Posts Tagged ‘werewolves’

Yes, I know. I didn’t post anything on September, and the Evil Parrot will gladly admit to cocking up big time. Was pretty busy at work (yes, the library gets pretty hectic) and then I went to Vegas. Aye, gun ranges galore and jamming with rock bands at the Fremont Experience (Element 67 and Alter Ego crushed it). Everything else falls under the “whatever happens at Vegas” grouping (spoiler alert: not much, since I’m very chill). So I shall make up for my September misdeeds and offer you not one, nor two … but THREE reviews and since it is October, they are all Jonathan Janz stuff. Yes, it is like a book review grindhouse (and yes, I may have aged myself, since most folks may not know about grindhouse movie theater days … where you paid to see TWO movies instead of one and they consisted of violence, gore, and the occasional sexploitation). Great son and dad moments (and I mean that). But enough about Vegas, grindhouse movies and other such bollocks and let’s get on with the blooming review. Yeah?
I am being spoiled by Mr. Janz. Within a two year period, my book review blog has become littered with his stuff. And I’m about to do some more littering. So much (awesome) horror writing. And after every book, I’m like Kirsten Dunst in Interview With the Vampire: I want more. And it seems as if Mr. Janz is more than happy to oblige. If we ever cross paths, Mr. Janz, there is a pint with your name on it my good man.
The cover and the title , Wolf Land, spares little in alerting the reader what this book is about: werewolves. But be warned there is, a disclaimer in the beginning of the book (yes, I kid you not), promises that this is not those romanticized tales of werewolves … dear heavens, no. Feel free to put thoughts of Kate Beckinsale running around in body hugging latex out to pasture … then again … Alas, it gets quite dark, and viciously disturbing. Even some horror book taboos may have been crossed (if there is such a thing). Aye, there is more than just fictional victims being ripped to shreds here. The story begins with a bunch of former high school mates meeting up in a wooded area (it always a wooded area … what gives Janz) for some kind of party. The usual bollocks: kegs, beer, barbecues and hopes of shameful, drunken bouts of the old in-out, in-out. Sometime during this gathering, a stranger crashes and intrudes on the party goers. After taunting them, he changes into a werewolf and attacks them, and it is quite a vicious scene. Some die and a few survive. Among the survivors are an odd assortment of characters: Glenn Kershaw (a jock type with a cool Vette); Joyce (a librarian … YES !!! … that has a crush on Glenn); Duane “Short Pump” Mckidd (an occasional butt of jokes); Weezer (a typical wimpy, loser type); Savannah (a single mother with an adorable kid named Jake); and Melody Bridwell (who is secretly being used as a weekly rape toy by her father and four brothers … yes, you are reading right and the dark stuff hasn’t even been touched as yet). Now unlike that usual bollocks about the full moon, these werewolves can simply turn due to triggers that could be atmospheric, emotional or possibly certain foods (I’m not spelling it out and ruining the story for folks). There is even an interesting twist to this tale where some of the turned survivors not only change physically but psychologically. Some turned out to be latent psychotics and used their new-found abilities in terrifying and very, very disturbing ways. Sides of good and evil are drawn, and like most Janz books the bets are off on just about everyone. Try not to get attached to ANY of the characters. Though some wankers do
get their due, there is enough piles of bodies that would leave most folks shaking their heads at the end of the book … and wondering about the next book. And think people were shocked over the Red Wedding in Game Of Thrones. And yes, I did go there GoT folks.

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I across this book in my stacks and was immediately drawn to it. Did it whisper to me as so many other books seem to do, you might ask? Yes, and I don’t think I’ll ever need electro-shock therapy. I just might need to get out more. Possibly, date. Maybe.
Set in 1880 St. Louis, we are introduced to Jacob Tracy: a seminary school drop-out, and a veteran of the Civil War that has recovered from his war wounds and vicious morphine dependency. Ah yes, Mr. Tracy has the uncanny ability to see … and speak to ghosts. Along with his partner, a former slave named John “Boz” Bosley, they encounter the strange and enigmatic Sabine Fairweather who hires them for a job: to find a certain rosewood jewelry box that belongs to her. But in the Weird West there is no such thing as straight forward mission and some things are more than they seem. Soon Jacob and Boz are plunged in a world of ghosts, demons, werewolves and vampires as they do jobs for the enigmatic Fairweather. Aside from being their employer, Ms. Fairweather seems to have knowledge and abilities of a supernatural nature. It is what keeps Jacob drawn to Ms. Fairweather, since it seems that she might hold the clues to his true abilities. In every battle that Boz and Jacob encounter, there is one name that often surfaces: Josef Mereck.
Mereck runs a circus that employs people of various supernatural capabilities and even though, on the surface they are probably used to entertain, in the big scheme of things they are being used as supernatural weapons in the most terrifying ways.
Messinger in her debut novel has a good handle of the Weird West, from the lingo to the characters. It the Wild, Wild West in the most terrifying of ways and every page turned sucks you in as Tracy and Boz’s battles grow more intense and frightening towards the final meeting of Mereck.

