Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Wolves of Midwinter, by Anne Rice

3 stars

Hmmmmmm. What did I think of this one? I'm not so sure that I know yet, so am hoping that as I write this review I'll discover what my true feelings were. On the one hand, it was deeply pleasurable to be reading Anne Rice again, with her vivid sense of place and sensual powers of description in full flow. But on the other hand, it all felt a bit (whisper it) pointless. Stuff might have happened, but it felt as though most of that stuff involved putting up Christmas decorations...

Following on from events in The Wolf Gift, Reuben is now fully ensconced at Nideck Point and surrounded by the Distinguished Gentlemen who share his gift. His girlfriend, Laura (she who likes schtupping while he's in his wolf form) is undergoing her own transformation mostly off the page, leaving Reuben and the lads to go about setting up a Christmas spectacle. Which they do wonderfully, for pages and pages and pages and pages and pages. And that's before the spectacle actually happens, which of course needs lots more pages devoted to it.

In the meantime, we're also introduced to some of the 'Ageless Ones' who've long acted as servants to the Distinguished Gentlemen (although what they get out of doing so is beyond me), the 'Forest Gentry'(spirits who inhabit the forest surrounding Reuben's home) and the others who are coming together to form Reuben's extended family. A bit of plot floats around during all of this - Marchent's ghost is haunting Reuben and seems to want to tell him something - but only in the loosest possible sense and the climax of this thread turned out to be completely underwhelming.

Continuing with the negatives, Rice's unfortunate habit of having her characters love positively everyone while pontificating at length on philosophy and morality was also present and correct and far more noticeable for the lack of much to get my teeth into, as was her insistence on including children who are terribly grave and precocious and speak like elderly Victorian gentlemen, who stretch my credulity far more than a bunch of Morphenkinder ever could.

Although it's probably starting to sound as though I hated this, I did still tear through this in just a couple of sittings and will still be making sure to read the next instalment. I just won't be getting as rabid as I did for Lestat.

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