The Wolf Gift by Rice

Reuben is a young man born into privilege who seeks to find meaning in his life. As a writer for a local paper, he journeys out to an old house to write an article about its history. During his stay, a murder takes place, and, in the confusion, Reuben is bitten by his rescuer: a werewolf. Shortly thereafter, Reuben discovers he too is now a werewolf and has the ability to smell and hear evil. With this new power, he hunts down and kills those who would do harm to others.

The Wolf Gift
By Anne Rice
Knopf
February 2012

The story of Reuben and his transformation into a werewolf is really not what this book is about. It is instead a book about good and evil.

And unfortunately that’s all you need to know. There really is no story here, just a long, drawn out essay about what evil is and whether it’s okay to kill those who kill their fellow man. In fact, whether killing these people is justified or not is a question asked by every single character in the book. It seems every character is a philosophy major and also prone to launching into speeches about what constitutes justifiable homicide.

Reuben is at the forefront of this discussion more often than not, which leads to a very strong incongruity when he makes a speech about how killing is wrong and then two minutes later is hunting down some evil man or woman, ripping their throat out, and drinking their blood.

The book also features a heavy amount of description on Reuben’s killing of both men and beasts (the latter is apparently just for fun) as well as his frequent sexual acts with his lover. Of course these events are also heavily laden with philosophical quandaries as though killing a rapist in a back-alley is somehow a uniquely religious experience that brings one closer to God and the universe.

And in case you missed the point behind all this carnage, every scene and idea is constantly restated or replayed throughout the story. Every conversation leads to commentary on the nature of good and evil to the point that many of the characters seem to have no definition or personality of their own but instead exist for the sole purpose of echoing the theme.

Somewhere towards the end of the novel, a plot about evil scientists is loosely cobbled together, but it really is too little too late and serves no point other than as a further attempt to mask a long-winded argument as a story.

My recommendation: Don’t even bother.


Matthew Scott is just another average reader who enjoys sharing his opinion on various books, authors, and whatever else may cross his path.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.