Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm actually more of a cat person.

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend of mine about Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf.

Greg: Hey, The Last Werewolf just came out. You should read it.

Friend: No way man, I'm Team Edward all the way.

Greg: I'm serious. It's really good.

Friend: It sounds like one of those True Blood books.

Greg: The Charlaine Harris books? Sort of. It's a lot smarter.

By the end of the week, he was halfway through the book and loving it. Further proof that you can't judge a book by the title. Robopocalypse, anyone?

The Last Werewolf is what can best be described as literary paranormal fiction. In Duncan's vision of the world, werewolves truly exist - although not for much longer. The novel opens with the unfortunately named protagonist werewolf Jacob learning that the second-to-last remaining werewolf has been killed. He, like the rest of his kind, have been hunted to near extinction by WOCOP, an Interpol-like international agency set on eliminating the paranormal. This, combined with fact there aren't any female werewolves, has left Jacob as the last of his kind.

The novel raises some interesting philosophical issues about life and extinction, and forces the reader to consider - what would you do if you were the last of your kind? As it turns out, Jacob pretty much gives up. Since he has until the next full moon to live, he resigns to loafing about and indulging in prostitutes. However, all that changes when he meets a woman. A very special woman.

Duncan's writing style is eloquent, yet he does not bury the reader in vocabulary. You understand Jacob and his plight, watching him go through the motions of increasing his security, all while resigned to the fact that his death is imminent. And when he meets the woman, the novel's tone shifts drastically, reflecting Jacob's sudden newfound desire to live.

The Last Werewolf changes the werewolf genre in the same way The Magicians redefined sorcerers after Harry Potter.

It beckons in both fans of the subject, as well as those simply looking for a thoroughly entertaining, intelligent read. Thoughtful, smart, darkly comic, and beautiful, The Last Werewolf is a unique literary work of art.

I would not, however, suggest it for your Team Jacob tween.

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