Review: “The Wolf Gift” by Anne Rice

Posted: July 5, 2012 in Review
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The cover of Anne Rice’s “The Wolf Gift”.

You know, it just doesn’t seem right to do a review of an Anne Rice novel without mentioning in the title that it was written by her, and there’s good reason for that: Anne Rice is a wonderful writer, a woman whose evolution from her early works to her latest writing can be seen by even people who are not well-versed in the study of literature. If I were to try to classify Anne Rice’s writing, I’d call it sophisticated horror, and that depending on what work you are reading, you can compare her work to some sort of food or drink: The Vampire Chronicles are, most appropriately, red wine; Lives of the Mayfair Witches could be an aged, sweet port; The Mummy as a leafy salad; Servant of the Bones as a French bread; and Songs of the Seraphim as a dairy dessert. I’m sorry, I just had lunch, can you tell?

So what does The Wolf Gift taste like? Probably a white wine meant for right before bed. It is an amazing work of fiction, and shows just how Anne Rice’s style has acclimatized to the Information and Technology age. From the point of view of reporter Reuben Golding, we see how he becomes a werewolf–or Man Wolf, as he prefers, and Morphenkind, as his species in the novel is referred to as a whole–and how his new abilities include an instinct to hunt down those whom we consider evil (rapists, murderers, etc.) just by scent. Along the way, Reuben must figure out how to interact with his family after his change, the question of whether he is good or evil, abomination or divinely blessed, and unravel the mysteries surrounding the house he lives in, where he is bitten, and what it all has to do with Morphenkind in general.

Although the book doesn’t have a central primary antagonist (two antagonists do appear throughout the story though; a werewolf who has “lost his way”, which is not what you’re thinking, and two Russian scientists with sinister goals), the obstacle that all the main characters must face is whether they are good or evil, and what it means to be given the Wolf Gift, and how it places them in the grand scheme of things.

One of the unique aspects of Anne Rice’s latest novel is that instead of looking at things from a supernatural/magical point of view as she usually does, she instead looks at the werewolves and their abilities from a scientific perspective, using that to explain the forensic conundrums of werewolf DNA and the passing-on of the wolf gift and how exactly it works on the body’s structure, endocrine system, and DNA.

If I had to discuss the main theme of “The Wolf Gift”, I would say it is purpose, whether it be individual, moral, or cosmic purpose.

I give this latest masterpiece by the woman who basically created the sexy vampire, a 4.4 out of 5, for outstanding plot, character development, and philosophical questions explored. If there’s ever a movie adaptation, I would love to write the script for it.

All for now, I think I’ll write Ms. Rice a fan letter (I do that for every new book of hers I read; she’s the only author I know that has an email address for her fan mail).

What I imagine the werewolves in “The Wolf Gift” to look like. Very scary, but actually very nice if you get to talk to them, and I mean that in either form.

  1. Greg says:

    I appreciated your review, I came to it in fact from Anne Rice’s link on her FB page. The food/wine comparisons were adroit. Especially the French Bread, I’m sure Azriel and Marduk will think favorably of you, the next time they partake of some. Neat werewolf pic too.

  2. Andrzej says:

    White wine, you say? Well I haven’t read that one yet, but I’ll start right after finishing the “Violin”!

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