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Review of The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

I have been a longtime fan of Anne Rice, her heartbreakingly beautiful vampire novels forever changed how people viewed the undead and continue to be some of the greatest books ever written. So of course, when I discovered that she was coming out with a werewolf book I was beyond ecstatic for a new tale and a new perspective on our beloved wolves. The moment The Wolf Gift hit bookstore shelves I rushed for my own copy – and I was not disappointed.

The Wolf Gift tells the tale of Reuben, a young man who is bitten by a mysterious beast and is quickly transformed into one himself.  We follow Reuben as he is caught between ecstasy and horror, between embracing who he is evolving into and fearing what he will become, as he learns everything that comes with what he considers “the wolf gift.”

The Wolf Gift is a flawlessly written werewolf novel, Anne’s writing is as poetic and awe-inspiring as always. Every scene can be visualized perfectly, every emotion expressed clearly, you can’t help but get lost in this magnetic tale. Anne has the ability to make the most horrific topics seem darkly beautiful. She captures the depth and significance of every twisted moment in a way that isn’t crude or tasteless, but real and moving. Even the brutal and gory death scenes were not raunchy or gratuitous, they were powerful scenes with an actual purpose. Many werewolf novels and films feature mindless monsters that go on completely random and pointless killing sprees, but while Reuben does kill, it is most certainly not a mindless act. Every death played a role in the moral debate that takes place in this book, every death added to the story.

There were many things about The Wolf Gift that I found impressive, but one of the best was that Anne made werewolves her own instead of going the cliché route. Her werewolves are realistically powerful, they are not controlled by the full moon, they retain their human thoughts and emotions while in wolf form, their change from human to werewolf is not excruciating but rather beautiful and orgasmic, and most importantly, Anne’s werewolves can sense evil. That ability is the basis of this story. Reuben’s power to sense evil and his desire to destroy it is the heart of The Wolf Gift. The arguments on what evil really is are highly fascinating and thought-provoking. Though honestly, it must be exhausting in Anne Rice’s head, with so many complex questions spinning round and round. But at the same time, those tough questions, the ones that do make you stop and think, are a rare treat in books today. So I applaud Anne for challenging her readers.

Overall, I absolutely adored The Wolf Gift. It was a powerful and rich werewolf tale like none other. I highly suggest it, I guarantee it’s not like any werewolf book you have read before.

– Moonlight

About the Author
Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to werewolves and other supernatural beasties. She writes for top genre sites like Vampires.com and Werewolves.com. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and you may lose a limb. You can stalk her via her Twitter.

 

By moonlight

One of the writers for werewolves.com, as well as vampires.com.

17 replies on “Review of The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice”

I was kinda disappointed. The beginning was pretty good, but…

**SPOILERS**


I thought it would have been much better to end in a tragedy. I love how the main character is split and can’t decide what’s right and what’s wrong. It seemed to me that we were supposed to sympathize with the human part of Reuben, that killing is still wrong regardless of the circumstance. But he keeps killing, which can only lead to his downfall. Except it doesn’t.

Instead, we get poorly-developed (at that point) villains at the climax of the book, who lose to the deus ex machina (or rather lupi ex machina). His rescuers then completely resolves all his problems–his family, his ventures, his mistake–everything. It just seemed that all the internal conflict within Reuben was for naught because everything tied up too neatly too quickly.

And then we get pages of history and backstory about the werewolves, which no longer has anything really to do with the rest of the story. All it did was to set up for a sequel. It seemed so much better to me to just kill the main character and show that he cannot play god. Now instead, the ending suggests that it’s okay to play god, to the judge, jury and executioner, as long as the ones you punish are truly guilty.

** END SPOILERS **

Overall, the story is okay. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t a werewolf fan, mainly because the werewolf part of me was the only part that liked the ending. To the rest, it seemed like The Wolf Gift made a mistake in its resolution. I’m going to get the next book (which there probably is one) just to see what Rice has in store, since playing off this ending is going to be hard.

