Saturday, December 11, 2010

Girl on Book Action: Overwinter by David Wellington

Overwinter by David Wellington
ISBN: 978-0-307-46079-0

Ahem, I know you are wondering why I’m blathering at you before I even give you a blurb.  I’m reviewing part two of a series and even the blurb will have spoilers for part one, so if you have not read David Wellington’s Frostbite and aren’t fond of spoilers, I suggest you stop reading now.  I will point you to my review of the first part in this series here; perhaps you’d like to read that instead.


Cheyenne Clark – a woman whose hatred for werewolves has turned her into the very thing she most despises – prowls the Arctic Circle on the trail of an ancient secret, hunting for the one thing that could remove the lycanthropic curse and make her human again.

Yet standing between Chey and her goal are a werewolf hunter armed with a diabolically brilliant weapon, a centuries-old werewolf with her own mysterious agenda…and Chey’s own complicated feelings for the man who doomed her to this existence but on whom her life now depends.

Worse, with every hour that passes the wolf inside Chey becomes more powerful.  It won’t be long before the woman disappears completely, and only the beast is left.


Aside: I'm back!  I hope you all enjoyed last week's guest post!  And thank you to AAlgar for his awesome review.  I may need to check out Ringworld at some point in the future.  Now, let me review for you, my pets.

My Thoughts:

Hmm.  I have mixed thoughts about this novel, to be perfectly honest with you my dears.  On the one hand, it offered up some really fascinating mythology and a rather nice origin story for the werewolves, on the other hand, the end seemed rushed and somehow was not at all satisfying.  The casual writing-style also irked me, which is probably a symptom of reading so many books with amazingly poetic language.  Oh, and the characters weren’t particularly dynamic or you know, three-dimensional.  Gripe, gripe, gripe.

When I read Frostbite almost a year ago, I was taken with how innovative Wellington’s approach to the werewolf was and this, at least, is still true in Overwinter.  The whole concept of the curse and the Inuit mythology woven throughout the narrative are both really captivating and not something I’ve read before now.  The setting was amazing again – and there were some great descriptions of vicious storms and snowy, bleak landscapes through which the wolves had to trek.  We got to meet some more animal spirits and all of these were great, even if they acted as deux ex machina in parts.

The story started to fall apart with the characters, though.  Somehow, they seemed more like cardboard cut-outs than people – aside from the incarnations of the animal spirits.  I liked the dynamic between Powell and Chey in the first novel, but here, with the burgeoning romance it just felt too forced.  Really, the only time I enjoyed reading about the main cast without any reservations was when they were wolves, because the wolf dynamics seemed natural.  I could certainly tell that an effort was made to make the human interactions believable and to show Chey’s struggle with her feelings for Powell, but it just didn’t resonate strongly enough to make me care.

I won’t give away exactly what happens at the end, but I will say that it leaves one storyline unresolved.  The oppositional force just tucks tail and runs and then we don’t ever hear about the repercussions which were discussed earlier in the book for this kind of failure.  So it felt like that a whole bunch of chapters talking about Holness, the spy working with big business to deal with the werewolf problem, were a waste of time.  Does he get punished for failing?  Or do his employers see the end as a victory and he gets rewarded?  We will never know!  That seems like a bit of a hole right there.  I didn’t spend all those chapters with him thinking about his fancy clothes just to have this lack of resolution in his storyline.  Blech.

It’s really a shame, because there were quite a few neat things in this novel.  Varkanin’s ploy to deal with the werewolves, especially Lucie and some of the back story to Powell and Lucie in Europe when he was first made a wolf during WWI, the spirits and the setting, hell, even the cure is innovative, but overall at the end I felt disappointed.  I think, ultimately, I just didn’t care about the characters enough to care about the outcome.  So, I’m still torn between the unique aspects of the story and the lack of emotional appeal in the characters.  I will sit on the fence on this one, but if you’ve read the first one, I don’t think you’ll hate this conclusion.

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