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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A metaphor for what lies within us all!
Baring in mind that so many Amazon reviews have been written already for this compelling novel, I'm not going to set out the plot or summarize the story again, but assume that anyone reading this is already familiar with that much. Rather, these words will (I hope) provide a few new extra ponderings to add to the many dozens of imaginative and thought provoking points...
Published on 4 May 2012 by Mark T - Wizard

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The wolf gift horse and mouth. Bad dog!...Drop it!
The sublime existential journey of Interview, drew me head long and happily into the chronicles where I was not disappointed (apart from the endless Catholic diatribe/angst that was the hiccup of Memnoch). Such beautifully crafted novels made me sure that a writer of such character and depth was incapable of churning out such banal and unashamed Jackie Collings/Mills and...
Published 6 months ago by Julie R Dennis


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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A metaphor for what lies within us all!, 4 May 2012
This review is from: The Wolf Gift (The Wolf Gift Chronicles) (Hardcover)
Baring in mind that so many Amazon reviews have been written already for this compelling novel, I'm not going to set out the plot or summarize the story again, but assume that anyone reading this is already familiar with that much. Rather, these words will (I hope) provide a few new extra ponderings to add to the many dozens of imaginative and thought provoking points already made.

Let me begin by asserting that, to me, The Wolf Gift is a Yin Yang of a book - a book of deep contrasts, of immense dark and light and the interplay between them. Yet it's not dark and light in the usual sense of creating a good/bad division between hero and enemy. In this book the primary focus of the dark and light polarities exist within a single character. And, more than that, the book in fact encourages the reader to get in touch with the self-same dark and light polarity within themselves.

But more on that in a moment. First let me say this; for me The Wolf Gift was a real page turner. Excuse the pun but, from the moment I opened it metaphorical jaws I was bitten... and once bitten, then dragged helplessly into an adventure that never let me go until the very end. Rarely does a book hold me captive the way this did. It was an utterly compelling read and not simply because of the typical Anne Rice style (which, I have to say, was in top form) but because of the underlying metaphor and psychology. So, let's return to that theme of darkness, light and the human condition.

In a way I saw The Wolf Gift as an up to date Jekyll and Hyde, but whereas Jekyll (as mad scientist) determines his own fate by his quest to experiment, Reuben (our new hero) becomes what he becomes involuntarily, simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time - or, depending on your outlook, the right place at the right time! The bite and transfer of its condition is, after all, called a `Gift.' It is seen as a dark blessing, and this understanding is reinforced by the pseudo sacramental language employed. The salivary fluid that passes the gift on is called Chrism (the holy oil used in catholic rites of passage.

And here's where we're brought to our own dark and light. Anne Rice is master of re-creating age old myths and re-presenting them for a modern age. Yet she always manages to avoid the modern day tendency to clean up, water down or make pretty that we often find in other attempts to re-write the gothic horrors. However, Rice's hero in this book remains a hero even after he's taken on his personality as a Man Wolf. Rather than becoming an indiscriminate mad killer, he senses evil and destroys it. And he protects the good. Ah, I can hear you thinking, so this time she HAS sold out and done a Twilight job. This time she's made her monsters nice. I answer you NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. And this is what's so disturbing for the reader. This is what drags us down into our own darkness. The Man Wolf is brutal and wild; a lustful beast who crunches away people's heads and gorges on their soft dripping flesh, licking up their still hot blood. Make no mistake; this monster is a monster in the real sense of the word. The only difference is that he is aware of the moral state of his victims and will only kill those whom he senses as evil. And before you know it you, the reader, begin to sympathise with this violent creature. And if you're not extremely careful, by the end of the book you find yourself joining the crowds of cheering characters who celebrate the Man Wolf with an almost religious passion, singing hymns and writing poems and even selling action figures.

Who can blame them? Who can blame you? Here's the punisher of wrongdoing and a protector of the innocent we've all craved for if we're honest; not just a tough cop who throws the child molester in jail and chucks away the key, but a lethal judge and executioner who tortures them and gives them what they deserve before ripping them to shreds.

I have to say that this makes the book extremely uncomfortable reading. And so it should.
For those, like me, who like to see ourselves as liberal, compassionate, forgiving, sane, balanced and moral, this Man Wolf begins to reveal an inner wildness, even rage that we keep locked up and under control. It's what Carl Jung referred to as the shadow.

There is also a sexual element to this shadow side too. The sexuality of the Man Wolf becomes evident when he meets his mate and, written with erotic poetry, the descriptions of love making between Man Wolf and woman are both raw and sensual, wild and delicate. And we are under no illusions that, for Reuben, sex had never been as powerful before his Wolf personality took control. And again we, the reader, begin to look deeper into our own shadow!

