Review: The Last Werewolf

1 Jun

I’ve always had a thing for great first lines. Glen Duncan’s novel The Last Werewolf has one of the best I’ve seen in a long time:

‘It’s official,’ Harley said. ‘The killed the Berliner two nights ago. You’re the last.’ Then after a pause: ‘I’m sorry.’

This first line introduces Jacob Marlowe, a two-hundred-year-old werewolf, who we discover at the same moment he does, that he is the last of his kind. The book takes place in modern day, but Jacob has the sensibility and mannerisms and language of a man sunk in the 1800s. It’s charming actually. Through the course of the novel, we follow Jacob’s story – it becomes clear that he’s writing the book as a diary – both how he became a werewolf and how he’s accepted that his time has come and he’s done with this life. He’s being hunted by the relatives/ancestors of those who’ve been killed by werewolves.

It seems like a basic story plot, right? But oh God, does Duncan (and Marlowe) do some damn good werewolf. It’s difficult to explain how sexy and undeniably animalistic (in the very best connotation of the word) this novel is without turning this blog into something entirely NSFW. But I don’t recommend that if you’re at all…bothered…by graphic sexual content or grisly werewolf killing scenes that you read this.

HOWEVER, if that kind of language doesn’t bother you – if in fact you’re intrigued and turned on by the idea of some seriously hot language (not trashy – don’t mistake me, this is not a romance novel, it’s very literary), this is a great book for you. I won’t argue that is a a review instead of a gushing session, but I have trouble reviewing this book because once you get past the first few chapters, the suspense of the novel is the best part and I don’t want to spoil anything for you readers.

Okay, enough of the gushfest.

Due out this summer from Knopf, I was gifted a copy of the UK printing by lovely Lori at TNBBC. I’d seen a few reviews on other blogs, but because it’s not being released in the U.S. until July, there isn’t much out there. Thank goodness Lori was so kind as to send it to me, it’s got a distinct shot at being my favorite book of the year. And we’re just halfway done. Duncan manages to elevate this “monster” story beyond the current trend of werewolves and vampires and makes it both cool and intelligent, and yes, literary. In the reading of the novel, I found myself ravished by the sexy and violent language, but when it was over, I realized the book in its entirety was more about love and sacrifice and selflessness, and in realizing that, I was both sad for it to end and happy with the conclusion.

It was one of those books, when you close the cover, you sigh and smile and savor.

If there’s a better round of applause about a book for a reader, I don’t know what it is.


5 Responses to “Review: The Last Werewolf”

  1. lori (TNBBC) June 1, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    Yay! The review is up! I am so happy you liked it. Glen Duncan is one of my favorite authors for a reason. While this is a departure from his other novels, I think you would really enjoy reading them…. more DUCAN!!!

  2. Kerry June 5, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    I love that, “you sigh and smile and savor.” And I agree, I can’t think of a better endorsement for a book. This sounds excellent – thanks for reviewing!

  3. Books are my Boyfriends June 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm #


  4. americanbookjunkie June 9, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Um, sounds like my kind of book! I will definitely have to pick this one up!!


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