Title: The Last Werewolf
Author: Glen Duncan
Release Date: July 12, 2011
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Jake is a werewolf, but what’s more, he’s the last of his kind. WOCOP, an organization dedicated to the pursuit of the paranormal, has hunted down all of his remaining brethren. Jake must deal with the fact that he is alone, all while satisfying his insatiable appetites, and find in himself the will to keep on living.
The Last Werewolf is a novel that has had a lot of buzz and hype. I haven’t seen a single negative, or even middling, review for it – everything I have seen has raved about how amazing of a book it was. That was why I was surprised to find that I didn’t have the same gushing, thrilled feelings about it upon finishing that most others seem to have had. While I thought it was solid and brought up some interesting points, I didn’t love it. Was it a case of too-high expectations? Most likely.
The thing I absolutely loved about The Last Werewolf was Jake’s transformation – the metaphorical, not the literal change into a werewolf. He starts out the novel completely bereft. The last of his kind, he contemplates going out with a whimper instead of a bang, allowing WOCOP to find and end him. But as the novel progresses, Jake turns into a fighter. He begins to see why his life is worth living, and grasping as hard as he can to keep on going. I absolutely loved witnessing this character development. It was accomplished beautifully and was both incredibly moving and very satisfying.
Seeing the story from the point of view of the werewolf, rather than those hunting him, was also very interesting. I appreciated Jake’s wit and his musings, especially his melancholy about being the last werewolf. It was great to see him, not as this creature subject only to his own lusts, but as a thinking, feeling, and philosophizing being who reveled in what he was.
However, being in Jake’s head had some drawbacks, mainly that his thoughts often meandered, sometimes to the point of boredom. A lot of the book takes place in Jake’s head, moving through his thoughts and emotions, and while the conflict between his two souls – human and werewolf – is completely fascinating, there are times when the book itself drags. The action of the book comes in stages, mainly at the end of the novel, and it seems rushed and crammed into too short a space. I believe it would have worked better had the action been more spread out amid Jake’s musings.
The Last Werewolf really is a beautifully written book, and I wanted to enjoy it more than I did. I believe that if my expectations had been tempered, I would have really been able to revel in it. Still, it’s definitely worth reading, and I recommend it to literary fiction lovers out there, especially those interested in the nature of a person’s soul.