Blythe's Reviews > The Wolf Gift

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice
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Apr 05, 12

bookshelves: read-reviewed, in-a-name-challenge, 2012-reads, losing-my-faith-in-humanity
Recommended for: people who don't end up wanting to strangle Reuben
Read from February 14 to 19, 2012

Originally, I gave The Wolf Gift four stars, because I did like its story, and it was fun to read (despite a few boring parts and many infodumps), but there's a reason I'm giving The Wolf Gift three stars, which I will explain later on in this review.

Pros of The Wolf Gift

1: First off, I loved the descriptions of the Nideck house! They really painted an image in my head of this big, elegant house overlooking the sea.

2: Marin County was one of the main settings in The Wolf Gift! I loved seeing names and places I'm familiar with in this book, such as the Muir Woods and Mount Tam.

3: The unique take Anne Rice had on the werewolf, making it different than the werewolf story we all know where the person turns into a werewolf every full moon and rampages everything in sight.

4: The descriptions of change in Reuben, the change in his sight, hearing, and smell, and also how how Reuben dealt with becoming a werewolf, and used it to become a (and I use this term loosely) "hero".

5: The mystery! There's not much I can say about the mystery of The Wolf Gift, but what I can say is get ready for some twists later on in the story.

Cons of The Wolf Gift

1: There's icky human/werewolf sex going on in this book... And not just one scene. There's also sex scenes where he's not a werewolf, but he's not single either...

2: Corny "poetic" sayings, such as : Yet it terrified him that he might surrender his conscious soul to the heart of the beast pumping within...You've got to be kidding me... The beast pumping within?

3: Really? The Man Wolf? That's what you choose to call yourself? I cringed every time I read that, along with the word "orgasmic"... How can a bestselling and well respected author use the word "orgasmic" countless times in one book! I think she forgot she isn't writing one of her erotic books....

4: The ending was disappointing, especially considering the huge build-up throughout the whole book, but, eventually we are all let down and left with an ending like.... That....

5: The characters in the book really just weren't good. Yes, Reuben's brother is a priest, but don't worry. That doesn't make any difference in the book. Here I was, hoping there would be an inner struggle in Reuben's brother between fighting for what he believes in in Christianity, or letting Reuben go around, doing whatever the hell he wants, whenever the hell he wants. There was none of that. Reuben's brother was surprisingly accepting of everything his brother did, which really was a shock to me... Then there's Reuben's mother, who's a doctor. Do I care? No. Did she make a difference in the book? Hardly any. This con ties in with my last con, because my last (albeit biggest) con in the book is...


And here is the major reason I gave The Wolf Gift three stars instead of the original four. After finishing The Wolf Gift, I reflected on the four-star rating, and thought of something that turned me off in the book. And the one thing I could come up with that really got to me is Reuben.

At the end of the first chapter, Reuben has sex with a woman named Marchent. And no, that is not a spoiler, because it happens so early in the book (like I said, the ending of chapter one). This happens, within, what? One, maybe two hours of them two even knowing each other? And to make it worse, Reuben has a girlfriend... Oh joy. But this isn't the first time he cheats on his girlfriend... Oh, no it's not. The second time, he has sex with the girl within minutes of meeting her, and goes into detail of his erection and whatnot (it's even more disgusting because he's a werewolf at this moment), but then he tries coming up with excuses on why it was acceptable to cheat on his girlfriend (twice, the reasons being that his girlfriend cheating on him, so it's okay), which extremely turned me off.

Also, when describing himself, Reuben says he is, and I quote, "a liar, monster, killer, beast... An abomination...''. Well....

I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels this way, but the character of Reuben really made me enjoy the book less than I would have if he was a little more... Hmmm... What's the word... Likable? Yes, likable. However, if you choose to read this book, and you aren't bothered by Reuben, I think you will end up enjoying it.
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Reading Progress

Comments (showing 1-35 of 35) (35 new)

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message 1: by Alyssa (new) - added it

Alyssa Read Interview With A Vampire - such an awesome book (and series)!

message 2: by Blythe (last edited Mar 18, 2012 11:32AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Blythe I've never read that but I've been really wanting to. If I do I'll be getting the first 3 books for $15.99, I've had my eye on that for a while. I've been debating getting this book for a little bit today, but I thought it looked really interesting and I read all the reviews on Amazon and most of the Goodreads reviews and that only made me want to read it more (since most were positive) so I preordered it and might start it tomorrow (I most likely will, I'm really excited to).

Blythe Will you be reading this, Alyssa?

message 4: by Alyssa (new) - added it

Alyssa Maybe. Now I just want to reread the Vampire Chronicles! :)

Melinda The Mayfair witches is another amazing Anne Rice work!

message 6: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Decided to put Taliesin on hold and start on this one. I enjoyed her Mayfair chronicles. I might start her vampire series sometime this year.

Katrina I've read all of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and The Mayfair Witches and loved all of them. So I can't wait to see your review on this because I really want to read this.