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It’s that time of the year. The Christmas cards were out for sale since October. There are rampant cries of “Black Fridays” afoot. And retailers indulged in materialistic lust, whilst the Nativity story (birth of Christ) stood in the backdrop. Yes, it was the sounds of Christmas in the air. Twenty-first century style. But enough about me being snarky and cynical about the season.

When we last left our hero, Reuben Golding (in the Wolf Gift), he had just inherited a sizably mansion on Nideck Point and he was with his new love Laura … both having received the Chrism that would make them full-blown werewolves. Though Reuben has grown into it, Laura is still merely fledging getting to know her new-found abilities. Under the watchful eyes of Thibault, Margon, Sergei and Felix (also known as the Distinguished Gentlemen), they are slowly guided into this new life as Morphenkinders. But in the supernatural world the dust never quite stays settled. Soon, Reuben is being troubled by the sudden emergence and visitings by Marchent’s ghost. To add to this poor sod’s misery, his ex-girlfriend has announced that she is pregnant with his child – a child that was conceived prior to his turning. What’s werewolf to do? I’m afraid a stint on the Maury Show is not in the cards on this one. Sorry, couldn’t help that. The main focal point, however, was the Yuletide celebrations that was orchestrated by Margon, for the entire Nideck Point. This was something that was so exquisitely described by Ms. Rice with such extravagance that it made most red carpet parties sound mere bollocks and surprisingly put me in the spirit for Christmas. I know what you’re probably saying: “how in bloody hell does a book on werewolves, put you in the spirit of Christmas?” Trust me, a considerable amount of pages (mostly in the central part of the book) was devoted to what could possibly the most decadent Yuletide celebration ever described that it is enough to solicit nostalgic drooling or the longing Christmas celebrations like it. We also introduced to the Forest Gentry; forest spirits that haunt the forest that are close Reuben’s mansion in Nideck Point. Though seemingly malevolent, they are actually quite gentle … that is until someone tries bollocks up around them, as was demonstrated in one of most chaotic and cataclysmic moments involving a bunch of foreign Morphenkinder (or werewolves). Apparently, holiday grinches extend beyond humankind, though most grinches don’t feel the need to rip you to shreds (or at least the few that I’ve ever encountered). Not your typical werewolf reading, but Rice’s world of werewolves are ever so richly woven and alluring enough to trap you into its intertwining. There are some touching, surprising twists that will delight rather than shock the readers and even shed a few tears.

A pure delight and another book that adds to the rich interwoven tapestry of the world of werewolves according to Rice; one of many more, I suspect, to come. And yes, I shall await them … patiently (just don’t take to long, luv). And yes, I forgot how mesmerizing Mary Fahl’s voice is in October Project’s “Return To Me” … 1996 and studying in college library with a certain Greek girl. I miss those giggles.

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Reuben Golding is an aspiring journalist for the San Francisco Observer who meets with an elegant, older Marchent Nideck to write a story about her house. He’s seduced by her charm and after a night of passion, Reuben soon awakens into a living nightmare and a life-altering fate … along with a murdered Marchent. Enter the world of werewolves.
The Vampire Chronicles (in my humble opinion) pretty much altered many of our perspectives of the world of Vampires. Which pretty much accounts for my occasional chuckling and mockingly pointing at the likes of the Twilight … umm, epic. Aye, that’s the word I was “really” looking for … epic. Don’t get me wrong, it is admirable what Ms. Meyers has done for the vampire genre, but the truth be told reading the Chronicles and then looking at the Twilight Epic is sort of like learning about flat screen colour television and then looking back at those cute bubbly black and white cathode-ray tubes. Did I just start a war of sorts … maybe I did. Sadly, that’s how the Evil Parrot rolls. And yes, I’d pit Lestat against the Cullens, and the Voltaris any day … oh schnapps … me and my big mouth. I guess I did go there and has henceforth issued an invitation to “bring it”. Along with that, it seems that I have detoured.
Now when this book was first released, several gothic poseur messageboards basically proclaimed that Anne Rice has returned to the “dark side” (or goth poseurspeak: she was “readable” again). The truth is most of her books written prior to the Wolf Gift were great reads, though they may have seemingly offended “certain folks” as too Christian-y. Seriously ??? Whatever happened to just good writing … period? Can’t please everyone, it seems.
As Reuben Golding comes to grips with his new preternatural abilities and a budding romance born out of an encounter in the woods during his lycanthropic adventures, he finds himself pitted against sinister enemies (not of his choosing) and soon finds that there exists under this sun secrets and creatures that are dark and enigmatic. He’s slowly indoctrinated into the inner sanctum of werewolves and is taught the rules of the community. Now throughout most of the lore’s history, becoming a werewolf was deemed a curse, but in Wolf Gift the perspective is delightfully changed from curse to gift. In a sense, Wolf Gift pretty much rearranges everything that we know of the lycanthropic world and lets us view this world with new eyes.

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