by D.I. Jolly
Kindle Edition, 494 pg.
TinPot Publishing, 2016
Read: January 2 – 4, 2017
When Alex Harris was 10 years old and visiting his grandparent’s farm in Canada, he is attacked by an injured wolf. He recovers more quickly than the doctor predicts and at the first sign of stress after returning from the hospital, hulks out. But instead of turning green and growing a handful of sizes, he sprouts hair everywhere and his body transforms its shape into a large wolf.
The book follows Alex for the few days following the bite, then high school (learning to cope with the wolf), and then his career as a rock-star. I loved this approach, this way of dealing with the werewolf. Not just Jolly’s way of dealing with the werewolf, but Alex’s family’s way of dealing with his animal form (I’ll keep the details up my sleeve, read it yourself). There’s a lot of emotional ups and downs for Alex — like any pre-adolescent and adolescent male (and, like most rock stars, a post-adolescent male that acts like a teenager) — he’s emotionally volatile, and trying to learn to deal with the world in general. It’s a little harder for him than most teens — thanks to his resistance to injury and disease, and his strength. Once he reaches his adult years, there’s some interesting developments regarding his artistic career and his family’s brush with organized crime.
I love a good werewolf story — I really enjoy a decent one, out of all the various types of Fantasy Creatures/Races/Monsters out there, I don’t think there’s one I enjoy more than a lycanthrope. Mostly Human keeps that streak going.
One of the best parts of this book is how the curse/infection/condition affects not just the human who goes furry every now and then, but everyone around him (whether they know it or not). When Alex was on the farm and initially turned, everyone was supportive and encouraging — just the way a good family should treat a kid going through something major. But then later, when the initial crisis had passed, everyone falls apart (at least for a few minutes). Not en masse or anything, but individually they express some sort of anger or grief, puzzlement, despair, etc. Once that time is passed, they regroup and come together to support Alex. That was so great to see — I’m not sure that there’s anyone I’ve read who shows a family coming together to support the lycanthrope the way this family does.
Alex’s sister, Annabel, is a gem and my only complaint about her is that we don’t get more of the character — and every age and stage. I liked his friends, doctors, and relatives, too — actually, every character that gets more than a handful of paragraphs is well-used and appealing. But Annabel outshines them all.
I don’t have any major concerns or problems with this book — it was a fun escape. Not that it was perfect, there were three things that didn’t work for me, none of them were deal-breakers, but they were things that kept nagging at me.
I have no idea why Jolly felt the need to invent a fictional setting for the Harris’ home — it may become clear in a sequel (which I can only assume is forthcoming), maybe it won’t. I liked the setting, but I don’t see where it helps (it doesn’t hurt). I’d feel better about things if I could figure it out — too much time was spent describing it for it to be a throw-away detail, there’s something to it and I can’t see it.
The first sex scene was more detailed than I really needed — I see where he was going (not just the comedic intent) with it, but still, I didn’t need that. Thankfully, after that, Jolly gave everyone the privacy they deserved when it came sex.
The 10-year old version of Alex doesn’t talk like a 10 year-old. He’d be a stretch at 13. Still, I enjoyed that part of the book so much I shrugged it off.
This was a lot of fun, with a large cast of characters that draw the reader in and keeps you engaged. The story seemed secondary to character development — not just Alex, but his whole family (both officially and those considered family). Yeah, I’d have liked some more of Alex the rock star — and the organized crime thing the book description promised — but what we got was good, and saying that the book was mostly character development isn’t a bad thing. It’s just not what I expected.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.