I am too tired right now to enthuse muchly. It'll probably be out sometime tomorrow. Wednesday at the latest.
I promise. I promise I promise I promise.
So I've decided the Wolf Gift is actually Anne Rice's experiment with non-linear storytelling, and that it's not going to well for her. When we last left Ruben he was heading home after not telling his mother he was a werewolf for several pages. NOW he's getting an e-mail from his lawyer telling him he has bad news that might be good news.
BUT FIRST LET'S TALK ABOUT PLANTS.
He and Laura had supper in the conservatory, at the new marble-top table. They were in a grove of banana palms and small ficus. And the sight of the orchid trees inclining towards each other, and dripping those gorgeous pinkish-purple blossoms, filled him with happiness.RUBEN HAS A FICUS. WE NEED TO KNOW THIS BLOG READERS. WE REALLY REALLY NEED TO KNOW.
We go on about the plants and the conservatory and that GODDAMN FUCKING HOUSE and how Laura loves Ruben loves Laura loves lovey love love love, and I'm very sorry but I do not come to werewolf fiction with a male lead for pink pony princess fluff. Also, going from HE MAN EATS PEOPLE to "You know what we need in our love garden? A ficus" is less "tonal shift" and more "tonal tectonic plate motion"
They decide to search the house because there's a secret
I take it back. Let's talk about the fucking ficus.
Ruben wants the change, but he doesn't want it. He thinks he brought it on by his own will, but experimenting with that is for suckers. He and Laura go outside. There are floodlamps they can't turn on.
YO. PUBE WOLF. DO. SOMETHING.
They look at the trees. They aren't just any trees, Blog-readers. They are lovable trees.
These were lovable trees, Reuben said, because you could climb them, look at their low inviting limbs.Bestselling book by a bestselling author. We have pube wolves and loveable trees.
And a ficus.
We get the species name for every tree in the front yard, and half of the ground cover because Laura, in case we don't get it by now, is a naturalist. Ruben thinks about calling a roofing company to get onto the roof, because the alternative is shapeshifting and climbing onto the roof on his own, which would mean leaving Laura alone and that might be bad. She's a fragile little female who can't protect herself. They go back inside.
DO SOMETHING. DOOOOOOOO SOOOOOOOOMEEEEEEEEETHIIIIIIIIIIIIING.
Simon, Ruben's lawyer calls, and Ruben RUNS TO THE PHONE. YES! WE'RE DOING THINGS!
So Simon got this call from another lawyer that he trusts because of Reasons, and it turns out that a potential heir to Felix Nideck's fortune has turned up, and it's Felix's formerly unknown illegitimate son, named Felix!
So Simon infodumps about Felix Nideck, making it REALLY FUCKING CLEAR that Felix 2.0 is actually Felix the first back from the ether, and then adds that Felix REALLY wants to meet Ruben.
Ruben sets up the meeting with Felix at a hotel.
...with a ficus.
The lawyer continues talking about how weird it is that somebody named Felix Nideck showed up to get all of Felix Nideck's effects and how uncanny the resemblence is. Ruben interrups to ask Simon not to tell his mom about this.
“Reuben, I don’t discuss your intimate financial affairs with your mother unless you have given me your express permission to do so,” said Simon.
This was not true at all.
Yeah. Hey, Ruben? Your lawyer is not respecting attourney client privelage. Get a new fucking lawyer. And sue this one for ditto, because you have rights.
Simon says that Felix 2.0 probably wants money, and that Ruben should shut up and "Let him download, as the kids say today."
No, no, Anne. They don't.
So Ruben hangs up and tells Laura that Felix Nideck wants to talk with him. Laura nods, holds up all the pictures of "distinguished gentlemen" lying around the house and says that all their names come from old werewolf tales.
We already covered this. Only this time we not only get the names of the werewolf stories, we get the publishing dates.
ALL the publishing dates. For about six different stories.
And then Laura plays leapfrog with logic until she declares that the evidence indicates werewolves are immortal.
So they go over how Felix probably wants his things, and he probably wants to kill Ruben, and oh, no, what shall they do? And apparently the answer is "sit and alternate between staring at the fire, and staring at Laura in her nightgown."
I think this book's biggest problem is there are no stakes. Nobody is in danger. There are no questions being answered. No clocks are ticking. Nobody has any problems beyond the vague "I turn into a wolf" sort. Most of Ruben's problems are caused by Ruben having seriously bad impulse control issues, and also his murdering people. And EVERY time something that could be a life-or-death issue is introduced, it is solved WITHIN that chapter. NOTHING IS AT RISK. I AM NOT INTERESTED.
I've been re-reading Eddings, because my babbling about him last week made me remember how much I fucking love his books, and yep, the writing is just as bad as I remember, and yep, it's the same fucking plot with the same fucking characters, and there is a ton of misogyny and racism, and yet the books are readable and enjoyable because shit fucking happens. And not only does shit happen, you can summerize the plot stakes in five sentences or less. IE here is the Eleniad:
The Queen of Elenia has been poisoned so that a powerful member of the Church of Chryellos can install a puppet government and get himself elected as that religion's pope. Serephrenia, the High Priestess of a Pagan Goddess, manages to keep the Queen alive via her own life-force and that of twelve members of the Queen's guard. Sparhawk, the Queen's Champion, has to go on a quest to find the Magical McGuffin that will save her before the life-force runs out, the twelve die, and the bad guy becomes pope.
TRY TO DO THAT WITH THE WOLF GIFT, I FUCKING DARE YOU.
(and again: Just because I like Eddings doesn't mean I think that's a good thing. It's just that those books have a plot and this one doesn't)
Meanwhile back in the World's Perfect Mansion, Ruben gets bored with sitting around and screws Laura for a while. And then he hands her the wood axe and goes off to trigger his change by will and climb onto the roof.
Ruben finds a trap door. He goes inside a random room. It takes three pages to accomplish this because Anne Rice thinks we need the leaves described in minute detail. He finds a secret door to the rest of the house, grabs Laura, turns on the lights, and wanders around a dusty attic for a while. Apparently it was once outfitted as some kind of scientific lab.
They find Marrok's footprints and decide that he camped out here once in a while.
...With a ficus.
They also find all of Felix Nideck's missing journals, and all of the Mesopotamian tablets that vanished several chapters ago. I am sure you were all dying to know if the Mesopotamian tablets were okay. You may rest assured that they are.
They wander around and find all the secret doors.
They discuss sciency things for a while, and what the lab might mean. (hint: Nada)
Ruben gets sudden claustrophobia, so they go back to sitting in front of the fire and talking about Felix.
Laura wonders out loud if she will ever get to have sex with Human!Ruben. Wolf!Ruben starts playing tonsil-hockey with her.
I will never be clean again.
Oh, and he discovers that he can now shapeshift at will...but he waits until after the sex. End of chapter.
NEVER BE CLEAN. NEVER AGAIN.