Monday, February 27, 2012

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

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.
Like some of us who read paranormals, if we weren't introduced to the genre by Anne Rice, we certainly were weaned on her tales. So, I was excited to see that she was returning to her paranormal roots with The Wolf Gift.

Within this book we also get the philosophical Anne Rice we have come to know in the Vampire Chronicles. However, to me it was not subtlety done as it had been done before, but quite overtly within the inner dialog and perspective we share with Ruben, the main character. For some reason this didn't make me connect with the character and his adventure. In fact, it kept me at arms length from him. And although the overt philosophy was a question of what is good and evil or even morality (as we had seen within the vampire books), the emotion underneath is profound loneliness. To me, that was Ruben's true story. That is what he was seeking to alleviate.

The book does tend to run slow, but it does not stop moving. The writing is Anne Rice. Very visual and you can see every place that Ruben runs. When he meets others of his kind, the loneliness is alleviated and I feel that is where the philosophy really takes off. Again, as with her Vampire Chronicles, we get to meet the creator, the one who could hold all our answers to who we are and why we are here. Unfortunately like every seeker, we find that our answers will never be fully satisfied. For example:
..."We always come back to that~ that both the brutal world and the spiritual world are sources of truth, that the truth resides in the viscera of all those who struggle as well as in the souls of those who would transcend the struggle."
So, yes, as you see, Anne must still be looking for those ever elusive answers to it all and only finding some truths and yet more questions to be answered. And yet, I do have to say her journey has changed a bit and almost seemed more eastern in nature than the western philosophy we found previously.

I give this book 3 stars. If you are an Anne Rice fan, do pick this one up. I think you will enjoy finding her philosophy back within these new monsters she creates in this book.
I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review. No compensation was given.
This is Anne talking about The Wolf Gift
Extra enticement: Joe Manganiello who introduced Anne Rice (wish I was there!)
Google Excerpt:

*edit: changed most to some... ;D*

26 comments:

  1. I came to Anne Rice later in life - I only read my first book a year or so ago. Having a bit of a love/hate affair with her books I'm really not too sure this is one for me.

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    1. I can see that. I don't have a love/hate, but sometimes a love/it's okay affair. LOL

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  2. Oh no... As I get taken in to town square and stoned to death... You know I only read Interview with a Vampire, and I thought Lewis was a whiney little ****! Lol So I've never really picked anything else up by her...

    I DO have her 'Taming of Sleeping Beauty' though!! I haven't READ it, but you know! Lol

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    1. Oh man, it's been so long since I've read anything by Rice. I loved her take on vampires, but philosophical wolves? I don't know about that. LOL

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    2. Ashley... the first book I read was Ramses. You'd LOVE that one, but we only get one book in that series. *sob* I've read one of her risqué books and it was "okay" to me. :) I think if you read at least a few more in her vamp series, you'd find a vamp to love. :D

      @Missie... I knew you'd be the one to love that series! :D

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  3. I've only read the first three books in her Vampire Chronicles. I couldn't stomach or understand her philosophy, which is why I could never finish it even though I really wanted to know what happens next and loved her characters. I'm going to skip out on this one, but it was definitely something I would see if it was made into a movie. :)

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    1. Well, the philosophy does get deeper as the series goes. I think her best ones were her first in that series. I don't know if I'd like this one in a movie format. Didn't care for what they did to her books in the movies (Queen of the Damned). Although I say that Stewart Townsend played a better Lastat.

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  4. I read a few of her Vampire Chronicles books. I didn't finish the series yet not because I didn't like the books but at the time, I think I wasn't ready for them. I'd like to give it another go soon. I'm still on the fence with this one though.

    Paranormal Haven

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    1. I don't think you'd like this one if you didn't like the vamp series. So, I'd give the vamp series a try and then if you did like them, try this one. It has a simular format, only condensed.

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  5. I don't know if it could be for me. It's been a long time since I read an Anne Rice book...(a very long time!). It's difficult when you connect with a character... Well I don't even know if I could understand a philosophical book in english lol.

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    1. It was a long time for me as well, but I used to devour any Anne Rice during her vamp phase since it was hard to get any other paranormals when those were coming out. And as far as your English goes... I bet it's better than mine! LOL

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  6. I have yet to read anything by Anne Rice. *hangs head in shame* I can hardly call myself a paranormal book blogger now can I? Not really. It's too bad this one is a bit slow, but it sounds like the writing is beautiful and the slower pace helps you visualize everything taking place. Thanks for the review Melissa!

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    1. Oh read Ramses the Damned. That is how I was introduced to her books. LOVED that one. So sad it was only one book. I was too afraid to read her Vamp books since it was labeled "horror" and I was a chicken-butt. ;) So, I came to those late, but devoured them when I did. I think you might like those as well.

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  7. Never read one of her books, no mam

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  8. I do want to get my hands on this. As you say, I bit my teeth on vampires with Lestat and Louis (see what I did there?) and while I still prefer the early books to the later ones, I do want to know her take on werewolves! :)

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    1. I also prefer the early ones to the latter ones. AND I LOVED what you did there. ;)

      I think you'll enjoy it and see the theme that I did! :)

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  9. Melissa! That was one fantastic review! I really enjoyed how you went into depth on the psychological POV with Ruben and your descriptions of Anne's past and present narrative!

    All I can say is, Wow - I wanna be you when I grow up, my Chica!

    I've read every Anne Rice book out there, some of them more than once. I loved The Mayfair Witches series and of course The Vampire Chronicles and The Feast of All Saints is one of my favs, too. I have a book shelve with all of her books on it.

    I've been thinking about getting this one but kind of waiting to see what everyone's saying. I've already got so much to read as it is.

    I think I'll wait a while before I get it but I'll definitely read it!

    Thanks for the wonderful review and a HUGE HUG for showing Joe, he's one of my fav werewolves!

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    1. LOL Thanks! Although you really don't want to be me... I'm much too strange from prime time. ;)

      I think you'll enjoy her new book. It is very Anne Rice! :D

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  10. I'm reading this book right now! I love that it's set in San Francisco and that it has provocative existential questions woven into a paranormal story. Plus, I got my copy signed by Anne this weekend!!!

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    1. Were you there when Joe introduced her? If you were I'm more jelly than I am now!! Oh and you'll love the setting. I'm sure you will recognize several places. You know how visual she is with her settings!

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  11. You know I have not read any of her books. And I just heard of this one the other day. Sounds like a wonderful read, even at a little slower. :) Thank you!

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  12. I love Anne Rice (well early works of hers) and I am actually going to pick this one up. I am glad she is going back to her roots for writing. Sometimes she isn't all that subtle but she has such eloquence that is mesmerizing!

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  13. Love Ann Rise! I'm going to have to check this book out!

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  14. Wow, that was a great review! Very in depth! I'm glad you told us about Ruben and how you didn't connect with him and why. I'm not sure I'll read this one if you didn't like it that much. Maybe I'll check out some other stuff that she's written since she came back to the dark side.

    That was a long vlog on her part! Beautiful video though. Makes me want to travel!
    Of course, the video below was better! LOL

    Thanks for sharing all of this with us!

    Heather

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  15. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

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