Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: Talulla Rising

Talulla Rising
Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of werewolf stories, those who like Duncan's style, those who find werewolves tragic and might like to see a different type.
Trigger Warnings: Lots of “Mommy” triggers. If you have children, be prepared to cringe a lot. Rape (male, female). Murder.

My Thoughts: This book is a sequel to The Last Werewolf (that review linked here where formatting allowed). Even the synopsis for this book has spoilers for the last, so if you have not yet read The Last Werewolf, and you do not wish to have it spoiled for you, it would be in your best interest to not read any of the plot details about this book. However, I have tried to keep my review spoiler-free, so you should be okay through to my disclosure.

I should warn that if you are looking for the same sort of wry, understated humor as the first book, you will be disappointed. Duncan switches writing style to match this new character, Talulla. Jake was a very old werewolf, one who had been alive almost 200 years, had seen it all, done it all, been through it all—and it showed. Talulla, however, is young as werewolves go, is still learning her way through things, still coming to terms with things, and doesn't have the same sort of feel to her voice. So, in many ways, this is a very different book. Oh, there are still plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, especially in the first few chapters, set in Alaska. But in many ways, while I called the first book Urban Fantasy, this is a much darker book; one I would almost label as horror, but not quite (based on the ending, which is not a horror-book ending). I especially want to warn mothers. If you've read the synopsis, then you know Talulla's son is kidnapped. This is just one of the very mother-nightmare-inducing things that happens in the book, and honestly? One of the mildest. So be prepared to spend a lot of time, if you are a mother, freaking right out.

Because this book is written by a different person, so to speak, it has a very different feel to it. That beautiful, polished lyricism that Jake possessed, based upon his age and the age in which he was born, is missing from American, Manhattan-raised Talulla. But that didn't make the story any less absorbing. Oftentimes werewolf stories make me too sad. I find the idea of werewolves to be unbearably tragic, since the traditional werewolf becomes feral at the full moon, unable to control him- or herself, and thus often destroys those around him or her unknowingly, leaving them depressed and upset once they are aware. However, Duncan's werewolves do not go feral—they maintain consciousness, full memory of who they are—they just have the Hunger to deal with. They must kill and eat at the full moon or, eventually, they will die. Although this is still often tragic, to me it's not quite as tragic for some reason. I guess because they have some choice in the matter. At any rate, all this basically means that if you are like me and find the idea of werewolves to be sad, you might enjoy these books anyway.

I can see some potentials for additional books in this universe. What will the small roads to friendship with the vampires (revealed late in the book) lead to? What about Mia? Will she forgive the thing with Caleb? How about Marco? What will happen with him? How about the “new” werewolves? The idea of packs has been born—will that make them more or less susceptible to WOCOP's Hunts? Or will the Hunts continue? Questions, questions, questions. I hope to see more!

I've decided to continue the theme by next reading Benjamin Percy's upcoming book Red Moon, so expect some compare and contrasts. Meanwhile, if you enjoy werewolf books—or even if you don't, based upon that previous paragraph—you will want to read this one. I have picked up a copy of Duncan's book I, Lucifer based on how much I enjoy his writing and will be reading it when I can, which basically means I highly recommend Duncan in general, and these werewolf books in particular. Check 'em out.

Disclosure: I received an uncorrected proof ARC through the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: When I change I change fast. The moon drags the whatever-it-is up from the earth and it goes through me with crazy wriggling impatience . . . I’m twisted, torn, churned, throttled—then rushed through a blind chicane into ludicrous power . . . A heel settles. A last canine hurries through. A shoulder blade pops. The woman is a werewolf.

The woman is Talulla Demetriou.

She’s grieving for her werewolf lover, Jake, whose violent death has left her alone with her own sublime monstrousness. On the run, pursued by the hunters of WOCOP (World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena), she must find a place to give birth to Jake’s child in secret.

The birth, under a full moon at a remote Alaska lodge, leaves Talulla ravaged, but with her infant son in her arms she believes the worst is over—until the windows crash in, and she discovers that the worst has only just begun . . .

What follows throws Talulla into a race against time to save both herself and her child as she faces down the new, psychotic leader of WOCOP, a cabal of blood-drinking religious fanatics, and (rumor has it) the oldest living vampire.

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