For Reuben, as with both Louie and Lestat, his condition demands knowledge and understanding of what he is, as well as some sort of quest to find others and even to be linked or connected to a Man Wolf genealogy. Yet, unlike his Vampire cousins, the Man Wolf seems far less depressed about his condition than them. For Reuben the Wolf Gift is not the curse that the Dark Gift is for Louie et al. And, over the course of his adventure he gradually learns to gain some control and even perspective, seeing it perhaps as more than just a gift for him. But we never really get to the bottom of whether the Wolf Gift is a gift for the world or not. Like Fr. Jim, the hero's Catholic Priest brother, I (also a priest) hold that violence can never be adequately dealt with by more violence. Yet, I do hold that understanding and embracing the shadow within us is of the utmost importance for living healthy and balanced lives. As we all know only too well, when you imprison something and bury it deep down in the unconscious, it only becomes stronger and will - in the end - break free. When my own tradition (Christianity) bangs on about `living in the light,' claiming that God cannot look upon darkness, and that we must abstain, deny and (pushed to an extreme) even punish our own flesh, we only create bigger demons. I've learned from my Pagan friends, that a healthy dose of Yin and Yang, of light and dark, makes for a more grounded and far less destructive personality.

So, finally, that's what I feel the new monster from Anne Rice gives us. A metaphor for what lies deep down within us all. She offers no answers, and how can she? The question is for each of us to ask independently and of ourselves; what /who is this shadow within me? How do I tame it, embrace it, use it for wholeness and balance rather than destruction?

MARK TOWNSEND
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Queen is dead!, 18 July 2014
This review is from: The Wolf Gift (Audio CD)
This is so bad, at times I was doubting that Anne Rice even wrote it. The dialogue is just awful; there is only one voice from every 2 dimensional character, (the distinguished gentlemen I'm talking about here), and that's Rices voice. Sure, in her previous novels one or two characters might represent her own view, but there were opposing views and conflict to balance the story. Not here, everyone just agrees with, or immediately understands what their companions are eluding to, no matter how extraordinary.
It's a werewolf book, so we have to suspend our disbelief from the start, but the author of a werewolf book still has the responsibility to prove, within their own mythology if needs be, that this can happen within the boundaries of the front and back cover, she fails horribly, at times laughably.
Gone is the originality of the vampire chronicles, the rich prose, and even the ability to make us care about the hero's plight (which is awfully similar to a certain vampire) because it is impossible to relate to any of these characters.
The narrator did his best, but this turkey was impossible to save.
There were a few bits where the narrative was good and showed the Rice of old; Reuben's articles on the man wolf, for example; which is why I gave it two stars, but she stutters through a pretty poor story for the rest, and fizzles out to a load of waffle around a table near the end.
Do yourself a favour and avoid this one; go listen to Interview with the vampire, or Blackwood farm, or even the witching hour, when she was at her gothic best.
How the mighty have fallen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The wolf gift horse and mouth. Bad dog!...Drop it!, 5 Mar 2014
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The sublime existential journey of Interview, drew me head long and happily into the chronicles where I was not disappointed (apart from the endless Catholic diatribe/angst that was the hiccup of Memnoch). Such beautifully crafted novels made me sure that a writer of such character and depth was incapable of churning out such banal and unashamed Jackie Collings/Mills and Boonesqe stuff as is the Wolf Gift. Unless of course it was to make a subtle and intelligent play with the genre as to knock our socks off? Not so lucky here though. The Book is okay if you fancy a bit of romantic candy floss with monsters to read on the bus but coming from Anne Rice, this book is a very bad dog indeed. Wet, smelly and running through the house with mud on its paws bad.

Someone has to tell her that it's okay to be out of ideas. That there is no shame when you have written so very much and so very well about the survival of the spirit and the labyrinth of the human condition in general. Remind her that the books were never about vampires but about the daily struggle with all of our darker selves. It is why we like it, relate to it, empathise (I thought) .

So I must say with my hand on my heart. Please hear some advise from one of your most ardent fans as I sit and beg. Put the pen down, walk away from the typewriter/computer and take up a hobby. Just stop until you have something worthy of your talent to say. I would advise the reader (like Anne)to put the idea of the book down. And if you absolutely must have more of the wondrous Anne Rice just re read The Chronicles. They won't (unlike Wolf Gift) so profoundly disappoint.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books I've ever read, 23 Oct 2013
If I could give this no stars I would. Without a doubt one of the worst books I have ever read. I used to like Anne Rice - loved the Vampire Chronicles, liked "Mayfair Witches" but this was TERRIBLE. Utterly, relentlessly, without redeeming features terrible. I've read better werewolf fan fiction! This reads like something by a twelve year old. I LIKE purple prose but this was just silly. The characters are one dimensional at best, the scenes of bloodshed are boringly repetitive and linguistically impoverished and the attempt to "Modernise" werewolf mythology laughable. The dialogue is appalling, not a single line that strikes true. I have nothing good to say about this book. This is not just the worst Anne Rice but one of the worst books I have ever read; I don't give up on books but I am struggling to finish it Do yourself a favour and DON'T read it!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmm, 14 Feb 2012
By 
Ian Burdon "iansb" (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Wolf Gift (The Wolf Gift Chronicles) (Hardcover)
The reviews over on Amazon.com would have you believe that this is a 'return to form' for Anne Rice and that it is 5* addition to her work. Well, not quite.

