Saturday, 27 February 2010

Changeling: Blood Wolf by Steve Feasey

February 2010, Pan Macmillan
320 pages, Paperback
Review Copy

YA, urban fantasy, horror (small element)

Cushions: 5
Daggers: 5 (detailed violence)
Paperclips: 2 (brief nudity, not detailed)
Smiles: 3
Tissues: 4 (infrequent but moderate tissue moments)
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥+

Summary from Pan Macmillan

Trey thought he was the only one.

It was a lie.

The last hereditary werewolf has found his pack – and they’re vicious, bloodthirsty, and truly wild.

Trey has had enough of vampires, demons and sorcerors. He needs to get in touch with his real family – the ones with fur, fangs and killer instincts.

But the wolf pack howling at the moon in Canada is not what he expected. And without the protection of de-fanged vampire and demon-hunter Lucien Charron, the family secret is more dangerous than he ever knew. Trey’s out of control. Can the werewolf be tamed?

The level of action and suspense in this third book of the fantastic series matches the other two. However, I feel that there is more investment in the characters' emotions, especially if they aren't Trey. That is not to say that Trey is put on the sidelines: meeting his uncle and getting entangled in werewolf politics counts for a percentage of the action. Especially when he loses his humanity. In a way the issue of gang culture is examined in the story, how people are coerced into doing one thing which then traps them within the gang for a long time, forced to do things that are morally questionable and which they'd rather say no to. In some ways I preferred Caliban to Jurgen, at least Trey knew where he stood with Lucian's brother. I also like how Trey yet again makes a mistake which could cost him dearly. It marks him as the youngster that he is. At least he doesn't repeat the same mistake twice. He has all the maturity of an adult when dealing with the aftermath of certain incidents.

As a former reader who would only read books with female protagonists, I love how a fair portion of the book is devoted to Philippa. Being possessed by a demon who killed her father is pretty hard to cope with. Add in demons wanting to kill her because she's now a demon detector, well its no wonder that she glues herself to Alexa's side. The way her thoughts are explored had me reaching for tissues. Watching her slowly recover and find inner strength was a pleasure to read. Never underestimate the healing power of chocolate.Also curiosity doesn't kill you, but it might give you nightmares for eternity.

Another deeper exploration of character happens for Lucien. He is stronger in so far as he isn't in a coma. But his last encounter wih his brother has brought back the darker side of being a vampire. His level of control over drinking blood in a sophisticated way has several wobbles. I like it how Tom chews him out over this (in the verbal sense). Seeing Trey's protector need help is a small role reversal that heightens the drama.

I didn't see the end coming, it was quite a shock and I needed tissues. Plus I want to read the next book in the series right now, so I hope there aren't too many delays in it's publication. A grumpy reviewer is not a pleasant sight.

I think it was a good move to fade Caliban into the background for this adventure, and to show the other horrors of the netherworld which are out there, waiting to cross paths with Trey and his friends. I hope there is scope for many more of Trey's adventures because in spite of some of the more gruesome parts that have me understanding why this can be classed as having horror in it, it's a series I want to reread many times.

Steve Feasey can be found on his website and also on followed on Twitter.

Make sure you've read book 1 Changeling and book 2 Changeling: Dark Moon

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