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review 2016-10-22 13:40
The Last Werewolf ★★★★☆
The Last Werewolf - Glen Duncan

Most books that start out being a miserable read will stay that way. This was not one of those books. My relationship with this book began with profound irritation; the writing style was annoying, the characters were unlikeable, and the international espionage-like plot was the polar opposite of the kind of books I like to read. But as I was soldiering on the minimum 50 pages before I could DNF, something wonderful happened. It sucked me in. I can’t describe why or how, either, because the main character remained an intolerably self-involved navel gazer and the plot continued to be a goofy sort of werewolf international intrigue. Maybe I just finally adjusted to the writing style, because I eventually began to enjoy it. If there’s one thing I did profoundly appreciate about this story, it’s that you will find no heroically romantic werewolves or vampires here. They are all monsters.

 

Also, this is one of the handsomest books I own. It’s why I bought it, originally. The paper is good quality with a classic oldfashioned typeface. I love the simple cover, black with iridescent phases of the moon, and the pages are edged in a dark brownish maroon, like old dried blood.

 

I read this for the Full Moon square in 2016 Halloween Bingo, and this makes my last 2 bingos and achieves blackout.

 

Previous updates:

http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1482293/the-last-werewolf-progress-36-346-pages

http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1482561/the-last-werewolf-progress-89-346-pages

http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1484968/the-last-werewolf-progress-194-346-pg

 

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text 2016-10-19 19:50
The Last Werewolf - progress: 194/346 pg
The Last Werewolf - Glen Duncan

"The morally cosy vision allows the embrace of monstrosity only as a reaction to suffering or as an act of rage against the Almighty. Vampire interviewee Louis is in despair at his brother's death when he accepts Lestat's offer. Frankenstein's creature is driven to violence by the violence done him. Even Lucifer's rebellion emerges from the agony of injured pride. The message is clear: By all means become an abomination - but only while unhinged by grief or wrath."

 

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text 2016-10-14 11:53
The Last Werewolf - progress: 89/346 pages
The Last Werewolf - Glen Duncan

At some point, I stopped noticing how irritating the writing style was and fell into the book. Instead of impatiently waiting for the 50 page mark so I could make the decision whether to DNF, I blew right past it without noticing. 

 

There's still plenty of self-important navel-gazing, but now there's action and interesting insights. 

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text 2016-10-13 20:07
The Last Werewolf - progress: 36/346 pages
The Last Werewolf - Glen Duncan

This is a strange book. It's had some interesting moments so far, but the self-indulgently cynical, world-weary tone the narrator has adopted is putting me off. Plus the international espionage-like plot is boring. 

 

It might be a struggle to get to my 50 page minimum before I can decide to DNF.

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review 2014-10-10 21:37
Review: By Blood We Live by Glen Duncan
By Blood We Live - Glen Duncan

This is an odd beast, so to speak. The last in the Bloodlines Trilogy, it doesn't really focus on any through-thread from the other books, but instead refocuses on the vampire Remshi and his story. Make no mistake about it: This is Remshi's tale, even Talulla's part in it revolves around the resolution to his story. But I still really liked this book, better than Talulla Rising, even though, as a conclusion to a three-book tale, it leaves a lot to be desired in that it is no conclusion at all. I've actually never seen anything billed as the last in a series that leaves quite so much (read: everything) open-ended.

With WOCOP gone, the Vaitcan's gotten in on the action with the Militi Christi, but I never really felt the threat, because they're introduced so quickly and operate on the sidelines, by hearsay and word of mouth, as far as our characters are concerned. I suppose I was just supposed to think CATHOLIC CHURCH BAD! But I didn't. They just seemed like a poor substitute for the disbanded organization that we did actually know something about in the last two books. And, apparently, the world is starting to learn about the existence of vampires and werewolves, a development that... Listen, this is purely personal choice, but when I read slipstream horror and fantasy fiction, I prefer it to be what could be happening just outside of my knowledge; when it completely enters the realm of fantasy by "outing" the mythological creatures, a certain sort of magic is lost for me. It works with, say, The Southern Vampire Mysteries, because it's part of the premise of those books. But here, it felt intrusive (though I admit that this is totally a personal preference). And since it only ever takes place through the first person narration of mythical creatures, you never actually feel the impact of what it could mean; it seems incidental, even at the end when we're told, not shown, that the shit is hitting the fan.

So, what did I like? I loved Remshi. I loved Justine. I felt myself sort of tolerating Talulla's narration to get back to their bits. Talulla's voice has been strengthened, though she still doesn't talk like an American, and while it's not quite as bad as it was in Talulla Rising, the problem is still there, of sounding like a man with different pronouns. Bless Glen Duncan for trying, but I think in trying for, say, a Gillian Flynn-type heroine, he bit off a bit more than he could chew, by way of genuinely understanding the psychology. Justine made me realize how a woman could be written, by Duncan, as damaged and strong, and how prominent, for me, his failings with Talulla were.

I think Duncan's style is such that even the real depth he's imbued in the novel comes off as sort of superficial, gloss, with a typically cynical glazing of 'what is it all for?' And while I like the glibness of his writing, it sometimes undermines its own meaning. The characters from Talulla Rising are still sadly lacking any real, clear personalities (other than Maddy, who deserves her own book series, IMO.) The use of Browning's poem Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came seems an odd addition, and while I understood the message he was trying to get across (futility, the circuitous nature of things, the great ending unknown), it all seemed so arbitrary to have Remshi literally live the events of the poem. Why? It's not like, as he calls it, the Beguilement, the connection of all things; the things he's seeing, that are guiding him, don't appear and he interprets them in such a way. He's literally living out the poem, and that just made me, ultimately, go... why?

But I did like it, in spite of it all. And I'd probably give the trilogy as a whole a solid five stars when read together. His irreverence and his depth, as well as his deft hand with the purplest of prose, recommends Duncan, and the story, and most of the characters are compelling throughout.

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