Title: The Last Werewolf
Author: Glen Duncan
Series: The Last Werewolf #1
Genre: Supernatural, Paranormal
Publication Date: July 12th, 2011
Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but you’d never suspect it. Nonstop sex and exercise will do that for you–and a diet with lots of animal protein. Jake is a werewolf, and after the unfortunate and violent death of his one contemporary, he is now the last of his species. Although he is physically healthy, Jake is deeply distraught and lonely.
Jake’s depression has carried him to the point where he is actually contemplating suicide–even if it means terminating a legend thousands of years old. It would seem to be easy enough for him to end everything. But for very different reasons there are two dangerous groups pursuing him who will stop at nothing to keep him alive.
Here is a powerful, definitive new version of the werewolf legend–mesmerising and incredibly sexy. In Jake, Glen Duncan has given us a werewolf for the twenty-first century–a man whose deeds can only be described as monstrous but who is in some magical way deeply human.
One of the most original, audacious, and terrifying novels in years.
Why did I read this book? I’ve had it on my radar for some time, being drawn to the great cover and premise and finally got around to reading it this holiday.
The Last Werewolf is a story told by the main character, Jake Marlowe through his journal as he describes his experience as the last werewolf on earth. It opens with him finding out the second-to-last werewolf has been killed by the WOCOP (“World Organization for the Control of Occult Phenomena”) and documents Marlowe’s depression and angst about his situation. To be honest, it probably sucks really hard being a werewolf not to mention the last werewolf. His arch nemesis Grainer is coming for him on the next full moon, so he can kill him properly as a wolf until shit basically hits the fan and things get way more complicated than before.
This is a very literary take on the werewolf story and the paranormal genre. What really stood out for me is the quality of the writing; I was immediately drawn to Jake’s voice and was intrigued by the depths of his psyche. The tone is very morose and dark, which you might expect with vampires more than werewolves and I found that refreshing. Don’t let it fool you though, there’s lots of violence and explicit sex that would make any werewolf blush (it’s not for the faint of heart). While this is a werewolf story, there are vampires and despite their overuse in books these days I found them quite entertaining. They have a great antagonistic relationship going with the werewolves:
“A vampire has written: ‘the great asymmetry between immortals and werewolves (apart from the obvious aesthetic asymmetry) is that whereas the vampire is elevated by his transformation the werewolf is diminished by his. To be a vampire is to be increased in subtlety of mind and refinement of taste; the self opens the door of its dismal bed-sit to discover the house of many mansions. Personality expands, indefinitely. The vampire gets immortality, immense physical strength, hypnotic ability, the power of flight, psychic grandeur and emotional depth. The werewolf gets dyslexia and a permanent erection. It’s hardly worth making the comparison.’” (p. 28)
It’s not all fun and sex being a werewolf for Jake, though. Every full moon he transforms and is beholden to the wolf and must kill and feed, a hunger only humans can satisfy. Another passage on the kill I quite liked:
Once the body’s light’s out the Hunger admits a strand of disgust, a post-coital realism before the act is complete. You eat fast, in a worsening temper, with contempt for God’s creative vulgarity in yoking consciousness to meat. You eat fast because revulsion’s chasing you. When it catches you—seeks you out like the long arm of the law—you’ll have to stop, you won’t be able to go on. (p. 81)
The only criticisms I had towards for book is the sole use of women as sexual partners for Jake and the lack of any good female characters, even when, near the end, the character of Tallula appears. After she does, though, I found the story faltering in its earlier charm. I’m willing to give her another chance though, seeing as though she appears in the sequel called Tallula Rising.
Overall, I definitely recommend this book even if I have some reservations about how the women are portrayed. The prose, humour and original werewolf and vampire ideas make this worth reading to me. I’ll be checking out the sequel, Tallula Rising and possibly more from this author in the future.