Tag Archives: werewolves

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer

Standard
Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer

Meyer, Stephanie. Eclipse. Little, Brown, 2006. 528 pp. ISBN 978-0316328142. $21.99

***

I’m a sucker for a good vampire novel and Meyer makes monsters romantic again in this third episode of the Twilight series. The passion-colored ribbon snaking across the cover of Eclipse is a harbringer of rift and bloodshed to come. Bella Swan, ordinary high school student, is still madly in love with beautiful vampire Edward Cullen, but it’s complicating her friendship with Jacob Black (the one who was there to pick up the pieces when Edward removed himself from her life). Jacob just happens to be a werewolf, and werewolves and vampires are sworn enemies. In addition to the “which boy will she pick” dilemma, a parallel conflict is created when a series of brutal murders in the northwest indicates a rogue vampire pack is on the move, and the Cullens are going to be facing a major showdown soon. Per usual, Bella is wrapped up in the middle of it, and in mortal danger.

The best parts of the book are a long storytelling session in which Billy Black tells the myth of the Third Wife. The attention to detail and careful styling are excellent. A scene in which the love triangle are forced to spend a night in a tent together reveals more character than the previous 500 pages. The allusions to Wuthering Heights elevate the plot and are a nod to the tradition of gothic literature, and may even inspire some teens to pick up a classic.

Frustratingly, Bella remains little more than a pawn in this book, trying to please everyone but herself. Much of this tome is taken up with her obsessing over the events of the backstory, and looking to her future, and whether or not she wants to be married, deflowered, turned, or all three, and when. Although she is a terrible role model for young women (marry young, girls are possessions, let your mate control your life, there is only One True Love, etc), the palpable (and chaste) longing will keep fans of the series swooning.

Eclipse is a must-have for YA collections, in spite of the fact that I personally wanted to throw the book across the room when I finished it. See, I’m holding out hope that in the next book, Breaking Dawn, slated for release next year, Bella snaps out of it and ends up with the RIGHT guy–for the right reasons. The debate on WHICH guy that will be rages on.

Wounded (The Wereling #1) by Stephen Cole

Standard

Cole, Stephen. Wounded (The Wereling, #1). Razorbill, 2005. ISBN 978-1595140418 272 pp. $

At 16, Tom is less than thrilled at the idea of a family vacation in the wilderness. He takes off hiking in the woods one morning and while fleeing a bear, falls into the rapids-filled river, ended up battered against some rocks. A kindly local family takes him in to nurse him back to health, but things are not what they seem–they are werewolves, and he’s been chosen as the suitor for their daughter, who needs a mate to turn herself. She isn’t keen on becoming a monster either, though so the two teens make a run for it. Several exciting battles ensue as they run into other werewolves who are one the hunt for the runaways. Not so subtle foreshadowing indicates the two will fall in love, and Tom might be the prophesized wereling, a savior type to ride the world of evil werewolves.

Not as sensory, symbolic, or sexy as Annette Curtis Klause’s Blood and Chocolate (Delacorte, 1997), Wereling has the whole “star-crossed lovers but we can’t give in” feel that lends a certain type of romantic angst teens girls devour. I liked it enough to find out what happens next.

The Wolving Time by Patrick Jennings

Standard
The Wolving Time by Patrick Jennings

Patrick Jennings. The Wolving Time. Scholastic, 2003. ISBN  978-0439395557 208 pp. $

***

Lazlo Emberek appears to be nothing more than a simple shepherd on the verge of puberty who spins and guards his family’s small flock; it turns out he comes from a family of shapeshifters who can turn into werewolves, and he can’t wait until he acquires the same skill. When he becomes friends with a young girl entrapped as a servant and scapegoat by the corrupt village priest, his family’s secrets come under suspicion of witchery. Drama mounts as the fear of the villagers, incited by the priest, increases. Ultimately, this conflict plays into Lazlo’s decision to take advantage of his canine heritage or turn from it.

Jennings’s story is replete with earthy details of life in sixteenth century France, including how they got their food, what they wore, an account of going to market day, and a fair amount of nakedness and violence. The writing is very good, with all five senses attended to–a comparison of the sense of smell of a human boy and a wolf is remarkable. Jennings’s use of historical setting and likening werewolves to witch hunts is both clever and plausible. However, the werewolf as a metaphor for teen adolescent has been done before; the character of Lazlo doesn’t contain the soul searching or angst of Annette Curtis Klause’s Vivian from Blood and Chocolate (Bantam, 1997) and is not as engaging. Still, the theme of persecution of those different from us and what it means to act monstrously could augment classroom or book group discussion nicely.