Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wolf's Gambit


Author: W.D. Gagliani
Genre: Horror, Crime
Types of Werewolves: Large normal wolves
How Lycanthropy is Caused: Spread by a bite.

Synopsis: Nick Lupo returns to a rual Wisconsin town after hearing about several grisly murders involving victims being ripped apart and partially eaten. He suspects that he has finally found more werewolves like him, only they're on far from friendly terms.

Review: Wolf's Gambit greatly surpasses it's prequel, Wolf's Trap in its action, suspense, and ferocity. The characters are far more interesting and formidable than those of the original. I never saw the twist at the end coming and suspected that the werewolves-for-hire were workimg for another character. The ending didn't disappoint and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. i should mention though, there are some graphic scenes of rape/sexual violence for those of you who would like to avoid that.

-Reviewed by PenningtonBeast

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009



Author: Steve Vance
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Types of Werewolves: Bipedal
How Lycanthropy of Caused: By a parasitic microorganism, transmitted by biting/body fluids.

Synopsis: The survivors of the contained werewolf attack in The Hyde Effect discover a colony of lycanthropes living in New York state.  The colony, which call themselves "the associates" show Blake, Nick and Meg that their transformations can be controlled and even modified. 

Review: I hate to admit that I was rather disappointed in Steve Vance's Shapes. I felt that it paled in comparison to the pure terror that is evident in it's predecessor The Hyde Effect. Also, the werewolves in the sequel are werewolves-in-name-only, really they're shapeshifters that can take any form they please after mastering the feral state of their first several changes.  I thought that the character's reactions to "the associates" and their plans were hard to believe following the events in the first book. Also, there isn't nearly enough werewolf action, things only start to get gory near the end.  Although I think Shapes could have been a better werewolf story, it's still an interesting sci-fi read for fans of the genre. The Hyde Effect still remains one of my favorite novels despite the let down of the sequel. 

- Reviewed by PenningtonBeast

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Better to Hold You


Author: Alisa Sheckley
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Types of Werewolves: Normal wolves. Some change by the full moon and others can change on their own.
How Lycanthropy is Caused: Infection from a bite or genetics.

Synopsis: Veterinarian intern Abra Barrow finds out her husband Hunter cheated on her while in Romania researching werewolf legends.  He became infected by his werewolf mistress while away and convinces Abra to move to upstate New York with him in order to become more comfortable with his new condition. While in the town of Northside, Abra falls in love with another shapeshifter named Red.

Review: Welcome to my first completely negative review at Lycanthrope Library. Where should I start with this little piece of work? CAUTION: Spoilers ahead.  The first two chapters of this book are so uninteresting that I thought about returning it but I needed something to read in the car. In the following chapters we find that Abra is a complete pushover and not too bright at that.  Instead of leaving her emotionally abusive and unfaithful husband, she quits her work as an intern and gives into his wishes in a desperate attempt to save what little, unsatisfying marriage they have.  All throughout the book Abra is either discussing her fixation with her mother's movie career or talking about her menstrual cycle in detail. 
I tried to like this book but the only two interesting aspects of the story are never really developed. One is the genetic research with the Lycanthropy virus that Abra's former vet instructor was conducting, and the other was the story of what happened to Hunter in Romania, which is never fully explained.  All throughout the book I was hoping that either one or both of the main characters would get eaten, but unfortunately I know there's a sequel which I will not be reading. 
At one point in the story after having a heated argument with hunter,  Abra suspects she's pregnant with his child and decides to once again put up with his abuse. Thankfully her lover, Red the stereotypical Native American shapeshifter, explains to her that she's not pregnant and that it's only her hormones going overboard from the werewolf infection she caught from Hunter like chlamydia.  When Hunter's werewolf mistress comes over from Romania to join in on the fun, they attempt to murder Abra's mother resulting in an extremely unsatisfying ending to this snorefest of a novel.
To all the hardcore werewolf fans out there, I recommend that you just skip this one.  There's nothing new or exciting about this book, it's just your typical misogynistic "paranormal romance"  filled with questionably consensual sex and a dash of zoophilia.  As for me,  I'll be putting it in my  yard sale box in the basement.

Reviewed by PenningtonBeast

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater


Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult,  Romance, Suspense.
Types of Werewolves: Normal wolves with human eyes. The temperature has an effect on their shifting, turning them into wolves for the winter and back to humans in the spring. 
How Lycanthropy is Caused: Infection from a bite. 

Synopsis: A teenage girl named Grace is attacked by wolves as a child, but one wolf in particular saves her life and brings her home. Ever since then, Grace eagerly waits for winter to come so that she can see her savior wolf's return.  Then a student from her high school is attacked by the local wolves and presumed dead. After a local hunting spree, a naked, wounded teenage boy ends up on Grace's porch with has the exact same eyes as her favorite wolf. 

Review:  In a world where sparklepires and pedowolves are now the epitome of teenage lust, I was quite skeptical about the new romance novel Shiver. Thankfully, Stiefvater proved me wrong.  Even though there's a slight amount of cheesiness (and what contemporary romance is without it?), Shiver is still an engaging and satisfying story.  The characters are well developed with interesting pasts and there is plenty of suspense to keep you reading.  
The werewolves are a little unconventional in that instead of the moon having an influence over their shifts, it's the temperature.  As the weather gets colder, the more imminent a transformation becomes until finally the werewolves remain in wolf form for the remainder of the winter.  They still retain some of the more typical werewolf traits, like fast healing, but there's a catch. Eventually they will stop shifting back to human altogether and will remain a wolf until death.  This creates quite a predicament for the two protagonists as they search for a cure. 
Unfortunately, if you're looking for blood and gore, this book is on the light side.  Personally, I'll take disembowelment over finding true love any day, but I would still recommend Shiver as a fun read.  

-Reviewed by PenningtonBeast.

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dreadful Skin


Author: Cherie Priest
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Western
Types of Werewolves: Bipedal
How Lycanthropy is Caused: Attacked by a werewolf, possibly genetics.

Synopsis: A gun-toting, lycanthropic nun from Ireland is on the hunt for a murderous werewolf named Jack.  She follows him across the American West where he eventually teams up with a traveling werewolf preacher looking to form a pack.

Review:  Dreadful Skin is like a fast-paced, condensed version of S.P. Somtow's Moon Dance.  Both stories are set in the Wild West and told from the perspectives of several different characters.  In the beginning it's sometimes hard to tell which character is speaking, but the author makes the distinction clear at the beginning of each sequence further along in the story. Other than that, Dreadful Skin is an interesting and bloody addition to the werewolf genre.  There's plenty of ethos and pathos to appeal to the reader, along with a good dose of violence and gore.  Overall, I'd rate Dreadful Skin a 4 out of 5.  

Also, I absolutely love the cover illustration.

-Reviewed by PenningtonBeast.

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