Monday, October 22, 2012

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
Bookstores and I are a dangerous combination; I can never walk out of one without buying at least a couples books, to add to the growing shelf of 'books I still need to read after I finish grading all these student essays!'  So a few weeks ago, when wandering in a local bookstore in LaJolla, CA, I chatted with a salesperson about Justin Cronin's huge bestseller, The Passage.  I was impatiently awaiting my pre-order copy of that sequel in the mail.  Her reply was, "If you liked that book, you have got to read The Last Werewolf."  Naturally, I was intrigued.  Now, having read it, I wouldn't connect it in any way to The Passage, which is a post-apocalyptic thriller with virus-based vampires.  The Last Werewolf  is an existential novel, questioning our reason for existence.  I know - that sounds rather boring, but the book is far from that.  The main character, Jake, is the last werewolf on earth, spending every waking moment staying clear of WOCOP (World Organization for the Control of Occult Phenomena).  I know - it's sounds like Twilight or Harry Potter.  However, due to Duncan's writing style and twists and turns of the plot, it raises the level far above that of teen-pop or kiddie lit (not that I don't love HP).  Duncan is obviously brilliant, and Jake is the reflection of his philosophy and deep thinking about existence.  As Jake runs, we are pulled into his story, however violent and twisted his life is.  And believe is.  Quite often, the raw language, the twisted sex, and the graphic violence is hard to get past - at times, it made me want to take a shower after reading.  However, the story itself is quite gripping and takes an unexpected little twist half-way through.  By the last 100 pages, I had a hard time putting it down.  Will I read the second book?  I believe so, but it will be awhile - I need a break from the rawness of this book.  Would I recommend it?  I think so - it's a good story, but if you're a sensitive soul when it comes to language, sex, violence, I would say it's probably not a good fit.

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