5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best Book
Glen Duncan does good Werewolf. Man, oh man, does he do good Werewolf.
A huge fan of Glen Duncan's previous novels (I, Lucifer; Death of an Ordinary Man; Weathercock; A Day and a Night and a Day), I went ahead and took a shot at securing a review copy of his newest novel, The Last Werewolf. When it arrived, I broke every review policy I have and placed it on the top of the TBR pile... and I am so happy that I did.
Duncan does not hold back in this violent, moody, and not surprisingly intellectual look at what it means to be hunted as the last of your kind. After decades of running from WOCOP Hunters (an organization whose number one goal is to drive werewolves into extinction), Jacob Marlowe, upon discovering that he is the last, has finally lost the will to go on. He plans to make the best of the next few days leading up to the full moon, and fall quietly into the hands of Grainier - head of WOCOP with a personal grudge against Marlowe.
Of course, things don't work out the way Marlowe plans and Grainier finds a way to get Marlowe's head back into the game, ensuring the final hunt will be one worth savoring.
In my opinion, The Last Werewolf rises above most "monster" novels. It focuses more on the human side of The Curse, entertaining the idea that werewolves retain their human thought processes throughout the entire transformation. Do not confuse it with other novels that share it's subject matter - it's unlike any that has come before. Duncan is on a quest to redefine werewolf - as a tortured, purposeful creature.
When I started the novel, I tweeted #thelastwerewolf as a hashtag for anyone who was hungry for a taste of the writing. Duncan's skillful phrasing jumps off the page and inserts itself into your brain like no other. Like many of his previous novels, there are trickles of atheism that weave their way through the story in the form of beautifully crafted one liners that scream to be shared:
"Every now and then you look out at the world and know its gods have gone utterly elsewhere."
"Humans go to their graves with none of the big questions answered. Why should werewolves fare any better?"
"The universe demands some sort of deal."
A powerful look at survival, loneliness, guilt, and love in the face of the unknown. How do you come to terms with yourself when you don't know what you are or how your kind came to be? How do you quiet all the questions?