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on 4 January 2014
The previous and first volume of this Wolf Gift Chronicle series was surprising in the way Anne Rice was humanizing these werewolves under the name of Man Wolf, that monster that can change from man to wolf at will or nearly and that can only destroy bad and evil men, can hunt animals and live a normal life the rest of the time.

In this second volume she explores the Man Wolf community and the human articulation her main hero Reuben has to entertain with the world. She also invests all that in a deeper pagan but Christianized context and heritage. Things are thus becoming tricky.

The main hero has a brother who is a priest and the former confesses his secret to the latter, knowing that this brother Jim has to keep it sealed since it was entrusted to him under confession. That is going to make things very difficult when this priest working in the Tenderloin, San Francisco, encounters some difficulties with the local crime lords. At the same time that makes the elder brother Jim more or less the prisoner if not the hostage of the younger brother because of this secret.

That will lead Jim to telling his younger brother his own secret, the fact that he was a failure at the university and that he got into an affair with the wife of a physically disabled professor, with the professor manipulating complicity, got her pregnant in his quasi constant state of drunkenness, got physical and violent one night and thought he had murdered the child and caused a miscarriage. He became a priest out of that guilt and repentance.

The younger brother, now he is a man wolf, cannot really marry his Celeste girlfriend who has always hated him anyway, but she is pregnant and she does not want the child and yet she is going to keep him and then give him - it is a boy - to his grand parents, Reuben's parents. So she has to make it legal, hence to marry Reuben, then a quick divorce, and then marry Reuben's best friend who accepts that tricky situation.

Add to that his father's decision to come and live with his son and the father accidentally will become a Man Wolf in his turn. Tricky, tricky, tricky.

Anne Rice is a genius at exploring human feelings and emotions when they are very tricky and complicated. The book is thus extremely interesting since it reveals twists in the "plot" `(if it is a plot and not a haphazard sequence of events like in real life), twisted intentions, twisted emotions, twisted hatred and twisted love all around and everywhere.

Then she explores the community of these Morphenkinder Reuben is living with at his new palatial place in the forest at Nideck Point. The old community is summoned back to the house and the gentlemen are assembled again. They bring their servants, some ageless eternal beings who have always been the servants of Morphenkinder, the Geliebten Lakaien. These servants are led by a certain Lisa, whose sex is slightly not clear for a while. At the same time this volume reveals the existence of the Forest Gentry, another eternal species of beings who are not material beings, but are ghosts who have learned how to materialize their entities in some human form. And among them Marchent, the woman who was assassinated in the first volume by her brothers in the house and who had just willed the whole estate to Reuben and she has to be recuperated by the Forest Gentry in order for her to come to some closure and move on beyond though no one knows where.

The relations within this species of Morphenkinder become even trickier due to the context, Christmas, that reactivates the old pagan tradition of Modranicht, the Night of Mother Earth, but at the same time Christianized into Christmas and then Ordinary Time, or the Yule season versus/with the Nativity. The old landlord of the place, Felix, is there and he realizes his big project with the full support of the present landlord Reuben. He uses Christmas to revive the small village off the estate and turn it into an enormous festival and a refuge for all kinds of crafts people. The festival is an enormous success. Then they have a banquet on the estate and in the house that is Roman and Imperial in size and ambition. Then they have their own celebration in the forest for Yuletide and that turns very sour and difficult because of the desire from some female Morphenkinder from Europe to punish Felix for his desire to entertain relations with humans and these female Morphenkinder want to have a human sacrifice in that feast.

That will lead to a drama and the last part of the book will be a sequence of such dramas, the attack of some drug lord on the priest Jim, Jim's soliciting help from his Morphenkinder of a brother, the revelation about what really happened to Jim and the professor's wife, the tremendous guilt Jim is experiencing for his having caused the killing of all drug traffickers, etc.

That leads to a situation that is of course not settled and solved. Another volume will have to be written to spin, weave and knit the yarns of this one to some further developments. And we expect it to come soon, though Anne Rice has announced she is working on a new erotic book under A.N. Roquelaure's pseudonym. Anne Rice has always had the doppelganger of an erotic writer inside her mind and a few erotic pages in her common novels are far from being enough for her imagination, needs, desires and impulses. That's probably why she discontinued her angel series because as for erotic adventures angels are not very creative.

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on 25 November 2013
I don't know why I keep giving Anne Rice my money. She wrote one of my favorite ever books, Interview With the Vampire, and though the others that followed have steadily declined in quality with each successive novel, I remain aware of how great a writer she can be and hoping that she gets her mojo back. Unfortunately, I am still waiting.

