Sam is a werewolf cured of his curse. His girlfriend Grace was turned into a wolf to save her life. Now, as winter comes to an end, they can be together again. Unfortunately, too many mysteries surround Grace’s disappearance to make their reunion a smooth one. Worse, a local politician is determined to exterminate the wolves of Mercy Falls, unaware that some of them used to be human. It’s a race against time for Grace and Sam, and their friends, to save the wolf pack, even as they fight for their happy ending. This conclusion to the trilogy is haunting and romantic, as well as emotionally raw and full of stark imagery. The only drawback is an ending steeped in vagueness and uncertainty, all but demanding a follow-up. It’s still a thought-provoking, creative take on werewolves, unlike anything else out there.
Archive for category Shapeshifters
When Kylie Galen is sent to Shadows Fall, a camp for troubled teens, she figures it’s because she screwed up once too often. The truth is, it’s secretly a camp for supernatural teenagers learning how to control their natures and fit in. Thing is, Kylie isn’t supernatural, or so she thinks. As she gets to know her fellow campers, she discovers the truth of her heritage, even as she juggles her attraction to a werewolf she’s known for years, and a half-Fae boy whose charm is irresistible. There’s trouble afoot at the camp, and Kylie may be the key to fixing things. With a memorable narrative voice and an entertaining setup, this coming-of-age romp is a breath of fresh air.
Evie’s attempts to lead a normal high school life after quitting her job with the International Paranormal Containment Agency seem doomed to failure when paranormals start attacking her at random, and her old boss all but begs her to come back as a freelancer, much to the dismay of Evie’s shapeshifter boyfriend. Unable to turn her back on friends and duty, Evie tries to balance the aspects of her life with little success. Now she’s dealing with fairies again, learning more about her past than she ever expected, and up to her eyeballs in trouble. Though a bit angsty, Evie’s an enjoyable heroine, and her fast-paced Buffyesque adventures make for a good read.
When the enigmatic James Li comes to the Arizona town of Santo del Vado Viejo, he finds new friends, and new enemies. One of the Yellow Dragon Clan, he’s in the process of embracing his true nature and destiny. To do that, he’ll need to find his own limits while battling the drug dealers and gangbangers terrorizing the town, as well as winning over the locals and resident spirits. It all comes down to an epic clash of magic, emotion and music, in de Lint’s uniquely addictive style. Rich language, lush descriptions, complex situations and the intricate blending of mythologies and beliefs demonstrate why de Lint is still considered a master of the genre. It rarely gets better than this.
Bryn’s never had what you’d call a normal life. Her parents were killed when she was young, and she was raised by Callum, Alpha of a werewolf pack. A human among wolves, Bryn’s taken special delight in challenging the rules and testing her limits. She may be part of the pack, but she’s always held part of herself back. However, when the pack takes in a mysterious young man named Chase, Bryn’s immediately and inexplicably attracted to him. Is it because, like her, he’s survived a rogue werewolf, or is it just teen hormones? It doesn’t help that she has to stay away for her own safety while Chase adjusts to being a newly-minted wolf.
As Bryn and Chase grow closer, Bryn does whatever it takes to be with him, obeying pack rules and giving up some of her precious individual freedom. Then something strange happens, leaving the two bonded as a pack of two, and from then on, they’re on their own. Exiled from Callum’s pack, they have to find a way to make it on their own, which involves hunting down the Rabid werewolf who destroyed both of their lives. What they’ll discover in the process will rock Bryn and Chase to the core, and change the face of werewolf society.
As werewolf books go, this one’s pretty good. It’s hard by this point to do something really different involving werewolf packs and cross-species romances, but Barnes injects the setup with enough little twists and surprises to keep it interesting. Where she shines, of course, is in the characterization. Bryn makes for a believably strong-willed, stubborn, dynamic character, and Chase works well as a foil for her. Callum performs his role as father/authority figure to perfection, while Bryn’s best friend Lake rounds out the mix. The mythology is solid and the mood just right for the material, making this a better-than-average example of the werewolf sub-genre. Worth a look.
