CreateSpace Independent Publishing | 2017
Opening Hook: You know how you perform dark rituals sometimes?
Main Character: If a less zany Ace Ventura was a werewolf.
Plot Supernatural-ness: A new world, but we’re keeping Merlin.
Okay, first things first: I do not typically read werewolf fiction because I’m not a big fan of the werewolf mythos unless I’m playing Skyrim and become one to join the Companions, then it can come in handy.
Given the choices that we typically get – vampires or werewolves, pick one! – I am much more into vampires.
Not the sparkly kind who fall in love, and insist on staying in high school forever and just want to do good even if their hearts are cold…awwwww. No. Give me Gary Oldman’s Dracula, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or some 30 Days of Night absolute horror. That to me is so much more interesting and creepy. Vampires are the first horror monster to scare me as a child, making me pull the blanket up to my neck at night as if that would protect me.
People who turn into big, scary dogs is just kind of weird. But I get the appeal to horror fans.
That being said, this book is pretty decent even for a werewolf hater like myself.
It starts with Thomas Spell and his sexy girlfriend getting into some crazy shit in Paris, which leads to him getting bit by a werewolf. Five years later, said girlfriend is dead for mysterious evil reasons and Thomas is living under a new name, Ben Ramsey, and looking to his friends in science to cure him while also running a side job as a pet detective to barely pay the bills.
One thing this book definitely has going for it is non-stop action. There is literally no downtime. Once shit starts happening it doesn’t stop happening. Oh for fuck’s sake, I’m going to start singing Smash Mouth…
Anyway, so Thomas is doing his thing as Ben. Waking up having killed some dogs, being a murder suspect of some people in a park late at night, running away from a German dude and a black cloud of evil smoke, breaking up a dog fighting ring and hiding a red magic jewel from Merlin’s staff. You know, the typical.
A+ for all the crazy shit. It was a ride and a half.
So, why only 3 stars? Well, I’ll tell you.
One, I found the writing to be choppy and lacking in cohesion. The characters are bright and funny and unique, but the conversations don’t flow in a readable way, the emotions are too extreme as if out of nowhere and character development feels like we jumped into the middle of a conversation instead of being brought up to speed with some natural introductions.
Like, suddenly Thomas/Ben is in love with his friend Penelope 60% of the way through the book but there was literally no build up to that, nor do I have any real idea why that would be. It just is.
I like my stories with a lot more emotional subtly and character development.
The transition between events, chapters and scenes is clipped, most of the time confusing me about how we got from point A to point B. Also, I fucking hate dream sequences. Thomas/Ben spends a lot of time moving chapters along by passing out, maybe having a weird dream, and then waking up to be confused about if he’s done something murderously bad.
The writing flow was abrupt, lacking explanation for scenes and events. And it actually takes a huge chunk of the book to even fully say that Thomas/Ben is a werewolf. It’s maybe kind of implied with flowery descriptions, but that’s it.
Overall I was really missing a few choice moments or scenes that are direct and clear for the reader. It can’t all be dancing prose.
Also, speaking of Thomas/Ben, my biggest issue with him is that he’s spent five years functioning the way he has. He becomes a werewolf, then the story jumps five years into the future, taking us to Chicago where only now, after all this time, is he worried about possibly killing people? He doesn’t keep track of full moons or have any system in place for protecting the people around him. Hell, as soon as Oz figured out he was a werewolf on Buffy he was all over the moon chart and locking himself in a cage. And he was a high school student.
But for Thomas/Ben, he is classified as a lazy slacker adult – which is totally fine – but that shouldn’t translate into the werewolf aspect of his life for so long. If he was going to take control over anything, it should have been at least protecting people from his transition into a stone-cold killer covered in fur. The consequences of not doing this should have been obvious sooner than five years later.
It’s a nagging inconsistency for me. As is using the word “esophagus” instead of “trachea.” You can’t squeeze someone’s esophagus unless you’re literally reaching into their chest.
Am I a picky reader? For sure. But only because I like a story to be well thought out and the right words to be used.
Reading this felt like the writer was in a rush to get the thoughts in his head out onto paper. Is it fast paced? Yes, and I loved that. But there are opportunities for quiet moments filled with connecting thoughts to give the characters, and the reason for their existence, a more robust, thoughtful explanation that further emotionally connects the reader to the story, and broaden our understanding of this fantasy world that is being created.
Overall, if you like werewolves, you’ll like this. Thomas Spell/Ben Ramsey is funny and snarky and it gives the seriousness of his “condition” levity, and room for the reader to become interested in his journey instead of feeling bogged down by the heavy issues. The mythology being created is a different take on the werewolf lore – it’s fun, fast and an easy read.
A midnight ritual by a secret society in the English Countryside nearly costs Thomas Spell his life. He returns home to Chicago to find that he carries within himself something unspeakable – a condition for which he believes there is no cure until he meets Penelope, a beautiful and brilliant pre-med student determined to heal him. But The Brotherhood searches for him still, convinced that he holds the key to unimaginable power. As his life begins to spiral out of control, Thomas is forced to confront his own past, as well as the dark forces closing in on him and everything he holds dear.
Book source: The author in exchange for a review.