Jennifer I just found out about this book...I've been reading The Stand because nothing has peaked my interest. I think this is going to get me out of this rut. :)

message 9: by Alyssa (new) - added it

Alyssa Ok, now go read Interview with a Vampire.

Blythe Okay, I will! Is it really that good?

message 11: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I tried reading those, couldn't get into them but the Mayfair Chronicles were good.

message 12: by Alyssa (new) - added it

Alyssa I think the Vampire Chronicles are great fun reads. The Mayfair books are good too, but I loved the first two vampire books.

message 13: by Blythe (last edited Mar 18, 2012 11:33AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Blythe Do you still plan on reading this, Alyssa?

Melinda blythe- I haven't finished it yet, but I'm planning on it soon! Your cons list is my cons list exactly so far (minus the ending since I haven't gotten that far). I don't think Rueben is that likable at all. But I love the descriptive way of the book. The use of the words Man Wolf and orgasmic haunt me every time I read a little of it lol.

Blythe Melinda wrote: "blythe- I haven't finished it yet, but I'm planning on it soon! Your cons list is my cons list exactly so far (minus the ending since I haven't gotten that far). I don't think Rueben is that likabl..."

LOL well, I'm glad I'm not the only one!

message 16: by Alyssa (new) - added it

Alyssa I probably will, but not sure if it will be anytime soon. Sounds like a good summer read. :)

message 17: by Wendy Darling (new)

Wendy Darling Hmm, I like wolves, so I might give this one a try sometime...

message 18: by Blythe (last edited Apr 05, 2012 09:58PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Blythe Wendy Darling wrote: "Hmm, I like wolves, so I might give this one a try sometime..."

I think you should try it, Wendy. I think it's an enjoyable book, if you don't end up wanting to strangle Reuben (like me).

message 19: by Max (new)

Max "There's icky human/werewolf sex going on in this book"--Now I really want to read this book!

message 20: by Jill (new)

Jill Is this the first time you have read an Anne Rice book? Because the whole sex thing? Pretty common. Vampire sex, werewolf sex, witch and demon sex, kinky sex, gay sex, straight sex, orgies, and on and on.

It's pretty much par for the course for an Anne Rice book, ANY Anne Rice book.

The repetition of certain words is also common. She spent most of (I believe) Tale of the Body Thief using the word preternatural. It's like she gets a word she likes stuck in her head and beats it to death.

Bryce Campain Although I really, and I mean REALLY love the Vampire Chronicles, Interview with the Vampire is my second least favorite. I just find Louis to be excessively whiney and despairing, and it bores me. The movie was better, and that doesn't happen all too often. My least favorite VC was actually The Vampire Lestat. It's just rather slow-starting, and doesn't even deal with vampires for the majority, but it builds an amazing foundation for the story that is Queen of the Damned. My absolute favorite VC would have to be Memnoch the Devil, and it even works fairly well as a standalone if you don't want to feel like you have to read the others first. Just wanted to chime in on the Vampire Chronicles discussion since I enjoyed your Wolf Gift review :)

Naftoli It is true that Reuben cheats on his girlfriend, now with two people, (I'm presently on page 191) but I don't know why this bothers your moral sensibilities beause his girlfriend Celeste has also cheated so she does not have the moral high ground. Further, (I'm 47% through the book) their relationship is lukewarm and perfunctory. I'm not saying that it is alright to to cheat because they relationship is lacking but Rice has made it very clear that Celeste feels little for Reuben. Not only because she cheated on him, do I say this, but because she is out with other men and calls him out of guilt.

Blythe Yes, I know that Celeste cheated on Reuben, too, but I think it's hard for me to like a character that's so immature that he thinks he's allowed to cheat on his girlfriend since his girlfriend cheated on him as a form of payback. It's been a while since I read this book, but if I do remember correctly he was thinking along the lines of "she cheated on me, so it's okay to cheat on her". I just think that excuse is immature. It did happen in the second chapter or so, so I could reread it.

Naftoli Lady Blythe, fair enough. I agree that the "she did it, so I'll do it too" mentality is immature. This is one of the reasons I am not relating to Reuben at all - the other reasons are that he is so wealthy and prominent. But I brought up her actions only because in your review you critiqued *only* his behavior, seemed a little unfair. But I did enjoy your review!

By the way, the "icky" sex stuff between the werewolf and the woman is kind of hilarious now that I think of it. I wonder what Rice's motivation was? I think we are repelled by it because it reminds us of bestiality and we didn't see this in the Vampire Chronicles. Though Rice did introduce us to Vampire "sex" in her descriptions of the bite and the sensation that the vampires derived from the blood pulsating into their throats - her descriptions were very erotic. Hm. I think maybe the werewolf/human sex is her attempt to be 'cutting edge' and challenge the reader maybe? She's probably sitting up at night asking herself, "what cutting edge surprise can I add to this story?" and it did *really* surprise me (and dissappoint me) when he had sex with the woman in the cabin while in wolf form.

message 25: by Jela (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jela I think one of the main reasons that Anne included this type of sexual relationship between Laura and Reuben (as the Man Wolf) is because werewolves and lycanthropy are generally seen as a metaphor for sexuality, primal sexuality, in fact.

