I'm not a big fan of YA fiction, but I really enjoyed this one, especially its gothic feel. The story has a good pace and I was hooked after reading t...moreI'm not a big fan of YA fiction, but I really enjoyed this one, especially its gothic feel. The story has a good pace and I was hooked after reading the first few pages. There is the inevitable love triangle (this is YA after all), but it never felt forced and never took over the story. Lots of adventures and surprises, I never knew what to expect. Looking forward to read the next book to discover how Victor Frankenstein goes from being a lovestruck teenage boy to a twisted doctor - I want to get to know this character a little better. This book proves that it is possible to publish quality fan fiction.(less)
This is the story of Jacob, a 16 year old boy who decides to travel to Wales with his father to visit the "mysterious" orphanage where his grandfather...moreThis is the story of Jacob, a 16 year old boy who decides to travel to Wales with his father to visit the "mysterious" orphanage where his grandfather lived during WW2. It starts out as a ghost story with supernatural elements, but once the secret is revealed, it loses a bit of steam and becomes more of a "let's escape from the bad guys/monsters" type of story. Too bad: I love ghost stories and that's what the blurb had implied I would be reading.
The author is a movie maker and it's obvious - he does a good job of describing people and places, and the addition of the creepy pictures is a very original touch that really drew me in - but the prose style is a bit flat and reminds me of a movie script sometimes. The main character talks like a 35 yo man, not like a contemporary teen boy, and there is little to no Welsh vernacular in the dialogues. The characters felt (behaved and talked) as if they were living in the 1950's, including the 'bad boy' James Dean type best friend, and the mother who enjoys her cocktails a little too much!
Not sure why it was marketed as a YA novel - I doubt teenagers will find this interesting. A fun read until about halfway, when it still felt like a ghost story, but I didn't enjoy the second part, which felt rushed and a bit 'cheesy'. (less)
It's been a while since I've read one of Anne Rice's books, so I was expecting a tone similar to the books I read in the 1990s, with stories that make...moreIt's been a while since I've read one of Anne Rice's books, so I was expecting a tone similar to the books I read in the 1990s, with stories that make me afraid to turn off the light and be alone in the dark. But the tone of this book felt more like a visit to a cheap, carnival haunted house where all the lights are on and you see the electric wires and papier maché dummies!
This story is different from every werewolf story I've read so far, but not in a good way. There's no angst, no man-animal inner conflict, no guilt - all things that should be there, in my opinion. I felt this book had no plot, just the inner musings of the werewolf mixed with long sections of information dumping that brought the action to a stop. The story was also full of coincidences that made no sense, as if the author was too lazy to come up with a good way to make the events happen in a logical manner. I'm very disappointed: I was really hoping for an original take on the werewolf lore but instead, I got the personal reflections of a privileged American kid who happens to turn into a crime-fighting werewolf every night.(less)
I really enjoyed this book. The writing is excellent and tight - no unnecessary words and flowery prose. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was...moreI really enjoyed this book. The writing is excellent and tight - no unnecessary words and flowery prose. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was written by a couple under a pen name. When I started reading, I thought it would be an old fashion "who did it" mystery. But the writer(s) quickly take the story in unexpected directions, and the plot almost becomes a subplot.
My only complaint is that we are often left wondering why a main character acts a certain way in particular situations. I sometimes found myself hating a character because of what he did and would have liked to know more about the reasons underlying his behaviour. "Show don't tell" is great, but that doesn't mean "don't tell anything"! Still, I highly recommend it.(less)
Duncan is an incredible writer but sometimes, his metaphors and prose style were a bit over the top and distracted me from the story. I had to look up...moreDuncan is an incredible writer but sometimes, his metaphors and prose style were a bit over the top and distracted me from the story. I had to look up several words he used (which is not a bad thing!) but as a North American, some of his British (pop-)cultural references escaped me. And at one point, an American character uses the expression "rubbish", which I felt was out of place. His descriptions were quite vivid, but some were unnecessary, like pointing out the fact that he evacuated a "piping hot turd" the first time he transformed into a wolf...TMI, in my opinion!
Like other readers have noted, this story is very slow to start and everything culminates way too fast in the last 20 pages or so. I would have preferred a more even pace with a bit more action throughout, perhaps. The book also contains a lot of self-reflection. But it is presented as the Werewolf's personal journal - and journals are self-centered by nature - so that aspect of the book didn't bother me. There were a few unexpected twists that made it hard to put down the book once I had reached the halfway mark.
Some people complained about the blunt sexual language. I thought it was appropriate and not too crude, totally believable that a male pumped full of testosterone would talk & act that way when it comes to his sexuality.
I recommend this book if you want to read an introspective and raw account of what it feels like to be a 200 year-old guy that turns into a wolf every full moon. Jacob is not the hero type, but he's a multi-layered character that I enjoyed discovering. But unlike Twilight's Jacob-the-werewolf who feels it is his duty to get rid of the undead, this one would just lift his leg, pee on the vampires, and move on!!(less)
I'm about a third of the way in, and I don't think I will finish it. This book is rich in description, but thin on plot at this point. It keeps flip-f...moreI'm about a third of the way in, and I don't think I will finish it. This book is rich in description, but thin on plot at this point. It keeps flip-flopping between the past, a more distant past, and what is supposed to be "me" in the present (I think). The changing point of view (2nd vs 3rd person), and past vs present tense is confusing. Lots of characters, but they all feel a bit flat and none of them has drawn me in.(less)