Review: The Wolf Gift

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The time is the present.

The place, the rugged coast of northern California. A bluff high above the Pacific. A grand mansion full of beauty and tantalizing history set against a towering redwood forest.

A young reporter on assignment from the San Francisco Observer. . . an older woman, welcoming him into her magnificent, historic family home that he has been sent to write about and that she must sell with some urgency . . . A chance encounter between two unlikely people . . . an idyllic night—shattered by horrific unimaginable violence. . .The young man inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness . . . A violent episode that sets in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation as the young man, caught between ecstasy and horror, between embracing who he is evolving into and fearing who—what—he will become, soon experiences the thrill of the wolf gift.

As he resists the paradoxical pleasure and enthrallment of his wolfen savagery and delights in the power and (surprising) capacity for good, he is caught up in a strange and dangerous rescue and is desperately hunted as “the Man Wolf,” by authorities, the media and scientists (evidence of DNA threaten to reveal his dual existence). . . As a new and profound love enfolds him, questions emerge that propel him deeper into his mysterious new world: questions of why and how he has been given this gift; of its true nature and the curious but satisfying pull towards goodness; of the profound realization that there are others like him who may be watching—guardian creatures who have existed throughout time and may possess ancient secrets and alchemical knowledge and throughout it all, the search for salvation for a soul tormented by a new realm of temptations, and the fraught, exhilarating journey, still to come, of being and becoming, fully, both wolf and man.

Originally, I gave The Wolf Gift four stars, because I did like its story, and it was fun to read (despite a few boring parts and many infodumps), but there's a reason I'm giving The Wolf Gift three stars, which I will explain later on in this review.
Pros of The Wolf Gift

1: First off, I loved the descriptions of the Nideck house! They really painted an image in my head of this big, elegant house overlooking the sea.

2: Marin County was one of the main settings in The Wolf Gift! I loved seeing names and places I'm familiar with in this book, such as the Muir Woods and Mount Tam.

3: The unique take Anne Rice had on the werewolf, making it different than the werewolf story we all know where the person turns into a werewolf every full moon and rampages everything in sight.

4: The descriptions of change in Reuben, the change in his sight, hearing, and smell, and also how how Reuben dealt with becoming a werewolf, and used it to become a (and I use this term loosely) "hero".

5: The mystery! There's not much I can say about the mystery of The Wolf Gift, but what I can say is get ready for some twists later on in the story.

Cons of The Wolf Gift

1: There's icky human/werewolf sex going on in this book... And not just one scene. There's also sex scenes where he's not a werewolf, but he's not single either...

2: Corny "poetic" sayings, such as : Yet it terrified him that he might surrender his conscious soul to the heart of the beast pumping within...You've got to be kidding me... The beast pumping within?

3: Really? The Man Wolf? That's what you choose to call yourself? I cringed every time I read that, along with the word "orgasmic"... How can a bestselling and well respected author use the word "orgasmic" countless times in one book! I think she forgot she isn't writing one of her erotic books....

4: The ending was disappointing, especially considering the huge build-up throughout the whole book, but, eventually we are all let down and left with an ending like.... That....

5: The characters in the book really just weren't good. Yes, Reuben's brother is a priest, but don't worry. That doesn't make any difference in the book. Here I was, hoping there would be an inner struggle in Reuben's brother between fighting for what he believes in in Christianity, or letting Reuben go around, doing whatever the hell he wants, whenever the hell he wants. There was none of that. Reuben's brother was surprisingly accepting of everything his brother did, which really was a shock to me... Then there's Reuben's mother, who's a doctor. Do I care? No. Did she make a difference in the book? Hardly any. This con ties in with my last con, because my last (albeit biggest) con in the book is...


And here is the major reason I gave The Wolf Gift three stars instead of the original four. After finishing The Wolf Gift, I reflected on the four-star rating, and thought of something that turned me off in the book. And the one thing I could come up with that really got to me is Reuben.

At the end of the first chapter, Reuben has sex with a woman named Marchent. And no, that is not a spoiler, because it happens so early in the book (like I said, the ending of chapter one). This happens, within, what? One, maybe two hours of them two even knowing each other? And to make it worse, Reuben has a girlfriend... Oh joy. But this isn't the first time he cheats on his girlfriend... Oh, no it's not. The second time, he has sex with the girl within minutes of meeting her, and goes into detail of his erection and whatnot (it's even more disgusting because he's a werewolf at this moment), but then he tries coming up with excuses on why it was acceptable to cheat on his girlfriend (twice), which extremely turned me off.

Also, when describing himself, Reuben says he is, and I quote, "a liar, monster, killer, beast... An abomination...''. Well....

I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels this way, but the character of Reuben really made me enjoy the book less than I would have if he was a little more... Hmmm... What's the word... Likable? Yes, likable. However, if you choose to read this book, and you aren't bothered by Reuben, I think you will end up enjoying it.

Review posted on my blog.


  1. A modern and refreshing take on the old legend that is passionately written with interesting characters and breathtaking locations.
    All in all, a more than welcome return from a modern day master.



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