I've been a fan of Anne Rice's writing since I read Interview with the Vampire, which is not to say that I've liked everything she's written. So it was with great curiosity and a bit of hope that I began to read The Wolf Gift. I was not disappointed.
The Wolf Gift struck me as a gentle story in many ways. I know - werewolves and gentle don't necessarily go together. Yes, there is some violence, but mostly this book is an exploration of what it is to become a werewolf, of good versus evil. It's a journey that the main character, Reuben, takes. And it is fascinating. Reuben struggles with the moral issues of his dilemma. Can something that is supposedly evil be good? Is there a purpose to his new life? Will he lose his humanity? Be more wolf than man?
Ms. Rice's descriptive powers are at full force in The Wolf Gift. I had a clear sense of place throughout the novel. I fell in love with the big coastal mansion with it's secrets as much as any of the characters. I saw the forest and the old growth trees. I heard the waves crash, the rain fall, the animals prowl the woods, the sounds of the city. All of this combined to provide a lovely Gothic feel to the novel.
Reuben's family, the people he loves and comes to love were wonderfully drawn. Even the villains of the story, though not a major focus, are well done. These villains as well as some of the good guys infuse the backdrop of the story for a large part of the novel until they are brought front and center. The story moves at a fast pace even through the ruminations on good and evil. While the concepts may be abstract, they are brought to life in a concrete manner without overshadowing the story. I enjoyed watching Reuben come to grips with what was happening, to wonder about his situation, and to learn about his gift.
Ms. Rice's werewolves are the stuff of legend but not the legend you may know or expect. There is something new here. Something more than a bit wonderful.
I give The Wolf Gift 4 1/2 Qwills