The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

“Everything was the same and everything had changed. Outside the city and the voluble traffic and the millions of human eyes and talking mouths and crafty habituated hands testified: The accidental epic of ordinariness goes on. A godless universe of flailing contingency – now with the hilarious difference of not being in it alone.”

Jake Marlowe is an educated, classy, thoughtful and introspective werewolf. He loves to read, drink scotch, smoke a bit and write in his journal. And hes had quite a bit to write about for the past two hundred years. These days though, with the one love of his life long gone and enough experiences to last him multiple lifetimes, Jake feels it is his time to let it all go. Hes tired, but most of all, hes lonely.

“I still have feelings but I’m sick of having them. Which is another feeling I’m sick of having. I just don’t want any more life.”

So when he finds out that he is the last werewolf alive, he accepts it and welcomes the release that will be his own death when the hunters come for him. Alas, nothing in life ever goes as planned. Instead of gaining a clean death, the situation becomes confusingly messy. The hunters have fractions within their ranks, the vampires are after Jake for unknown reasons and even random humans seem to be trying to kill him or cage him. While Jake is just trying to survive long enough to figure it all out, he instead discovers something to truly live for.

I admit, I hesitated upon picking up this book. These days anything with Werewolf in the title (especially books that also have vampires in them) tend to make me feel queasy enough to put it right back on the shelf. I always wonder, is this going to be another paranormal love triangle with no original plot or character development? This time though, it had come highly recommended and the reviews were undeniably positive, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. And I must say, The Last Werewolf was a pleasant surprise.

Jake’s story is well written with some nicely sculpted turn of phrase. He quotes poetry, literature, history and has a way with words. Though Jake may spend a little too much time examining his own life, his will to live and his reasons for living, I guess after 200 years anyone might become a little too introspective. Especially if you were suddenly surprised with something worth living for.

The Last Werewolf is hard to put down once you read the first couple plot twists. It is a little more serious and sexy than expected, but it is also more eloquent. Jake, though he is a monster, is as deeply human as a creature can be. He experiences endless regret, loneliness, stupidity, fear and eventually, is even blinded by love.

If you think supernatural creatures should be smarter, faster and less sensitive than the rest of us, this novel may change your mind. As Duncan writes it, they are simply humans trapped forever by fate, chance or accident into a life that they did not choose. And in the end they must do what we all do, accept who we truly are, inside.

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