The time is the present.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.
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.
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!)
*edit: changed most to some... ;D*