Sunday, 17 April 2011

The Last Werewolf

Werewolves are my favourite urban fantasy creature and I do like to read different perspectives on the myth. I like my werewolves wolfy, a wolf and human sharing the same body, rather than the wolfman of horror. The werewolf of this novel falls into the latter category; surprisingly human even when changed.

If it were a novel I'd reject it along with all other genre output that, by definition, short-changes reality. Unfortunately for me its reality.”

Kudos to Glen Duncan for writing a literary werewolf novel. I wanted to love it but have come away feeling a bit ambivalent. The majority of the novel is narrated by Jacob, the last of his kind. However a lot of these conversations seem to be happening during sex – which may be described too crudely for some. Whilst sex and violence isn't automatically a bad recipe for a novel, I didn't think it fit with the style of prose which was fairly reflective.

There's a view that the only thing to do with atrocity is chronicle it. Facts, not feelings. Give us the dates and numbers but stay out of Hitler's head. That's all well and good when the chronicler is outside the atrocity. It won't wash when the chronicler is the atrocity.”

The best way to approach this novel is to think of Jacob as a serial killer and forget that his modus operandi is mythical. If you haven't guessed already, it's a rather masculine book and at least is a positive addition to a genre overrun with young female characters. I would probably recommend to male friends over females as well as fans of Thomas Emson.

Filial honour. Forty years ago I killed and ate Grainer's father. Grainer was ten at the time. There's always someone's father, someone's mother, someone's wife, someone's son. This is the problem with killing and eating people. One of the problems.”

I didn't find the plot particularly strong. WOCOP is an organisation that has been hunting werewolves for some time and Grainer, a Hunter, is hoping to seek revenge. Jacob is resigned to his fate and starts saying his goodbyes to the one person with meaning in his life, Harley, who he saved many years ago and has since formed a close bond. I thought this relationship came across as very real and touching however the story soon goes off in a different direction and I think I preferred the earlier half of the book. The ending was a little predictable for my liking but then maybe I read too many werewolf books!
Warning: This novel is not suitable for younger readers, there's graphic sex and lots of swearing including the c-word which I know a lot of people dislike.

3 comments:

  1. I too love werewolfs I have a mammoth book of werewolfs somewhere have you read that?

    Great review and tbh the bad words and adult content wouldn't put me off. I think when horror is your fav genre you kind of get used to it

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  2. I think a lot more people are used to it thanks to shows like Spartacus Blood & Sand but a lot of youngsters read fantasy so I thought a warning was in order.

    I've seen the Mammoth Book of Werewolves around - I also found a free classic about them that I hadn't heard of before "The Book of Were-Wolves" which could prove interesting.

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  3. It's a shame when the relationships can be interesting but the story line isn't as interesting!
    l think both are so important in a book.

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