This book is the sequel to The Wolf Gift which I reviewed previously here, I finished reading this a while ago but it has sat on my desk waiting to be reviewed ever since.
The tale of THE WOLF GIFT continues . . .
In Anne Rice’s surprising and compelling best-selling novel, the first of her strange and mythic imagining of the world of wolfen powers (“I devoured these pages . . . As solid and engaging as anything she has written since her early vampire chronicle fiction” —Alan Cheuse, The Boston Globe; “A delectable cocktail of old-fashioned lost-race adventure, shape-shifting and suspense” —Elizabeth Hand, The Washington Post), readers were spellbound as Rice imagined a daring new world set against the wild and beckoning California coast.
Now in her new novel, as lush and romantic in detail and atmosphere as it is sleek and steely in storytelling, Anne Rice brings us once again to the rugged coastline of Northern California, to the grand mansion at Nideck Point—to further explore the unearthly education of her transformed Man Wolf.
The novel opens on a cold, gray landscape. It is the beginning of December. Oak fires are burning in the stately flickering hearths of Nideck Point. It is Yuletide. For Reuben Golding, now infused with the wolf gift and under the loving tutelage of the Morphenkinder, this Christmas promises to be like no other . . . as he soon becomes aware that the Morphenkinder, steeped in their own rituals, are also celebrating the Midwinter Yuletide festival deep within Nideck forest.
From out of the shadows of the exquisite mansion comes a ghost—tormented, imploring, unable to speak yet able to embrace and desire with desperate affection . . . As Reuben finds himself caught up with the passions and yearnings of this spectral presence and the preparations for the Nideck town Christmas reach a fever pitch, astonishing secrets are revealed, secrets that tell of a strange netherworld, of spirits—centuries old—who possess their own fantastical ancient histories and taunt with their dark, magical powers . . .
If I was not such a fan of Anne Rice I would probably have found this book a disappointment after the fast paced action in the first book. This one is much slower in pace and rich in back story, creating the beginnings of the back story and supernatural theology which will thread through all future books to come in this series. If you consider her other series the Vampire Chronicles or The Mayfair Witch series it is something that is necessary to the series as a whole, but can be off putting for readers unacquainted with her style. Because she divides her chronicles into individual books this is far more noticeable when you get one that laden with the folklore than say reading Lord of the Rings where it is spread more evenly throughout the bod of work but it is worth sticking with it. As always Anne Rice creates a race of beings both complex and seductive but still real, you could imagine meeting these people sharing a coffee without knowing their secret unless they chose to share it.
I confess I still prefer the Vampires but then again I have known them longer and invested more time with them, Anne herself has returned to their stories once more, but I do look forward to reading more of the Morphenkinder and Reuben and hope she does not leave them waiting for too long.