A Review of The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice
"Oh, if the moon only had a secret, if the moon only held a truth. But the moon was just a moon."
For those of you who love Anne Rice's infamous vampires, you're in for a treat with her new novel about werewolves. Yes, nowadays all we hear about is vampires versus werewolves, especially with the Twilight series, but this book features a wolf man that is nothing like the classic beasts in the media and sadly, no, there aren't any of Rice's beloved vampires.
Reuben is a twenty three year old, blue eyed dreamboat trying to make his way in the writing arena as a reporter now that he has finished up his master's in English. His latest assignment is to go see the Nideck house of northern California; a mansion that is old, beautiful, and deliciously tempting for the young poet-at-heart. He is supposed to write a piece to help sell the place but finds more than he bargained for once he takes his first steps onto the property. Not only does he fall in love with the home, but he also falls in love with its owner, Marchent, who recently inherited it from her uncle, Felix, who disappeared mysteriously decades ago.
The first night spent there seems a dream as he makes love to the owner and realizes that this is the place he wants to be for the rest of his life. He awakes in the middle of the night to see Marchent on the phone in the office, goes back to sleep, and is awoken again, suddenly, to the discovery that killers are in the house. As he tries to save his new lover's life, he is beaten nearly to death. Still, Reuben is just conscious enough to realize an animal has come, bitten him, but left him alive, whereas the robbers are brutally torn apart in its rampage and Marchent is already dead from a knife wound.
"Dogs know the scent of fear, don't they? Well, he knew the scent of helplessness, and the scent of rage."
With this tragic event come gifts that would have been impossible for Reuben to have imagined receiving before entering the Nideck mansion. Not only does he receive the great house as an inheritance from Marchent, but he also gets the wolf gift and all the power and responsibility that come with these two prizes.
Here is where Anne Rice's creativity shines as she takes the classic werewolf and, like her vampires before him, gives her werewolf her own twist that makes him much more intriguing for the reader to follow. I'd read that she'd done a considerable amount of research into werewolves in order to write this story and so this is what intrigued me to read it in the first place. It really shows, with references to stories hundreds of years old as well as those as recent as Jack Nicholson in Wolf. In the novel, she points out that:
"lycanthropy was perceived by many historically as a mental illness in which you imagined you were a wolf and behaved like one; or some kind of demonic shape-shifting in which you did indeed become a wolf until someone shot you with a silver bullet and your lupine body changed back to human form as you died..."
Calling himself a man wolf instead of a werewolf, Reuben finds that he is everything but what those of his kind have been perceived by the media to be. He is always able to remain conscious of his actions while the animal part of him takes over every night, contrary to popular belief. Most importantly, the moon has no effect on him, although he has no control over the change when it takes over each night. He is completely bulletproof and his strength is beyond any animal or human's. Above all else, he learns that the voices he hears in his head all day, and even louder when in wolf form, are those of the innocent and the evil. He can also smell evil and delights in destroying it with his claws and fangs in the most graphic ways possible just to satisfy providing justice and saving the victims of his own victims from harm.
"The werewolf was not a wolf, no, nor a man, but an obscene combination of the two, exponentially more powerful than either one."
With his new wolf gift, comes questions as to what is right and wrong and how he defines himself. Is he good because he destroys evil? Or, is he bad because he eliminates the wrongdoers in much more brutal ways than humanly possible? Is he still human or is he now an animal?
These questions all surround the mystery as to the animal that bit him back at his first night in the Nideck mansion. No one knows where it came from or where it went but, in his search to define himself, Reuben feels he must find the one who gave him the wolf gift, which may just be tied to the Nidecks in more ways than one.
Promotional Video For the Book of Anne Rice Discussing The Wolf Gift
Sequel to The Wolf Gift
Reuben's story continues for Rice fans October 15, 2013 with the release of the 416 page sequel, The Wolves of Midwinter. In it, we can expect to delve deeper into the new supernatural world that the our hero has been thrust into.
© 2012 LisaKoski