28 May 2012

The Wolf Gift- Anne Rice

{YES, I attempted to listen to this book on audio and YES this post contains spoilers, as I am reviewing a book!! LOL! may contain questionable language, discretion is advised! Excerpt below from Good Reads.}

The Wolf Gift

The Wolf Gift

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·   rating details  ·  2,922 ratings  ·  751 reviews
The time is the present.

The place, the rugged coast of northern California. A bluff high above the Pacific. A grand mansion full of beauty and tantalizing history set against a towering redwood forest.

A young reporter on assignment from the San Francisco Observer. . . an older woman, welcoming him into her magnificent, historic family home that he has been sent to write about and that she must sell with some urgency . . . A chance encounter between two unlikely people . . . an idyllic night—shattered by horrific unimaginable violence. . .The young man inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness . . . A violent episode that sets in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation as the young man, caught between ecstasy and horror, between embracing who he is evolving into and fearing who—what—he will become, soon experiences the thrill of the wolf gift.

As he resists the paradoxical pleasure and enthrallment of his wolfen savagery and delights in the power and (surprising) capacity for good, he is caught up in a strange and dangerous rescue and is desperately hunted as “the Man Wolf,” by authorities, the media and scientists (evidence of DNA threaten to reveal his dual existence). . . As a new and profound love enfolds him, questions emerge that propel him deeper into his mysterious new world: questions of why and how he has been given this gift; of its true nature and the curious but satisfying pull towards goodness; of the profound realization that there are others like him who may be watching—guardian creatures who have existed throughout time and may possess ancient secrets and alchemical knowledge and throughout it all, the search for salvation for a soul tormented by a new realm of temptations, and the fraught, exhilarating journey, still to come, of being and becoming, fully, both wolf and man.

So here we are... Lo and behold, an Anne Rice book of paranormal tastes after sooo long. Well, that's what I THOUGHT at least, when I saw this book advertised. I have to admit that a thrill ran through me thinking of all the amazing Anne Rice'ness that I would have being shoved directly into my ears, as I loaded this book up on my mp3 player... I was giddy. I was excited. And my husband asked me when it was all said and done... "Do you think that just maybe... maybe... you had too high of expectations?" Well SHIT YES I DID. I think I may have literally said that in response to his question. SHIT YES. I DID have high expectations, because this is ANNE freaking RICE, people!!! I literally grew up and was raised on her books... everything from Interview with the Vampire (that was published the YEAR that I was born), all the way through the "erotic" books of hers under the pen names Rampling and Roquelaure and the Taltos series AND the Witch series!! ALL OF THEM! Even her funky off the wall books like Violin and Balinda! I have them ALL in hard or soft back on my book shelf, refusing to put them away or take them down because they are essentially a sign of my CHILDHOOD, my teenage years- my formidable years... Anne Rice got me through my highschool emo years, LOL! Her books were my escape, her characters- my fantasies... she was just EVERYTHING to me when I was growing up, so you can understand how utterly thrilled I was to see that she strapped her paranormal big girl panties on and was diving into werewolves... Well... nose diving, rather. This book was just so... wrong. On so many levels. I admit the narrator Ron McLarty had quite the soothing, smooth as silk voice that really brought the book alive, and Rice's attention to detail was there as amazing as ever, but it just lacked so much of everything else, that I *wipes away a tear* DID NOT FINISH THE BOOK! I feel terrible, guilty... but someone I had been commenting back and forth on via Good Reads about this book made the statement "If they can't manage to rate more than 3.5 after several thousand reviews, then they aren't worth my cherished reading moments." So I thought to myself, she is RIGHT! I was spending way too much time TRYING to enjoy this book. TRYING so hard to love it because it was ANNE RICE. No more, I say! No more... The plot is what got me, when it all came down to it. LACK of plot... and this was the last thing I listened to... The main character Rueben (I honestly had to go LOOK to find out what his name was in the other comments of this book on Good Reads... oh gosh!) wolfs out, goes all super hero and saves a bus full of kids and teachers who were kidnapped (do bus loads of people honest to god get kidnapped in this day 'n age?!) and then staggers through a glorious forest... on his "man-wolf" form, eats a few forest dwelling animals, bobcat, fish... you know... bathes in a perfectly placed creek... staggers on some more... finds a CABIN WITH A FEMALE STANDING IN A WHITE FLANNEL GOWN HOLDING A LANTERN in the middle of this no-where forest and has intimate relations with her... like really? In what la-la land does this even remotely sound plausible. I know, I know, I'm reading paranormal... I'm reading something that isn't REAL... but her mixing REAL and silly just threw my brain for a loop, to which I made the final decision to put the book away...

Now I do NOT know this person on Good Reads (and I truly hope that he doesn't mind me showing off his review), but I think I may friend him just because his review of the book was just SOOO spot on perfect for me! I absolutely loved it! Let me end this book review by sharing his thoughts on it, which mirrored mine! (he was nicer, he gave the book 2 stars, and I only gave it 1!!!)

I give The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice this many stars:
★ = Noooope!

Dan rated it 2 of 5 stars false
Shelves: horror2012
A young reporter narrowly escapes being mauled by a man wolf and soon finds himself changing into a man wolf by the light of the moon. He begins taking the law into his own hands and soon has a horde of police and scientists looking for him, as well as others of his kind...

Ever run into an old flame and try to rekindle the spark? For years, I was a devout Anne Rice fan, wolfing down the Vampire Chronicles and the Mayfair Witches books with reckless abandon. After a few years of that, I started seeing changes in our relationship. After a few disappointing books like Blackwood Farm, Anne and I parted ways. Late last year, Anne's path crossed with mine once again when I learned of the Wolf Gift. Could we recapture the old magic?

NO! And here's what went down.

I really wanted to like this book but there are many reasons why I didn't. First off, I didn't care about the main character at all. His name is Reuben, he's 23, and he drives a Porsche. While I'm sure there are likeable 23 year old Porsche drivers, Reuben is not one of them. He's a really bland character with no real traits other than inexplicably having sex with women who aren't his girlfriend and talking like a 45 year old philosophy major.

The rest of the characters are similarly thin. I know I'm supposed to think it's interesting that Reuben's brother is a priest or his mother is a doctor but they are pretty much definied by their jobs. The other man wolves are pretty interchangeable as characters.

The writing isn't very good either. It's clunky and chock full of infodumps. Maybe I'm looking back at Anne Rice's previous work through the rose colored glasses of nostalgia but I can't remember her earlier work being this badly written.

All that being said, I did find some things of value in The Wolf's Gift. I actually like the mythology she's created for her werewolves, the Chrism and so forth, as well as the origin of the species. I also like that Reuben was accepting of the change and started acting like a werewolf version of Batman. The rest of the book just didn't do it for me. It was obviously meant to the be the first book in a series and the climax of the story occurs way before the end.

Sorry Anne, maybe we'll try again in another ten years. 2 stars.

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