The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I struggled with rating this one and I think it's really more of a 3 and half for me. This book was getting insane amounts of buzz in the book blogger community so I had high expectations going into the reading of the novel. In the end, I liked it but I didn't love it. It was not nearly as good as I'd hoped. I'm worried that this is a case of the book buzz impacting my reading of a book - it was so built up in my mind that it couldn't live up to that hype!
All in all, this is am interesting take on the werewolf story. It is dark, violent, filled with sexual content and yet also funny and compelling. It is NOT a book for everyone. Many will be taken aback by its frank sexuality and gore. If either of those things put you off, this is not the book for you. If you aren't bothered by those things, you should pick this one up.
What redeems this novel for me and ultimately pushed me into giving it a 4 star rating is the writing. Glen Duncan is a masterful writer. I'm not sure my description can do it justice but its smart, humorous, provocative, and delightful. He is obviously a smart man and his construction of the story combined with his fantastic writing took this novel from a 3 to a four for me. That alone is worth reading this book, in my opinion. I liked how Duncan made this novel an introspective look at the thoughts and emotions of his werewolf. It was very compelling for me. The entire idea of a werewolf having an existential crisis is pretty interesting and clever.
Now for the things that I didn't like as much ... I read a review somewhere that discussed how this book was uneven - going back and forth between clever brilliance and pretentiousness. And that is a good description of what I didn't love about the book. There is clearly amazing stuff there but there was also stuff that just left me feeling 'ehh.' There were times when I felt the barrage of cynical comments didn't add to the enjoyment of the book. In fact, that was often distracting to me as it felt over the top.
Another thing that I felt could have been better is the settings that Duncan drew in this novel - the atmosphere. It wasn't particularly unique or well drawn. It was what one would expect - gothic and dark! I just didn't get a sense of being taken anywhere special yet there was so much opportunity to do that given the story. I was also a little less than taken with the ending. I thought it was pretty predictable - nothing out of the ordinary or particularly compelling. Again, it felt like it didn't live up to its potential.
All in all, this is a very exciting and thrilling novel with fantastic pacing and moments of brilliance. But the story was thinner than it could have been, considering all the action. Ultimately, I enjoyed it and didn't want to put it down.
I recommend this one to anyone who thinks that they can stand the extreme violence/gore, bad language and intense sexual content that is woven into the entire novel. It's not for the faint at heart. However, if you like a good werewolf story and enjoy good writing, this might be one that is right up your alley! It's gotten a lot of buzz for a reason so it might be worth checking out if that sort of thing compels you to read a novel!
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