Many sexual predators throughout history, such as Gille de Rais were thought to be or called werewolves.

Anne usually spends a fair amount of time researching the history and literature of a subject before she begins writing and likely found these concepts and included them in her novel.

Denise Good review. I completely agree with everything you said. I also gave the Wolf Gift 3 stars.

Reuben Hi there ! I think the major problem with the book is the relationship with some of the characters. At first, I liked the picture made of Celeste. I think she was a good match for Reuben but the author didn't give her enough "screen time" it was as she was just put there to be disposed of quickly. I think she was more interesting than Laura which relationship with Reuben started in a very...what the hell way ? As to Jim, I agree with you but I'd like to think that the author wanted to show the merciful side of a man of religion? I'm not sure but I felt bad for Jim as he was left miserable with all this. I think what kept me reading until the end is the hope of meeting the Felix Nideck crew ! Overall it was a nice book as I always appreciate Rice's ability to create her own myths !

message 28: by Bj (new) - added it

Bj Hunter I just bought the ebook. Hey it's an Anne Rice book and despite the 3 star review I just had to get it.
I will let you know what I think when I am done with it.

message 29: by Sherry (new)

Sherry I read several of Ann Rice's novels and I agree, the endings were always disappointing. I quit reading her books. Thanks for the review - I was tempted to try this series.

Brian Holley My biggest problem with the book was the second sex scene. Anne Rice never gave any explanation why a woman living on her own just allows a werewolf to come into her house and have sex with her no questions asked. This bothered me through the whole book and made me question her true intentions throughout the novel.

Stephen Thompson I fully agree Brian. That part drove me insane. I kept waiting for a revelation to explain why she so quickly took him to her bed. I kept thinking, "maybe werewolves have hypnotic charm, maybe she's a werewolf too or maybe she knows a few" but no nothing. I like watching a love story/interest develop, not just happen over a paragraph.

I would also like to touch on another tidbit of Reuben that has gone unmentioned. If memory serves me well Reuben is 23years old and somehow already has I believe it was a Masters degree in English and a successful career. I am 23years old and am just now finishing up a bachelor's degree. Can someone please explain? Am I right? It's been nearly a year since I read the book so I may be mistaken.

Annathea I'm slowly getting towards the end and Reuben irritates me so much. He knows there's a possible werewolf and that this creature might be in danger (not immediate but possible) so he goes home and spends some nights just walking around and staring at the moon. He is so passive, so uninterested in what's going on.
And I loved that proof of Reuben's modesty was that he was driving the same car for two years. Hell yeah ;).

Vanessa Viera Hey Blythe,

I agree in a lot of your cons. One thing that bothered me was how quick him and Marchent got it on lol I can understand they were drunk but it almost seem too unreal that he messed around with Marchent and inherited the house easily when Reuben was said to be rich and he could afford it. However, it could be possible that Anne Rice did it this way because she wanted to show that Reuben before he got bit was kinda a sissy lol. He stated int he book he knew he could afford the house but his mother and Celeste would never let him hear the end of it. That brings me to my next con. Celeste. I just don't like her. I understand how you might think it was immature for him to reason why it was ok to cheat on her but lets be honest, Reuben is only 23 years old with a girlfriend that treats him more like she was his mother than the love of his life. I mean I didn't sense any type of affectionate love there. Also, deep down inside he wanted to break free from her because lets face it, she is his mother incarnated and we all know that Reuben is like his aloof father, Phil and you see how his parents relationship is? Also, its human nature to try to find justification for doing something we know we shouldn't no matter how stupid the reasoning is. I think Anne was just trying to make a point that his relationship with Celeste was just dead, similar to his parents.

Now i only have one truly opposite opinion of one of your cons stating how some of the characters were boring or unimportant. I disagree because being a big fan Anne Rice fan, I came to understand that she is very vague with a lot of characters in the first books of a series, she gradually allows you to gain a relationship with them and then BAM! the craziest shit happens and they become the main focal point. Like in her Vampire novels, she dedicates books to what i thought were minor characters and the things and secrets i found out were beyond what i could fathom when I first read about the characters so its my suggestion that we keep in mind that this new werewolf series is very young and i can assure you that later books will show the reason why these characters are important. This book is merely introducing you to them.

message 34: by Blythe (last edited Jul 23, 2014 07:07PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Blythe Vanessa wrote: "Hey Blythe,

I agree in a lot of your cons. One thing that bothered me was how quick him and Marchent got it on lol I can understand they were drunk but it almost seem too unreal that he messed aro..."


I get your point about this novel introducing the characters, but for this novel, I felt that they were just boring and unimportant. I appreciate your telling me that Rice's usual MO is to build up her characters in future installments, and for that maybe I would give the sequels higher ratings for characterization. But rating this novel as its own (which is normally how I do it--not taking developments of future installments into consideration but rating the novel as its own being), the characterization was an issue for me. Appreciate your comment though! I'm glad you enjoyed the novel.

Vanessa Viera Yes I can definitely see how the book on its own would warrant these concerns.

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