I Reader, werewolf edition

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I have a weakness for werewolves stories.

I’ve read lots of non-wolf shifter stories too, but while I’ve enjoyed some of them, none of them work as well for me as a good old fashioned lycan.

Unfortunately, I can count on probably two (maybe three) hands the number of werewolf books I’ve actually really liked and I’ve read loads that have been unsatisfying. Why do I keep doing this to myself? I suppose I’m hunting for that elusive ‘something’ that’s really got me in the books I’ve loved.

And what is that something? i think it’s something about wildness, otherness. It can take different forms – a compelling portrayal of animal nature, a genuine strangeness or ‘off’ feeling – but something that shifts (yeah!) my perception of the world and/or characters I’m reading about. I hate hate hate reading characters who are regular folks who happen to shift. What’s the point?

There’s something, too, for me in the world building. I’m not keen on books set in werewolf communities that read like small town romances, with werewolf couples double dating and having community parties or generally being pillars of some werewolf community. To be honest, I’m not even very keen on ones that are all full of laws and customs and stuff. Not big on sonorous explanations of rituals by ‘healers’ or shamans whatever. And too much alpha beta gamma delta exposition makes me sigh.

At which point you are probably thinking: THIS is someone who claims to like werewolf romance? Seriously?

Yes. I am perfectly serious.

I like fucked up wolves. I like characters who are falling apart at the seams because they can’t cope with their recent transformation or because werewolf life is so hard or because they’re forced into a situation that is somehow untenable for them. I want to believe that this is a person character whose actual body has broken apart and re-formed in a new shape. I want to see their two sides, two forms, two natures. I want it to be hard and messy and painful and glorious and joyful and compelling.

So, in this regard, I like:

– the animal savagery and unswervingness of Clay in Bitten by Kelley Armstrong;

– the brutality and short life expectancy of werewolf society in Mathilde Madden’s Silver Werewolves trilogy; and most recently…

– the anxiety and danger and fear that surrounds the transformation of Axton in Winter Wolf and City Werewolf by S P Wayne

These last – the Wayne books – these I have greatly enjoyed, despite a fair bit of POV weirdness and quite a few typos in book 1 (happily largely cleared up by book 2). Plus I liked these books for lots of other reasons than the werewolf aspects – the richly drawn characters, the dialogue, the … the patience of the relationship development.

But this most of all: Axton, an anxious canine, circling, too stressed to change, barking at nothing.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “I Reader, werewolf edition

  1. Misty

    I’m desperately looking for a Historical dark Gothic gay werewolf novel (don’t like contemporary urban paranormal fantasy!) …. something special like “Soulless” by T. Baggins but with a werewolf (terrific book by the way!!!)
    Wouldn’t you be tempted to write such a story !? a lonely werewolf in the Scottish wilderness … just a thought of course …

  2. Um, I hate to tell you this, Misty, but my current WIP is a contemporary urban paranormal fantasy!

    A dark gothic gay werewolf story sounds awesome though! *adding it to the list*

    I loved Soulless too. T Baggins is a talent.

  3. Liz

    Have you ever read Kaje Harper’s werewolf series? It is one of the few I really like. Oh, and Midnight in Berlin by J.L. Merrow has the most twisted, self-hating werewolves I’ve ever come across. Both are excellent.

    (Incidentally, I’m a fan of Kaje and K.J. Charles, which is why I picked up the new anthology, and found you, and devoured your books in short order. You have a new fan.) šŸ™‚

  4. I think this is the first time another author acknowledged my existence! Hell yeah. Since this is your blog and not a review website specifically, I hope it’s cool for me to leave a comment.

    I’m going to immediately check out the other books you mentioned, because:

    *I want it to be hard and messy and painful and glorious and joyful and compelling.*

    yesss.

    That’s the kind of werewolf I try to write–bloody and broken and going on anyway. I want it visceral. I try to write it because I love to read it. I have a handful of short stories that influenced me as a kid, but I’m always thirsty for more. The transformation should be terrible sometimes, or else everything is just too easy. What’s wild about something predictable and sanitized?

    Anyway, I just randomly found this while googling around and I wanted to thank you and let you know how good it feels to be understood.

  5. Yay!! I’m looking forward to this greatly!

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