To be sure we are back in familiar Rice territory and her skills at characterisation and world building are intact. For the first two thirds or so the plot cracks along and her recent attempts at a more economical prose style pay dividends for the most part. The problem for me was the later third or so of the novel.

I will not give away any spoilers but suffice to say that there is a substantial element of exposition masquerading as dialogue which in earlier times she would have written as a substantial historical flashback or possibly developed as a novel in its own right to good effect. Moreover this comes after a dramatic climax in the plot. This would be fine if it gradually built to a second and final climactic resolution but it doesn't. I find this strange because it is clear from her earlier work that Rice has an excellent grasp of how to structure a novel.

Conclusion? If you are a fan of Anne Rice then you will likely enjoy this. I read it quite quickly and I enjoyed it sufficiently to tip this review from a 3 to a 4* but the structural problems with the last third mean that, imho, it is not on a par with the earlier novels which made her name and it follows that it is not a 5*
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back Anne Rice, 9 Mar 2012
This review is from: The Wolf Gift (The Wolf Gift Chronicles) (Hardcover)
Many reviews have said that they found this book disapponting as it was not like the vampire books. I dont know what they expected, but having read all the vampire and witch books i cant see what they were talking about.

For me the familiarity of Annes writing took me back to when I first read the vampire series, the writing felt familiar and comfortable, and drew me into the story as inevitably as I expected.

This is a wonderful story full of twist and turns, and yes, for readers of supernatural fictions, some of it was predictable, but not at all in the way expected. (Predictable without being predictable). Now i know that doesn't make much sense to those who haven't read this book, but I cant really expand on it without giving away a fairly important plot point. However, the way in which Anne expands upon legend and develops the charachters through it, interweaving love, trust, friendship and even faith makes this an enthralling read.

People have complained about the final 3rd of the book saying it was rushed. To me it didn't feel that way, instead it was filled with teasers, and the beginnings of other tales (much in the way of the vampire chronicles), enough for any reader to expect a number of sequels. For me I always feel a bit sad when I reach the end of a good book and often wait a day before I read the last chapter, just to delay the inevitable end, but with this there was so much going on, i didn't have to wait, because I know the stories not done, there are more to come.(Please Anne !)

Anne has a way of making you fall a little bit in love with the characters, of making you feel like you know them. Its what makes her writing so great. You can empathise with the frustation and love that Marchent feels for her brothers,the underlying moral dilema for Reuben, especially in relation to his brother, and even with the struggle Grace Golding feels in relation to Reuben. Graces emotions and fears are very understated and are felt more than read. And there is so much more to Phil (Reubens dad). Not to metion the histories and emotions underlying the wolves.

I so want to tell you all the story, but I never read the blurb on books, I think it spoils the story so I won't do that to you. Instead it is enough to say that this book is about a young man who encounters a life changing event, and his struggle to deal with it. But this book is so much more as Anne Rices' books always have been.

I wish I had the words to properly do this book justice, but the words I hold feel inadequate to the comfort and strength of feeling it raised in me.

Don't be put off by the nay sayers.

This book is a marvellous read, it is enthralling and accomplished. This book is suited to all readers. There is enough 'science' in it for people who enjoy Kathy Reichs books, enough 'love' for those who enjoy Karen Rose, enough 'thrills' for those who enjoy Stephen King, and enough 'human interest' for those who enjoy Jeff Abbott. There really is something for everyone.

If you are unfamiliar with Anne Rices works, this book will make you want to read all the others. It truly was a joy to read. Welcome back Anne Rice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read it all before, 3 May 2014
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As an avid fan of Anne Rice, having read almost all of her back catalogue, I cannot give The Wolf Gift my full seal of approval. While the writing is as good as ever, the story is almost totally lifted from The Vampire Chronicles, with echoes of Lestat's character extremely influencing Rueben's own development. Further lending to the almost transparent plagiarism is the supporting characters - wealthy, learned, aloof and elusive. In fact, all the staple points of why I was hooked on the Vampire Chronicles are in evidence here and not as something built on, rather something that has been copied and pasted.

All in all, I feel a little cheated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars bored to tears, 21 April 2014
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I love Anne rice books but this was by far the least thrilling book she has ever written.
The characters are dull and lifeless, I kept reading hoping this was a slow starter, I was wrong.
Seems like Rice is now just milking her name by writing any old drivel and selling it
Hours of my life I will never get back!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Wolf Gift, 14 Oct 2013
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Like the book of Love and Evil, I order this one because of the 4 starts reviews of other readers. Great mistake!! I was expecting the usual originality which is the trade mark of Anne Rice books, but she decided to go along with a very easy story plot., In which you figure out what the characters are going to do straight a\way. Even you 'know' who the pack of 'were-wolfs' are without a doubt from the very beginning of the book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as The Vampire Chronicles., 13 July 2014
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I am as big Anne Rice fan and have read all of her Vampire Chronicles. This is no where near as beautifully written and the characters not as rich and charismatic. I did enjoy it through it's worth a read and I would happily read a sequel. .
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The Wolf Gift (The Wolf Gift Chronicles)
The Wolf Gift (The Wolf Gift Chronicles) by Anne Rice (Hardcover - 9 Feb 2012)
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