Scarlett and Rosie March hunt werewolves. It’s what they do, it’s all they’ve really known since they were young. For Scarlett, who proudly bears the scars of her battles, it’s her way of protecting others from the terrors she’s lived with all her life. But for Rosie, it’s increasingly a chore, something that prevents her from having a normal life. The closer the sisters are, the more it feels like they’re pulling apart, which could prove disastrous when they stumble across a massive Fenris conspiracy, one worse than any lone wolf they’ve ever encountered.
At the same time, Rosie begins to fall for Silas, a young man possessed of many mysteries. His presence answers as many questions as it raises, especially as the werewolves gather in numbers for a purpose only they understand. Now, Rosie and Scarlett have to decide where their hearts lie, and what they’re willing to fight for, before everything falls apart.
This darkly romantic retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale is intriguing and well-woven. With its bad-ass heroines, visceral moments, and action-packed moments, it’ll appeal to those who like Buffy, Supernatural, or Sarah Rees Brennan’s Demon books. Admittedly, the theme’s been done before, but Pearce still does a great job of making it her own. Sisters Red exudes power and passion, and that’s bound to bring the fans.
Following the horrific murder of her parents, which she witnessed but cannot remember, Avery Hood leaves her beloved home in the woods to stay with her grandmother. When she meets Ben, whom she soon discovers to be a werewolf, the memories begin to return. But is the guy she’s falling for really a murderer, or is something more sinister afoot? The pressure’s on to find out who killed her parents, and why, before she becomes the next victim. This tension-filled retelling of Red Riding Hood is suspenseful, intriguing, and romantic, looking at the old themes in a whole new light.
With Sam apparently cured of being a werewolf, he and Grace can finally try dating like normal people. Unfortunately, her parents don’t entirely approve of the fresh relationship, some of the townspeople of Mercy Falls are still out to weed out the local wolves, and the new additions to the pack, including a musician named Cole, aren’t coping too well with their transformations. Worst of all, Grace is falling ill, and her only cure may be a death sentence in its own right. Stark imagery and a rich attention to color and shadow, coupled with intense emotional moments make this more than your typical teen werewolf romance.
FBI profiler Jace Valchek has spent her life learning how the criminally insane think, to the point where she’s an expert. And because of that experience, she’s just been abruptly reassigned to work with the NSA. Just … not the NSA she was expecting. She’s been sent into another world, a parallel dimension where things took a strange turn in the 13th Century. In this new world, vampires, werewolves and golems constitute the vast majority of the populace; normal humans make a mere one percent. The supernaturals don’t succumb to mental illness, only the humans, and there’s a serial killer on the loose. If Jace ever wants to see her home again, she’ll have to stop this madman from pursuing his bloody work.
Now she has a vampire for a boss, a werewolf for a doctor and therapist, and a golem for a partner. She’s an extreme minority in a world that’s strangely familiar and utterly alien, and she’s tracking a killer across the world. But every body is another piece in a terrifying puzzle, and what it suggests could be disastrous if left unchecked. Of course, even if Jace can save the world, it doesn’t necessarily mean her job here is done. Not if, for instance, her primary target escapes….
That’s Dying Bites, the first of the Bloodhound Files. In Death Blows, we see how poor Jace is coming to terms with her extended stay in a world where she’s an oddity and an outsider. She’s still on the hunt for Aristotle Stoker, leader of the Free Human Resistance, who’s eluded her for over three months and counting. In the meantime, there’s plenty of work to be done; thanks to Stoker, supernaturals are now capable of going insane, and they keep coming unhinged.
This new case is weird even for Jace’s line of work. It all starts with a murdered vampire wearing a Flash outfit. (Barry Allen, the Flash who came to prominence in the ’60s, for those playing at home.) Jace quickly discovers the impossibility of this: comic books have been outlawed since the ’50s, ever since a certain guy, name of Wertham, used totemic magic to become incredibly powerful, and extremely dangerous. His reign of terror ended when the government sponsored a team of “superheroes” known as the Bravo Brigade to stop him. They won, and disbanded, the individual members fading back into obscurity and their personal lives.
