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(El don del lobo 01) El don del lobo (edition 2014)
by Anne Rice
The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice
No current Talk conversations about this book.
I'm over Anne Rice. I guess I'm just not a kid anymore.
"The highest truths a person could discover were rooted in the natural world."
Reuben Golding, is a twenty-something cub reporter working for a San Francisco newspaper who has travelled to Mendocino, a four hour drive outside the city, to write a story about an old mansion situated in the cliffs overlooking the Pacific on the edge of a redwood forest. Rueben is shown around the property by the niece of the previous owner who recently had inherited it from her uncle who had recently been declared dead having disappeared some twenty years beforehand.
Almost immediately, Reuben falls for both the house and decides to buy the property for himself. Luckily for Reuben he doesn't have to rely on his salary as a journalist because his parents are wealthy and he has a healthy trust fund.
After a few hours of conversation and dinner Reuben and Marchant, the niece, spend the night together. As Reuben enjoys a post-coital nap, Marchant updates her will leaving the estate to him but shortly afterwards she is murdered by her drug addict younger brothers. Rueben is stabbed by the brothers but his life is saved when a werewolf suddenly arrives it kills them instead. Rueben is bitten by the werewolf during the rescue and is turned into a werewolf soon afterwards. The rest of the novel follows Reuben attempts to adjust to his new powers.
Just like other depictions of werewolves, Reuben transforms into a hirsute humanoid with a wolf-like appearance, rather than an actual wolf; one with an out-sized appetite for violence; and one who is much stronger than either a human or a wolf could ever be. However, Rice's werewolf differs from the Hollywood stereotype in that Rueben doesn't simply become a mindless beast who goes on killing sprees. Instead, he only attacks wrong-doers, a rapist, the kidnappers of a school bus full of children, a woman abusing an elderly couple, a man who has just murdered his wife and is about to kill his two young daughters and some homophobic gay bashers. Reuben can control his animal urges and channel them for good.
Now I should point out at this juncture that this book is a long way from my usual reading choices and generally I wouldn't tackle something from this particular genre. This is also my first book of the author's that I've read.
I found the first two-thirds or so of this novel a decent piece of escapism despite a lack of real atmosphere or character development. However, the final third was something of a let down.
Now I believe that Rice was asking, whether or not it is ever right for individuals to take the law in their own hands? Was the 'Wolf Man' a vigilante or a mass murderer who had set himself up as judge, jury and executioner?.
"Pride is the parent of destruction; pride eats the mind and the heart and the soul."
Reuben and his gift had the potential to make for interesting reading but Rice spent far too much time and energy on theological, scientific, philosophic and ethical speculation (Rueben's brother was a priest, his mother a surgeon, his father a poet and his girlfriend an attorney) that the plot rather stalled and became clichéd. It got mired down on whether Rueben's transformation was hormonal, a religious curse or a blessing, one that had a moral and legal considerations or as he saw it himself a 'gift'. A book that started well but ultimately disappointed.
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A young reporter on assignment is attacked and bitten by an unknown beast in rural Northern California and begins a terrifying but seductive transformation into a being with a dual nature, both man and wolf.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.54 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
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I wanted to like this book, but I couldn't. My first problem was that I didn’t care about the main character at all. Reuben is 23 years old and works as a reporter. He talks like a 45-year-old philosophy major and having sex with women who aren’t his girlfriend; he is a bland character with no real traits. The rest of the characters are thin. That Reuben’s girlfriend is a lawyer or his mother is a doctor may seem interesting, but their careers define them a lot. All the rest are pretty interchangeable.
As for the writing, it is not stellar either. Besides being clunky, it’s replete with info dumps.
One positive is the mythology she has created for her werewolves, the Chrism, and so on. That Reuben accepted the change and became the werewolf version of Batman also impressed me. My interest in the rest of the book did piqued, but it did not captivate me. The Wolf Gift intended the first in a series to be the climax of the story.
It just wasn't my kind of book.
You can also find this review on my blog: Click here ( )