Think you know vampires and werewolves? Wolf Song by Frank W. Smith will have you rethinking all you ever thought you knew. From a few pages in I knew I would love this book. The vampires are evil creatures constructed of conceit and veiled in false glamour, a far cry from the crowds of dewy-eyed vegetarians that seem to crowd today’s tales of terror.
The werewolves also hail back to a more traditional approach of the term. There are no panting, half-naked hotties parading around as man wolves here. Frank’s beasts are… well, beasts. He perfectly captures the angst of belonging to two races that are in constant opposition with each other. As wolves they demonstrate pack loyalty while they simultaneously struggle with the dangers of losing their humanity permanently.
The story starts with a werewolf named Jon faced with a seemingly simple choice. Does he step in to defend the helpless or does he turn a blind eye in the name of self-preservation? The consequences of his decision affect the lives of human, werewolf and vampire alike.
I enjoyed this story very much and was honestly surprised at how original it was. I confess my initial reaction was blasé as I’m not a huge werewolf/vampire fan and it was at the urging of a very wise friend (Amy!) that I chose to read it.
My favorite scene was when Jon and Father McTeague have a chat with a minion of the vampires on holy ground. I won’t spoil the story with details but when the priest wraps up the conversation in a very definitive way I found myself responding vocally with a loud YES! that prompted my napping kitten to desert me.
They say an old story can always be retold and in this case it’s obvious that Frank W. Smith is the one to tell it. I am grateful that I did read it because the story is a beautiful one that leaves you with the sense that when choosing between good and evil there is no real choice. We must either fight it or wait for it to come for us and succumb.
Pros: I loved, loved, loved the hideous vampires. Albus is my favorite character with all his wisdom and dedication. The writing was tight with rich descriptions that invoked the scene and emotions. Frank’s action scenes played out smoothly in believable sequences that followed logically. Never once was I jolted out of the story because something didn’t make sense. The story arc was a powerful one giving the sense that something of value was attained in addition to entertainment.
Cons: At times, too much dialogue. Albus was somehow adorable while being inspiring but at times I just wanted him to just shush so Jon could kill something. I’m sure Jon felt the same way. Some of the conversations between Father McTeague were too preachy but not enough to bring me out of the story. Rather, I had the feeling that the listening characters were feeling the same impatience that I was. Go kill some Bats already!
I’d recommend this book to anyone that loves a good monster tale but is tired of the vampire/werewolf love story that has come to epitomize the paranormal genre. A truly unique tale that can boast of well written characters and an interesting plot that bounces all over the place without losing the reader.
Thank you Frank W Smith for the wonderful gift of this book, and thank you Amy Eye for the suggestion! While I have sworn off reviews in general I’m making an exception for an exceptional book. You can also read the interview I did on Frank W. Smith previously.