all the typos and mistakes as I went along. I gave up with the missing quotes, commas and other punctuation, but tried to report most of the other problems. The worst was a complete repeated chapter. The author should definitely either reread his own text or hire an editor.

The pacing and storyline are pretty decent and would likely keep the reader interested if only the writing and language were up to the task. As it is, after I began to ignore the mistakes, I started to enjoy the relatively straight-forward story a little bit more. Michael Talbot's sarcastic attitude amused me (even though it is such a basic gimmick) and his struggle to keep his friends safe and sound was something that I could relate to. However, the author is a bit too keen on shock effects, especially describing horrible things being done to children and other innocents. The trick was used a bit too often to drive in the point of how horrible particular Lycan antagonists or werewolves were and lost its power along the way.

The concept of Lycans and werewolves was new to me: in this, the Lycans are a separate species capable of infecting humans with a werewolf virus. Werewolves themselves are helpless in their werewolf shape and will attack and kill whoever and whatever they encounter, but can never infect anyone. The relationships between Lycans and between them and the werewolves were somewhat intriguing, which also helped to keep the reader's interest up despite the language and grammar problems.

Overall, I'd recommend this book only to very enthusiastic werewolf-fans who are willing to work as part-time proofreaders, or are capable of turning a blind eye to such issues. My overall score reflects the grammar problems and typos and might be half a point better if these issues did not exist.