Saturday, January 23, 2010

Girl on Book Action: Frostbite by David Wellington

Frostbite by David Wellington

ISBN: 978-0-307-46083-7


For Cheyenne Clark, there’s a bad moon on the rise . . .

There’s one sound a woman doesn’t want to hear when she’s lost and alone in the Arctic wilderness: a howl.

When a strange wolf’s teeth slash Cheyenne’s ankle to the bone, her old life ends, and she becomes the very monster that has haunted her nightmares for years. Worse, the only one who can understand what Chey has become is the man–or wolf–who’s doomed her to this fate. He also wants to chop her hea
d off with an axe.

Yet as the line between human and beast blurs, so too does the distinction between hunter and hunted . . . for Chey is more than just the
victim she appears to be. But once she’s within killing range, she may find that–even for a werewolf–it’s not always easy to go for the jugular.


My Thoughts:

The name David Wellington started to come up in connection with his books about zombies and vampires in my many meanderings around the internet this past summer, so when I saw his new book about werewolves at the bookstore I decided to give it a try and I have to say that I’m glad that I did.

I loved the setting – I think that too often in current supernatural and horror fiction the setting is very urban and very much ignores the struggles of predators (werewolves or vampires) living alongside humans. This book doesn’t claim that werewolves can exist next to their prey and thus the setting is isolated, bleak and forbidding. As the events of the book begin to unfold, the setting really lends a great atmosphere and is as much a background as a palpable force itself.

One of the things that added to my enjoyment of this book is that it starts off as one thing, very in medias res and then partway through the book all of our preconceptions, all of our suppositions are turned upside down and we have to come at the story so far from a completely different angle. The plot-twist is a complete surprise (at least it was to me, maybe I didn’t have my critical thinking cap on) and therefore effective. Another strong aspect of the book is that it’s visceral and gory at the parts that need to be visceral and gory, which is to say, it’s not a book for the faint of heart.

At times I felt that some parts ideas and characters could have been explained in more detail, such as Dzo and his strange abilities and affinities with water, but since the story is character driven I think it would have bogged things down to explain something to the reader that Chey doesn’t know or understand. This book is also, as far as I understand from looking at David Wellington’s website, the first in a series so some of the questions that are raised and issues that are left open-ended may be explained in later volumes. And really, not knowing more about Dzo does not detract from the story, it’s just a gripe. Overall, the side-characters were a little two-dimensional, but they don’t really need to be developed further than they are. They do their jobs and that’s all that ultimately matters, if you ask me.

Lastly, I suggest that if you want the book to surprise you, don’t read too much about it on Amazon, etc, because most of those reviews summarize the story and thus give away the plot-twist I found so effective. My opinion is that if the author wanted you to know that kind of detail, it would have made it into the back-cover blurb somehow, or you know, would have been explained at the very beginning of the book, rather than a good third of the way into the narrative. I hate reviews that give things away, so I will not do it here, no, no I will not.

So, this book is another that I would recommend if you’re interested in werewolves, bleak settings, or just reading whatever it is I read.

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