I got pretty excited about this book when it first came out. Everyone was talking about it...it was sexy, it was different, it was twisted literature. I was on my game in the audio-ordering department and got it just a few days after the library had received it. But then the tide turned. It was underwhelming. It was bizarre. DNF. The literary world is a fickle animal! I pushed it aside.
Ultimately, I listened to it because it was narrated by my new vocal crush, Robin Sachs. I had just finished listening to "The Snowman" by Jo Nesbo, which was narrated by Sachs as well, and I wasn't done with him. I needed more of that purring, rakish, accented voice in my ear.
Synopsis: Jake has been a werewolf for over 200 years, and it is getting pretty old. He has animalistic urges for food, sex, alcohol and drugs, even when he is "human" (he subscribes to the "f--k, eat, kill" mantra), he has plenty of money, he has all the creature comforts that one needs in life. But he is lonely. There are agencies out there created for the sole purpose of eradicating werewolves from the earth, and rumor is, he is the last. And they are coming for him.
He has seriously considered suicide. I mean, why fight? 200 years can wear on a guy, when he is driven to murder once a month, and when he longs to have an answer to the question of the purpose of his existence. If he isn't running from the groups trying to kill him, then there are the vampires who have their own agenda, and they are annoyingly persistent.
But then Jake is reawakened, and possibly finds a reason to live. The question is...is it too late?
My thoughts: Three discs into this story, I had a talk with myself. I asked, "Self, can you find the strength to get through this audio?". I looked for guidance from friends who had read it. Listening felt like an insurmountable task, like pushing a two ton boulder up a hill. The plot was slow, and I was mildly turned off by all of Jake's incessant "urges". But then there was Robin Sachs in my ear doing his thing, so I continued.
And I'm glad I did. I can't say that I was blown away by this book, but it grew on me. The plot did thicken, and I became a little endeared to Jake. Some humanity started to shine through.
I will warn you that if graphic sex on the page or in your ears bothers you, you might think twice before starting this one. There is alot of sex, and it is not implied. It is described in detail. Jake can't even sit and have a conversation with a woman without doing things with his body parts. He is always doing things. He is a multi-tasker.
The biggest surprise for me, however, was the brilliance of the words. Duncan's eloquence was the last thing I expected to hear in a book about a werewolf, but his words were stunning, taking something potentially trendy and even hokey and making it introspective and philosophical. It was hard for me to find the best quotes since this was a listening experience, but here are a few I found:
"You forgot sex could do this, cast the divine fragment back into the divine whole for a moment, then reel it out again, razed, beatified.”
“Just because life's meaningless doesn't mean we can't experience it meaningfully."
“The collective human unconscious can't stand it, the thought of stuff going on forever, so has decided (collectively, unconsciously) to bring the planet to an end. Eco-apocalypse isn't accident, it's deep species strategy.”
Interestingly, I'm seeing this on the IMDb calendar as a movie in 2014. I can't seem to get Gary Oldman out of my head. I'm not sure he is the right age, and it probably has something to do with him being a phenomenal Dracula but I'll be interested in the casting for this one.
A word about the audio production: You know what is coming now, right? If you like audios in general, please do yourself a favor and find something that Robin Sachs is narrating. You will thank me. If it weren't for his voice, I'm not totally sure I would have persisted past the third disc. He is amazing with his inflections and accents, and exudes an edge that was perfect for Jake's character.
3.5 out of 5 stars