Only now someone is killing the former members of the Bravo Brigade and stealing their various artifacts, including a sword which can supposedly cut through time, and a gem which can manipulate energy. Jace and her partner, the golem Charlie Aleph, have to stop whoever’s behind this new spate of killings before they can pick up where Wertham left off. Good luck. She’ll need it.
This is an astonishingly intriguing, highly captivating series. The setting is amazingly well thought out; every question I thought to ask about how some aspect of it works, Barant’s anticipated and answers in the narrative as Jace encounters each new discrepancy between her “real” world and the one she’s stuck in. The idea of a world where supernaturals make up the extreme majority and have had to adjust to their new status on top, while humans are practically an endangered species is certainly one with a lot of potential, and Barant’s milking it for all it’s worth. Both books thus far start off as murder mysteries, but there’s so much more going on, including Cthuluesque monstrosities, comic book cults, golem bounty hunters, vampire superheroes, werewolf gangs and perky undead teenagers.
If anything, Death Blows is even more outrageously inventive than its predecessor. It’s absolutely steeped in comic book lore, invoking the works of Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and more. From the Doom Patrol to Superman, Crisis on Infinite Earths to Animal Man, The Flash to the X-Men, clues are gleamed and parallels drawn, all pulled together by the vampiric literary counterpart of a comic book writer you might not expect. To top that all off, an episode of Seinfeld plays a small but important part. I can honestly sit here and say I’ve never seen a plot that plays out quite like this, and it’s both weird and awesome.
So why should you read this series? Because it’s urban fantasy, where the main character is an FBI profiler armed with a gun and an attitude, in a world where vampires and werewolves are the majority, whose partner is a golem powered by the spirit of a T-Rex, and who investigates serial killings involving Elder Gods and contraband comic book cults, all while hunting the immortal shaman who can send her home. And it’s goooood.
In a perfect world, Amanda Feral, Seattle’s favorite zombie fashionista, socialite, and trouble magnet, wouldn’t have to worry about a thing. Her nightlife would be nothing but fruity drinks and tasty college boys. Think again. Her business is in dire financial straits, the reapers who patch her up after every misadventure are snarling for their money, her werewolf boyfriend is more of an animal in bed than is comfortable, and her mom’s a strip club-owning vampire. When a chance to at least settle her money woes comes up, in the form of judging a reality show, Amanda reluctantly accepts the deal. However, the prompt murder of the show’s sexy, obnoxious host (and chief draw) means a quick change in plans for all involved.
Now, Amanda has to figure out who killed Johnny Birch, the world’s most annoying wood nymph. Was it the voodoo mama? The Belgian ghoul? The Japanese smoke ghost? The twin sirens? The drag queen werewolf? Everyone has a motive, the means, and the opportunity. But will the would-be contestants kill each other before Amanda pins down the culprit … or will the fact that she’s a lousy detective mark the end of her glamourous unlife? Some people would die to be on TV, even the secret supernatural channels … and some will die whether they want to or not.
Profane, demanted, and utterly warped, Battle of the Network Zombies is the third in Mark Henry’s series about the trials and tribulations of Amanda Feral, a foul-mouthed flesh-eater who navigates the Seattle supernatural social scene like a less evil Paris Hilton. With a wide variety of bizarre mythological creatures strutting their stuff here, and Amanda’s customary amusing asides, anecdotes and footnotes, it’s clear that Henry’s really tapped into his inner (undead) diva once again. While not for the sensitive, easily-offended, or delicate of heart, this book skewers the reality show mindset even as it cooks up a surprise-filled murder mystery. The chapter headings, each one offering up a TV Guide-style listing of a cable show for the supernatural set, are uniformly entertaining (I’d watch Thanks For The Dismemberments, or Jersey Devil House Party!), and I can certainly appreciate the use of lesser-known mythological creatures as secondary characters. For some, this series may be an acquired taste, but it’s certainly got a unique style and voice, and Battle of the Network Zombies lives up (or down?) to the standard set by the first two books.