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Books 91-92: The Wolf Gift and 50 Shades of Red Riding Hood

Book 91: The Wolf Gift.
Author: Anne Rice, 2012.
Genre: Horror. Paranormal Romance. Werewolves
Other Details: Hardback. 406 pages.

Reuben Golding, a 23-year old reporter for the San Francisco Observer, is interviewing the owner of a grand mansion located on the rugged coast of North California. The owner, Marchent Nidek, is a glamorous 'older' woman (all of 38 years!), who is planning to sell the house she recently inherited when her missing uncle was finally declared legally dead. While there he falls in love with the property and given that he has a handy trust fund, decides he'd like to buy it. The cheekie chappie also ends up staying the night with Marchent despite having a fiancé back in San Francisco. He figures Celeste won't mind given the age difference between herself and Marchent. (I am not making this up!) During the night there is a horrific attack and Reuben is bitten by what at first appears to be a wild animal. During his recuperation he begins to undergo a rather unexpected transformation into what he, and later the media, dubs the 'Man Wolf'. His exploration of his new nature doesn't bode well for local baddies as his 'nose for evil' ends up with him becoming a man-wolf vigilante. Eventually he becomes aware of a guardian group of werewolves from whom he hopes to learn more about the 'Wolf Gift'.

I adore werewolves (though not quite as much as one character in the novel did!) and it was nice to see Anne Rice returning to her horror roots even if she's come a little late to the werewolf sub-genre. Having loved her early works, I was willing to give this one a chance. Anne Rice's re-imagining of the werewolf legend proved to be one of those novels that provided a couple of afternoons of enjoyment but didn't make me want to buy my own copy or rave about the book, apart from sharing one aspect of the storyline that I expect was not meant to be found funny.

I found it a quite literary novel with knowing references throughout to werewolves in legend, literature and film. There is also a fair amount of theological musings. In general, I found it an engaging story and a fairly appealing cast including Reuben, though I failed to fall in love with him as I had Louis all those years ago. His level of privilege, along with his good looks (people are continually commenting on how handsome he is), reminded me of one of those pretty but rather bland young people who tend to populate American TV series. I was surprised that Rice elected for a scientific explanation for the existence of werewolves over the supernatural though this may be due to her religious views. Still this resulted in the text being peppered with the kind of forensic jargon that is usually found in a crime thriller without it really convincing. Also, a pair of Russian researchers who pop up almost as an afterthought proved more reminiscent of Boris and Natasha of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame than the sinister figures they were suppose to be. Although no announcement has been made, Rice has said she's planning a sequel.

Book 92: 50 Shades of Red Riding Hood.
Author: R. R. Hood, 2012
Genre: Short Story. Parody
Other Details: Ebook - 19 pages.

"It was a romance that the world would never understand. He was a big bad wolf; she was just a young woman with no self-respect. Little Red Riding Hood knows it’s wrong. She knows their needs would never match. Yet she finds herself inexplicably drawn to Mr Wolf and his ‘specific tastes’. Repetitive, badly written and poorly edited, ‘Fifty Shades of Red Riding Hood’ has all the ingredients necessary to become a runaway success." - synopsis from 'Goodreads'.

I learnt of the existence of this short parody when a Facebook friend posted a link to its Amazon.co.uk page. Although I have not read the original work it is sending up, I have been exposed to enough reviews and snippets of to appreciate its humour. It was made all that more amusing having recently read Anne Rice's The Wolf Gift with its unintentionally funny scenes of werewolf-human nookie.

I also appreciated the end note by R. R. Hood which does make a serious point about abusive relationships in fiction and real life.
Tags: erotica, etext, horror, satire, sexual violence, short stories, werewolves
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