The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

I’ll start this review with a simple declaration.

Anne Rice is my favourite author. Ever.

It doesn’t matter whether she writes about witches, vampires, angels or even Jesus. I’ve read everything she’s written. Everything. I’ve even read her less known Beauty books, written under a different name.

So quite naturally, when I found out her new book is about werewolves, I pre-ordered it and counted the days to its arrival.

It makes little difference that I am not a massive fan of the hairy beasts, as within a couple of pages into the book, my faith in Anne Rice is completely justified.

When Reuben Golding, a privileged young news reporter drives to a remote mansion to cover a story on it’s uncertain future, he finds himself strangely attracted not only to the owner of the mansion, but to the mansion itself. But the trip leaves him with more than he bargains for; an attack that changes his life. Over the course of the next few days and weeks, Reuben is transformed from “sunshine-boy” to someone else, something else.

Unwillingly at first, but with increasing acceptance of his fate, he embarks on his journey of self-discovery. Soon, Reuben realises that his transformation allows him to smell evil. He feels compelled to protect the innocent and avenge people wronged. But his strength and new-found power also mean that he has to keep his distance from the life he had before his transformation; his family, his girlfriend and his friends. And while he struggles to come to terms with his new life, and the loneliness that surrounds it, the unimaginable happens. He “infects” another human with the Gift.

The Wolf Gift is pure Anne Rice. It is dark. It is romantic. It is fast-paced and gripping. It is engaging and perhaps most importantly, it is fresh.

Anne Rice has done with werewolves, exactly what she’s done for vampires, witches and angels and given them a complete make-over and her individual twist on their background. She’s re-invented and re-written the mythology of the genre.

Forget the phases of the moon and all the other typical werewolf stuff you are used to reading. Anne’s werewolves are conscientious and capable of retaining all of their feelings, while their sense of humanity merges seamlessly with their animal instincts in a satisfying manner. Whilst they retain their need of belonging in a pack, this comes with a completely different feel to the structured hierarchy and standard behaviour of packs that other werewolf novels thrive on.

The tension in the story builds steadily, although it peaks ahead of the end. In any other book, I’d find this slightly dissatisfying, but here Anne Rice cleverly answers all the questions she’s set through the story and explores the mythology of the werewolves she has created. It perhaps also sets the tone for her next novel in this series. As usual, I will look forward to getting my paws on it.

Chatto & Windus, London



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17 Responses to The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

  1. Sounds good, Elpi. I’ve read a few of her Vampire novels and a couple of the witch ones (?!). Werewolves are not my usual kind of thing, but your recommendation makes me feel that it might be worth a go.
    Thanks, Elpi x

  2. Elpi says:

    The Mayfair witches are possibly my favourite witch novels! Werewolves really not my thing either, but this book really does them justice!
    Thank you for your comment.

  3. Tammi says:

    When I was reading the Vampire Chronicles, I lived and breathed Louis and Lestate. Next was the Mayfair Witches and I as a totally absorbed with that series. The Beauty books made me blush, but I could not help myself, I had to continue to read. I have loved them all, The Feast of all Saints being one of my favorites as well. I have not purchase the new book yet but plan to do so soon! I am not a big werewolf fan, but lets face it if Anne Rice wrote it I soon will be!

    • Elpi says:

      Hi Tammi,
      Thanks for your comment. The beauty books made me blush too, but again they were well worth the read. Do buy the new book, you will fall in love with Reuben, I’m absolutely certain of it!

  4. Martha Gomez says:

    I got to get this book. Added to my wish list.

  5. Sherleen says:

    Hello Elpi,
    Like you, I am a faithful reader. Read them all as well, every last one!! Thought the witches were intense, Lashed as scary as they come, but ppl will really have to fight for a spot because Lestat is ever indomitable and as invitingly complex as they come. :-)). Twill be interesting indeed to see what more becomes of Reuben the Man Wolf. Good one ;-D

    • Elpi says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. It’s so nice having a line of communication with other fans of Anne. Yes, Lestat is a difficult one to beat, but I think we have a whole new series of the Man Wolf to look forward to. So you never know!

  6. Sherleen says:

    Sorry, LASHER. These Android devices need to be more like a regular pc/typewriter.

  7. Ben Maslin says:

    Elpi, you are awesome, thank you. 😉

  8. Amanda says:

    Like you, I have been a huge fan of Anne’s novels, and couldn’t wait to see what this new one could bring to the table. Although it was a pleasant read, I don’t choose Anne’s work to get ‘pleasant’! I found the lead character to lack the usual depths we have come to expect, and he accepted the changes far too easily. There was very little conflict between his humanity and the new urges he was consumed by, in fact he didn’t seem “consumed” so much as passive. I will probably read the next book, because I respect Anne’s work and also in the hope that Reuban develops into a character that I can truly love. So far I feel that he’s more of a Louis than a Lestat.

    • Elpi says:

      Hi Amanda,
      Thank you very much for your comment. I see exactly where you are coming from, but I think Reuben, the sunshine boy, has had “a growth spurt” and I can’t stop thinking that his relationship with Laura will provide the conflict you feel is missing in the next book of the series. But I’m not certain I agree with you on the Louis front. Louis had far too much conflict between his humanity and his vampire urges. He fought them and only gave in to them when it was absolutely necessary. I guess we’ll have to see what Anne decides to do with Reuben, but I’ve got to say, I’m already a fan.
      Thanks again.

  9. Aimee Duffy says:

    I’ve only ever read Interview With a Vampire, but loved it. This sounds bloody brilliant too. Note to self, must pick it up x

    • Elpi says:

      She is an amazing writer and in fact, she is probably the reason why the paranormal romance genre is doing so well these days.
      Thanks for commenting.

  10. Jo Bryant says:

    I am always thrilled to find another Anne Rice fan. My personal favourite book of hers is The Vampire Lestat…I haven’t read this one yet but it is on the to read list. great review.

    • Elpi says:

      Ahh..thank you very much, Jo. It is an excellent book.
      The Vampire Lestat is one of my favourites too, although I think the Mayfair witches series probably tops the vampire ones. Thanks for your comment.

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