August 15, 2011

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan: Review (audio book)

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So what do you do if you've just found out you're the last werewolf alive and a bunch of zealots are out to get you? You get sloshed and have lots of sex. Apparently. Until stuff happens that makes you want to survive again. That's what The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan is all about.

Jake Marlow is the last of his kind, a randy 200 year old wolfman, who's being hunted down by a group dedicated to destroying supernatural critters. They've been pretty good at werewolf hunting, since they're easier to keep track of than say, vampires (yes, they hunt those guys too). Jake knows his days are numbered. He's being watched 24 hours a day. Once the full moon appears and his true nature reveals itself, he's toast. At least, that's what he believes. Then suddenly, Jake becomes a popular guy with just about every group imaginable wanting their hands on him. I guess being the last of something does that. Jake realizes that no one has his best interest in mind so he's determined to survive as long as he can on his own. Or so it would seem...

Okay, I know a lot of people think The Last Werewolf is awesomesauce but I thought it was all right. Yes, Jake is a sophisticated werewolf with an impressive vocabulary but some some self-editing would have been nice. I have a high tolerance for grossness but there is a lot of TMI in this story. Seriously, dude, I don't need to know where you put what when you were with your girl. And it draaaaaaagged the story along. While he was waxing poetic about his lady friend's magical lucky charms, I was wondering if we were ever going to back to the vampires and the secret hunter guys that were out to get him. Get on with it!

When he got out of bed, things would happen and that's when it was interesting. There are conspiracies inside of conspiracies and hints at books that explain the origins of the werewolf. Marlowe gets pulled this way and that. At the beginning, I was annoyed with him for being so blase about everything. By the end, he actually cares about a thing or two. It made him a more appealing character, although I still think he's gross. (He's no sexy vampire.) He has several interesting encounters with various humans. The most entertaining scenes are with the bumbling French former model. I love that guy.

It is beautifully written, and I have to wonder if I should read the text version instead of the audio book. I like to read pretty sentences a few times, rolling them around in my mind. That's not so easy with audio- you get the narrator's take and sometimes the squicky metaphors have more of an edge to them when read aloud. No doubt The Last Werewolf is smart with its references to Jane Eyre and William Blake and others. This is a grown up's story even without all the sex and violence.

Yes, you must have a high tolerance for sex and violence to read this one!

So I'm a bit torn. I wish I had read the text version it for the reasons stated. I think I would have liked it more but it's hard to say for sure. Maybe once the ickiness wears off my brain in a few years, I'll read it again.

About the Audio: The narrator is Robin Sachs (also narrated 22 Britannia Road, I reviewed earlier this year) and he's a convincing werewolf. He has a voice which sounds like it's been marinated in whiskey and Camels (Marlowe's favourites).

Rating:
Photobucket(I feel weird giving a book like this cute little cupcakes. Pretend they're dirty cupcakes, ones that got dropped in the mud.)

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5 comments :

  1. Dirty cupcakes, lol ! :D Very interesting review- have heard bits of buzz about this one but didn't know much about it - very much enjoyed your take on it! Interesting too to consider print v. audio book. Food for thought.

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  2. I'd probably feel more like you. I think I'll skip this one.

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  3. I have to admit your first paragraph there doesn't inspire me to rush out and read it...

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  4. Duncan is up there in my favorite writer list thingy. Sure, there's an ick factor with some of the sex-related scenes, but holy hell, the man can write, and his intelligence blazes out of his work. Sometimes I think he's the most under-rated writer of our time.

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  5. I've read a ton of great stuff about this book but my tolerance is just not up there for all the sex stuff. I find it to be irksome which is why I'm not putting this on my tbr list. Wonderful review!

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