Cannonball Read IV: The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice
What Have I Become, My Sweetest Friend...
There are many of you Cannonball readers who are "of a certain age" as I am and you quite possibly are die-hard fans of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. I'm the first to argue how much better vampire stories were back in my day! Rice's vampires were not sparkly navel gazers; they were monstrous devils. Rice's Louis lived a tortured life, regretting his weary immortality, but Lestat was preening, deliciously wicked fun. The Vampire Chronicles were dirty, deviant, mature, and violent-exactly what is missing in today's vampire stories.
As you may suspect, I read a lot of Anne Rice. I stuck with Rice when she wrote about the Mayfair witches, too. But, then I got a little older, and I stopped reading Anne Rice. I am not sure if that is her fault or mine. However, when I read that she was publishing a new book, The Wolf Gift, I thought maybe I should give it a whirl once more. We had so much history together. Wolves are hot right now, too, and I hoped she injected some maturity into the popular lit-trash that has been published recently.
I admit I am the cheapest cheapskate there is. I have a Kindle, but so far I have just the free stuff, like self-published e-books and the classics. I placed a hold on The Wolf Gift from the local library and waited patiently for my turn.
When I finally had the opportunity to check out the book, I was thoroughly excited. It was fresh and new. I began reading it immediately. If you read the publisher's summary, it tells you the book takes place on the coast of Northern California in the present. I felt that Anne Rice's description of the scenery was vivid and captivating. The story begins in a towering mansion on the edge of the Pacific. I could see it in my mind. So far so good.
The main character, young Reuben Golding, is a reporter for the San Francisco Observer and he has arrived at the mysterious mansion because it must be sold quickly. I was excited by all the details that Anne Rice gave to the setting-the redwood forests, the exquisite details of every room in the house, the weather. I have always enjoyed her writing in that respect. My desire to go to New Orleans was born with her novels and I can say that my interest in northern California is piqued by this book.
As fascinating as the setting was, I had a difficult time envisioning Reuben. I could never get a clear visual on him, based on either my own inability to comprehend or Rice's lack of giving as much detail to Reuben's exterior as she did the setting. He was young, rich, and just a little lost. However, his life is changed at the mansion when he is attacked and bitten by some horrible creature. This bite transforms him into something wholly implausible and incredible.
Once he begins to transform, his life changes. He has a purpose; he becomes something better than he was before that fateful night in the mysterious mansion. Reuben has received a Gift. Why has he received it? Can he use it for the greater good or will it destroy him?
I do not want to spoil the complete story for anyone interested in reading this book. I will finish by saying that it is not as violent an Anne Rice book as I was expecting. There was a positive angle in the book that was refreshing. Rice created her own rules and mythology for her creations and characters that is familiar yet new.
Anne Rice created a wholly readable and enjoyable new book that will likely be a series of books. Her writing has changed, just as we have, but she is still a captivating storyteller, capable of maturity and spinning a great yarn.