The Wolf Gift (I hate this title, by the way. It became a funny cliche in the later VC books (cloud gift, mind gift, fork gift...) was a fairly bland work of fiction which cashed in on the werewolf craze without ever understanding why people like this supernatural creature or what makes it intriguing (lots of money and sex while hairy is not it) but this sequel isn't just bland, it's offensively awful.

It can be summed up easily: whereas in the earlier Vampire Chronicles we had lingering, loving descriptions of, say, Lestat's Rue Royale flat or the squalid environs of Les Innocents, they were recreating history and never took over the narrative. There was still an exciting story to be told and interesting characters. We don't have any such luxury in The Wolves of Midwinter, which is endless descriptions of preparing for Christmas and decorating. You can buy a home redesign catalogue for cheaper, or perhaps visit IKEA.

There's also the intensely tiresome God-bothering stuff and the attempt to be controversial about the Catholic church. What Rice fails to realize is that nothing is shocking about the church, including her decision to leave it. The rest of the world moved on long ago; more people than ever don't believe these silly fairy stories, and nobody picks up a vampire or werewolf book to have your born-again religious fervor shoved down their throats.

Honestly, guys. Pass on this. Go and read The Witching Hour and Interview, or The Vampire Lestat, and hold that in your mind and remember (or discover) how great this writer once was.
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on 13 January 2015
There is a distinctive lack of a story in this book. Nothing much happens and as a reader I felt rather bored. I found myself waiting for themes to develop into something bigger, to find that the plot was often abandoned and the reader left waiting and somewhat confused.
The characters are uninteresting with no depth to them at all. In fact their personalities seem so basic that they don't much differ from each other!
Gone are the days where Anne rice wrote with passion and one found themselves craving the mysterious dark but beautiful world of her books. At times I found myself wondering if this was actually written by Anne Rice as it seemed so different from her early work. Having read all Anne rice's books over the years, I think I may have to finally stop to avoid further disappointments. The fact that the books are rather expensive adds to this further.
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on 15 May 2014
The strength of Rice's ability to create engaging characters which we, as the reader, can engage with its true testimony to her craft. It is Rice 's portrayal of the anti-hero which is truly compelling. The history of the distinguished gentleman was undeveloped, perhaps so as to omit detail to add to the sense of mystery. Yet this only succeeded in showing a lack of focus or clear line of plot. It was merely an over general exploration of too many characters; perhaps a focus on the dynasty rather than a clear event. Furthermore the characters are overly typical of the genre and emblematic of previous characters she has created. Despite this, Rice is very gifted at creating atmosphere and tension and I am interested in what happens to the characters (including the dynasty and the 'distinguished gentleman'
'Wolf Gift' was far more focused and successful in creating intrigue.
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on 16 January 2014
This book was really good, I picked it up and read it from front to back. lovely story hope anne writes more
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VINE VOICEon 21 November 2013
OK I was looking forward to this novel as it's the second part in a new series, so I was more than a little unhappy with the way things seemed to be cranked out based on what I had come to expect.

Firstly with the original novel in the series, The Wolf Gift, the writing was easily accessable for all readers, completely different from the way that her Vampires came across in their novels. That was a great thing, yet here, she seemed to have gone back to that style that not only felt like it stunted the storytelling but also seemed a huge departure from the whole meme of the Werewolves.

Add to this some character modifications that were not only annoying but didn't work that well within, alongside a pace that seemed to drag, all round left me feeling not only flat but cheated as well as leaving me wondering what the author had planned as there wasn't any growth for the world/characters leaving this more of a filler extended novella rather than a real full blown novel. A great disappointment and as such I'd advise if you want to read this borrow from your library.
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on 8 February 2015
Well, I would most certainly follow the consensus that this is a very different take on the werewolf. I wouldn't say that the "monsters" in this book are cuddly, but in reality this depiction of the beast is quite convincing from a fictional point of view.

I found the main supporting characters of the book to jave great and.hidden depth. Not very often would you find such character development in this type of book, but it plays very well.
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on 14 August 2014
There is a complete lack of focus and an absence of a coherent plot. The book is simply a blasé attempt to make money by filing in the required number of pages with ramblings of an unfocused mind. It is sad to see the author blatantly trying to use her good name to peddle utter rubbish. This will certainly be the last book I have ever bought written by Ann Rice.
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on 9 February 2015
This is the second book in the series and I enjoyed reading it. At times I felt that there was a lot of repeating of the story and it could have been shortened without losing the flow. I enjoy Anne Rice books, have been reading them for years. and it was good to find a new take on the werewolf syndrome.
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on 23 July 2017
You can't, not love Anne Rice's novels.
They spin their web of intrigue and catch you up in the stories full of mystery and other worldly characters
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