The Last Werewolf
by Glen Duncan
I’m not new to this rodeo. I’ve had my fair share of lycanthrope stories. And while vampires and zombies are my typical go-to whenever I get a hankering for the supernatural, I must admit that I’ve been missing them lately.
Now, I will be the first one to say that I’m prejudiced when it comes to werewolves. I always assume that there will be super alpha males drumming their chest as soon as they find their “mates”. I know that instant-love is almost always a key ingredient; and that most will go through the angst of accepting the monsters inside themselves. This book is certainly all of that. Jake goes through the self-hating phase soon after killing his first human. He’ll feel the pull of his intended once he finds her. But while most of the novels in this variety are littered with the emotional dramatics of the main character, Jake Marlowe, however, will disappoint the most ardent readers of paranormal romance.
This is not your usual werewolf story that’s for damn sure.
The Last Werewolf, as the title implies, is the story about the last remaining werewolf in the world. Jake will find out that there’s nothing remotely glamorous or even reverent about the distinction, however. Enemies left and right will be coming out of the woodwork to rid the world of this last abomination. He wouldn’t know whom to trust, and anybody close to him faces certain death. He’s not going to enjoy being the hunted this time.
He’s not a teen heartthrob who stalks the halls of his school in all his emo glory. Nope. Jake Marlowe is a 200-year-old cynic who’s seen everything, done everything, and ready to peace out of this world. But…he wants to do it in his own terms.
Jake’s type of werewolf is the kind that needs to eat people in order to survive. The cycle of the moon also plays a pivotal role in prolonging their lives. While waiting for the full moon, they can live by gratuitously imbibing on alcohol and smoking like a chimney. They also need sex – and plenty of it! In a way, this brand of werewolves is like the vampires. They thrive on the indulgence of flesh and excessive vice. The author certainly doesn’t pull any punches. Violence, sex, gore are described in explicit details. But for the amount of sex included in this book, not a single scene was written with sexual arousal in mind. There’s a distinct dismissive casualty and banality to the act. He didn’t loiter in the scenes and didn’t dawdle. You wouldn’t feel any warm fuzzies or the need to smoke afterward.
Glen Duncan will probably annoy some of you. He comes across as a pretentious jerk for name-dropping some literary greats in his book. But I do see his point. Jake Marlowe is 200 years old, after all. How else would he occupy his immortal life but read?
He will make you feel as exhausted as Jake feels; as tired of life as he was. In that respect, Duncan is a very convincing writer. He spent most of his time ruminating about the life he led, the loves he lost, and the people he ate. But nowhere did he try to get the reader’s empathy. Duncan’s writing is very “male” for lack of a better word.
I am, however, sorry that I felt no emotion whatsoever while reading this book. That doesn’t mean, however, that I didn’t enjoy it. It’s not a bad quality, per se. But sometimes, you just got to take what you’re reading with a grain of salt. It’s a change of pace and it’s great to read something that doesn’t put me through the wringer for once.