Andrea's Reviews > Black Dog

Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier
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's review
Feb 06, 2014

bookshelves: have-e-version, us, urbanfantasy
Read on February 06, 2014

This is one of those pick-it-up-and-read-til-done books, gripping and engrossing. Something of a surprise to me, given that I am generally not at all interested in werewolf stories, which are too often a morass of gender essentialism, abuse treated as sexy, and all the things I just don't like to read at all.

That is not this book.

This book posits werewolves (or black dogs) as demonic instinct in need of a civilising force, a force that comes in the shape of the Pure, who are female members of black dog families born with a kind of Christian virtue (which has nothing to do with 'purity'/virginity and far more to do with purification) that allows them to make family and clan possible. It's a world-building as thorough and fascinating as McKinley's Sunshine.

The characters, too, are far outside the posturing often associated with the genre, instead offering up a broad array of people working to survive in the aftermath of a bloody war, struggling with the destructive black dog instinct, and managing to show each other a good deal of kindness and courtesy as they move beyond the dark past not only of the war, but of the less positive black dog traditions. I really liked all three of the siblings, and swiftly expanded that enjoyment to practically every character met, most of whom happily overturned expectations and threw tired old tropes over their shoulders in order to be defiantly themselves.

Very much looking forward to book 2.
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02/06/2014 marked as: currently-reading
02/06/2014 marked as: read

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