I haven’t written a review in more than three years. Partly, that’s because I inadvertently picked an internet-based fight with a self-published author a while back, and reviews of her books (sort of) led to the tiff. (I’ve since removed the posts in which I flayed her, so don’t bother looking for them. My positive reviews of her books, however, remain up because, whether I like her or not, I enjoyed her books.)
That said, I feel I should be sharing some of the good stuff I read with you. Good writers read, and if I come across something worth recommending, I should pass it along.
I bought a copy of Martin Millar‘s Lonely Werewolf Girl for one reason and one reason only: because there was a quote on the back of the book from Neil Gaiman who seemed to have enjoyed it a great deal. “If it’s good enough for Neil,” I told myself, “it’s good enough for me.”
Boy, am I glad I got it.
I’ve mentioned it before in a quasi-review after I read it the second time. Since then, I’ve read it a third time and am currently contemplating a fourth. Yes, it’s that good. In fact, if asked to name my favorite book, a question I’m always hesitant to answer, this is the book I’ve named for the past few years, and for good reason.
I hate spoilers, and you won’t find me dropping any here. For that reason, it’s genuinely hard to say much about the book. I really don’t want to give any plot element away. I will, however, say in general terms what I love about it, and about Millar’s writing.
I don’t know that I’ve ever read another author who so seamlessly intertwines the absurd and serious as well as Millar. Among his fairly large cast of characters is a fire elemental whose love for fashion runs so deep a good looking pair of heels can (and does) bring her to tears. I laughed out loud, quite literally, at her antics again and again. Then, Millar would shift gears, smoothly pulling me back to a more serious element of the story line. Within the span of a few pages I might laugh until there were tears in my eyes, then find myself on the edge of my seat, concerned for the life-and-death well being of a loved character, and then plunge into real, honest-to-God philosophy as I considered the underlying causes of anxiety, fear, happiness and hope.
And he did it all without ever giving me whiplash.
It’s a stunning ride. Yes, there are werewolves, so if you have hangups with fantasy this isn’t going to be the book for you. (Of course, if that’s the case, one wonders how you ended up on my site…) However, if you’re looking for something new and different and thoroughly wonderful to read, you can’t go wrong with this book.
Below, I’ve included the summary from Amazon. There are no spoilers, and it’ll give you a general idea of what the book’s about. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
While teenage werewolf Kalix MacRinnalch is being pursued through the streets of London by murderous hunters, her sister, the Werewolf Enchantress, is busy designing clothes for the Fire Queen. Meanwhile, in the Scottish Highlands, the MacRinnalch Clan is plotting and feuding after the head of the clan suddenly dies intestate. As the court intrigue threatens to blow up into all-out civil war, the competing factions determine that Kalix is the swing vote necessary to assume leadership of the clan. Unfortunately, Kalix isn’t really into clan politics — laudanum’s more her thing. Even more unfortunately, Kalix is the reason the head of the clan ended up dead, which is why she’s now on the lam in London…
This expansive tale of werewolves in the modern world — friendly werewolves, fashionista werewolves, troubled teenage werewolves, cross-dressing werewolves, werewolves of every sort — is hard-edged, hilarious, and utterly believable.