For week 36, I read The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. This is one of those books that got me terribly, terribly excited while and after I read it. I loved it. Five stars. There are a number of great reviews over on its GoodReads page, and normally I would recommend that you go over there and read them, except almost every single one gives away the whole plot. I guess this means I have to try to explain why I loved this book without giving it all away.
You know how paranormal horror or urban fantasy tends to portray werewolves? They’re pack animals. They’re ruled by their instincts (or their angst about having instincts that do unfortunate, indelicate things like being hungry and wanting sexytimes) and their pack politics, and it’s all about the stupid politics. Don’t look Bob in the eye, he outranks you. Crap, you slobbered a little on Emily, and her mate outranks you. Don’t sniff the alpha’s butt, he’ll bite your head off…literally. Like one reviewer said, it bounces back and forth between pack bromances and alpha males that I would really just prefer to kick in the face rather than kiss. This book has no pack politics at all. You can’t have a pack if you’re the only one left, you see.
So Jake, our protagonist, learns in the opening scene that the only other werewolf in the world has just been hunted down and eliminated, and he is now the very last one alive. Suits him just fine; he’s been alive for a long, long time, and he kind of doesn’t give a crap whether or not he keeps on living. He knows who’s coming for him, he knows why, and he knows roughly when (when it will be more of a challenge for the hunter); now he just has to wait. Waiting, however…that doesn’t come easily to a werewolf.
The book is gritty and harsh, gory in places, unapologetically sexual in others, and over all that is a layer of nostalgia and laid-back pop-culture references. The book is Jake. He’s not a fuzzy, shirtless, alpaca-faced teenager pining to curl up at the feet of his childhood sweetheart, he’s a serial killer who craves delicious long pork every month. He’s more animal than man, and that is just how things are. He’s not a tough, crazy badass living by himself in the woods; that was the last guy they got, and it didn’t help him much. He’s not brilliant, but he’s not stupid, and he has a lot of available funds. So what does a werewolf do while he’s waiting to be murdered?
I’m not going to tell you.