If you haven’t gathered that I am an Anne Rice fan based on my reviews in this blog you’re either new or haven’t been reading! I’ve been obsessed with The Vampire Chronicles since middle school and when I read that Anne Rice was returning to the supernatural my ears perked up. This would be the first Anne Rice book of this nature (I don’t count Angel Time into this category) that I would be reading (for the first time) as an adult. I was excited and a little scared. I had built up a very clear visual of how my Anne Rice experiences were based on the mind of a pre-teen, when I had originally read the Vampire Chronicles. How would this first experience be?
Originally I wasn’t going to purchase this book right away because I have been trying very hard to not buy new reading material. I have enough books that I own that I haven’t had a chance to read yet and I really just…shouldn’t be adding to the pile. But I couldn’t help myself. I mean, this is Anne Rice we’re talking about. This is the Queen of Vampire Literature and has been an inspiration to me for half of my life. I couldn’t just wait to read this book. I needed it. So the day it came out I bought it and dove right in.
Reuben, our main character, is plunged into a world that he, like the rest of us, assumed only existed in movies and television. When the reporter has a chance encounter he becomes a werewolf, or as Rice pens it: a Man Wolf or the more proper name, Morphenkind. While Reuben is becoming the Man Wolf, we are witnessing it along with him. We are just as dazed and confused as he is and we have just as many questions as Reuben does as he goes blindly into this venture.
This is where it breaks off from what is typical of Rice’s supernatural writings. Throughout most of the Vampire Chronicles we are introduced to a character who is already a vampire. They are always settled in the creature they are and they tell of their past story, recalling everything that happened in the past. But with The Wolf Gift we are going right along with Reuben and experiencing it all first hand with him. Rather than reading the book from the monster, we are reading the book of the man as he is turned into the monster. As he discovers the details of what he is, the history of Morphenkind, and what his future holds for him. It gives an element of surprise and it also causes impatience. Something that was similar from book to book was Rice is the power of the media. Through The Vampire Chronicles these creatures are telling their stories and having them published. The vampire Lestat is all over the news and tells his story to the masses through songs. He uses the power of the media and the interest of mortals in what the news says to speak his story. Reuben uses the media in his own way; being a news reporter he is able to pen an article that could either support or deny the existence of werewolves. He can use the news to his advantage or to hopefully push away attention. Even to the very end, the use of witnesses and the spoken word is given power. I love that element because it’s all so true: look at how the media can spread beliefs, lies, and opinions. I mean, I’m doing it right now by writing this.
The middle of the book I found somewhat sluggish. I was impatient to find out what was happening in Reuben’s world with an assortment of plots that were going on. Rice drew it out and I hate waiting! But the tail end of the book was fantastic. I had about a quarter of the book to go and suddenly I could do nothing but read. I pushed aside my duties for the morning, sat down on the couch, ignored that it was far too cold out to have the front door open (and that I was freezing), and just read. Read through the rest of the page until I closed the book. I loved the ending, I loved the possibilities, and I’m left wondering if Rice is planning on making this into a series or maybe adding a second book. I know that I would read it if she did, and that’s not just because I’m loyal fan. I still hope desperately that Anne Rice will return with another vampire book but this is good as well. I’ll be happy to continue reading her books, shall she continue writing them, and I’ll surely continue enjoying them as well.