I don’t think The Wolf Gift is gonna put werewolves at the top like Anna Rice did with vampires with her vampire novels. I’m already reading reviews stating this novel is pretty much a chessy, campy, cliched version of Spider-man or some 50’s superhero comic book. sigh. I was hoping werewolves will get their due, but the hope is just too astronomical.

You will always have those who love it and those who hate it. Everyone interprets a book a different way. Personally, I loved it. :) It was in no way cheesy or campy, and totally not cliche.

I agree with what your saying, but i still don’t think this novel is gonna have the same impact as her vampire novels; I’m starting to think the werewolf genre of literature ever will.

You’re right, it has themes similar to Spiderman, but it presents it differently and not in comic book form. It didn’t seem cheesy or campy to me, and didn’t think it was cliched (though I didn’t read Spiderman). I thought werewolves did “get their due,” until the ending, that is.

I don’t think The Wolf Gift is gonna put werewolves at the top like Anna Rice did with vampires with her vampire novels. I’m already reading reviews stating this novel is pretty much a chessy, campy, cliched version of Spider-man or some 50’s superhero comic book. sigh. I was hoping werewolves will get their due, but the hope is just too infinitely remote.

I disagree.

It’s not reinventing or solidifying the formula that will put werewolves on top. It’s making sure that the story is well told, the characters feel real, and the situations actually make you feel for the characters.

Maybe the indie scene will have better luck?

“Original?”

Is this review some kind of sick joke?

There’s nothing original about this werewolf mythology. It’s the same watered down, romanticized garbage that romance novelists have been cranking out for years. It’s Goldenwolf mixed with Twilight.

This isn’t a romance novel at all, and I assure you, it is NOTHING like Twilight. Perhaps you should sit down and read it yourself.

I could easily point you towards someone who you could describe as exactly that: Goldenwolf mixed with Twilight. Rice’ work is leagues above that person, and in fact is not even comparable.

From what I’ve read so far, the book is pretty average. I’ll have to wait and read the whole thing to be sure of that. However, I see what you mean. The werewolves coming off as a bit too spiritual in nature. That’s an anthro trope, which yes, Goldenwolf is famous for and helped popularize. But, I don’t see much Twilight in this.

Nicholas Pekearo did it before Rice.

Frankly, he did it better too. The Wolf’s Gift was seriously lame, same old stuff I’ve been reading since someone shoved “Blood and Chocolate” in my face. I don’t know if it’s funny or dispicable the way Anne Rice shit all over previous werewolf books and movies in her interview, pimping her werewolves as 100% original and then basically just retread everything from the Sookie Stackhouse novels to the Kitty Norville series to Spider Man to any number of inane “urban fantasy” tripe. Rice may have reinvented vampires but with werewolves she’s just lore from the opposite end of the spectrum and ran with it.

Nicholas Pekearo may have basically just lifted his mythology from the old Universal Horror films but he never had the gal to claim otherwise and he certainly wasn’t childish enough to take potshots on the giants whose shoulders he was standing on, unlike Rice. Frankly, he framed his werewolf in a way that was more unique, entertaining and frankly likable than Anne Rice could ever hope to.

It’s only a shame that he died before he had a chance to continue on with his series.

I finished. The book now and remain unsatisfied. The concept is good, the actual writing is fine but the storyline is filled with many unrealistic events and many of the characters were rather pretentious spouting philosophy and morality while examplifying a a rather shallow and inconsistent grasp. Killing people diminishes as a moral crisis and indeed their killing escalates unchallenged to the end. Then there is killing of animals because they can as if they are beneath consideration or compassion. We then have the rather ridiculous and rushed origin story harkening back to her vampire days. Frankly she should stick with vampires in all their pretentious glory.

meh, the only sure thing i like about the story i hear so far was the werewolf concept. I’m not going to lie, i never liked vampires, being over romanticized, and i didn’t like Anna rice helping out with it. but she gave werewolves a little credit to go with, the werewolves were by all means badass, it was just the story was too bland and not well paced and played off as a superhero origin story. if Reuben had more angst and struggle with his change instead going all vigilante the story would have bean more better. ….the immortality does seam sweet though…..

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