Amanda's Reviews > Frostbite

Frostbite by David Wellington
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's review
Mar 10, 11

bookshelves: fantasy
Read in October, 2009

Frostbite is an intriguing werewolf tale set in the arctic Canadian forest that relies on the formulaic style of start with the end, then go back and explain what led up to it, which makes for a somewhat disorganized pacing. However, once the novel gets going, the characterization is compelling enough to drive readers through the story.

For those werewolf aficionados, the novel observes traditional werewolf mythology: transformation by moonlight, a lethal aversion to silver, super-strength, and crazed bloodlust during transformation, and its "werewolves" are actual wolves, and not wolf-men. However, the "mythology" behind the Lycanthropy curse and its origins is never explained.

There are a few minor plot holes that strain suspension of disbelief--such as how Chey's cell phone could still work after being caught in a flash flood--and certain character motivations (not all of which are answered by novel's end) but overall, the novel is well-crafted with engaging characters that drive the story.

Part One opens when Cheyenne "Chey" Clark is caught in a sudden flash flood in the Canadian Drunken Forest. After barely escaping this natural disaster, she is chased and treed by a pack of wolves who abandon her at the onset of a more dangerous predator--a werewolf. The larger wolf's bloodlust forces Chey to climb higher in order to avoid its attempts to savage her, but not before one its claws slices her ankle.

Chey's resulting sickness carries her through the forest searching for help until she stumbles upon a campfire tended by Dzo, a peculiar man in a mask. Despite his obvious eccentricities, Chey is forced to rely on Dzo's aid as he takes her to his friend Monty Powell's cabin, whom Chey immediately suspects of being the werewolf who attacked her. Readers are left to wonder why--in spite of this uncanny realization--Chey offers no resistance to sleeping in Powell's cabin.

Upon waking, Chey discovers her injury alarmingly healed and escapes after overhearing a conversation about her imminent murder. On the run, Chey experiences her first werewolf transformation and finds herself hunted by Powell. After a suspenseful confrontation between them, Powell confesses the tale of how he inherited the werewolf curse, and Chey comes to the reluctant realization that she needs his guidance in order to survive.

Part Two delves into Chey's biographical history from age seven to present, and the freak car accident resulting in her father's murder by a werewolf, prompting her vengeful mission to find the animal responsible. New characters are introduced provoking ultimately unanswered questions about believability--paving the way for a potential sequel--including an apparently public, quasi-military "werewolf research organization" into which Chey is drafted.

Part Three thrusts readers back into the present as the werewolf hunters invade the forest in search of Powell. The fast-moving conclusion focuses on Chey's internal struggle to accept her newfound identity and learn from Powell--her father's murderer--or side with the human world who may quite possibly damn her now that she has been turned.

I gave the book 4 stars because I'm a huge werewolf fan, and found Chey's tale much more interesting than others, but there are several questions I would have liked answered, specially about Dzo, whose originas are foreshadowed but never discussed.

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