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Rueben, the Renaissance man, reluctant werewolf, continues his paradoxical struggle with his transformation into the world of the Morphenkinder, aka Man 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.
42 of 51 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
A better narrator
What could Anne Rice have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
It had been so long since the first book had come out that I didn't remember the characters
How did the narrator detract from the book?
His voice didn't change with the characters and I couldn't always tell who was speaking
Any additional comments?
2 of 2 people found this review helpful