Review: The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

February 25, 2012 Review 4


The Wolf Gift

Title: The Wolf Gift
AuthorAnne Rice
Series: N/A
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Excerpt: Yes
Source: Publisher
Reviewed by: Julia

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; February 14, 2012
  • ISBN-10: 0307595110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307595119

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Sexual Content:

References to sex, threats of rape, sex scenes.


Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.


A daring new departure from the inspired creator of The Vampire Chronicles (“unrelentingly erotic. . . unforgettable.”), the Lives of the Mayfair Witches (“Anne Rice will live on through the ages of literature”), and the angels of The Songs of the Seraphim (“remarkable.”). A whole new world—modern, sleek, high-tech, and at its center, a story as old and compelling as history—the making of a werewolf, re-imagined and re-invented as only Anne Rice, teller of mesmerizing tales, conjurer extraordinaire of other realms, could create it.

The time is the present.

The place, the rugged coast of northern California. A bluff high above the Pacific. A grand mansion full of beauty and tantalizing history set against a towering redwood forest.

A young reporter on assignment from the San Francisco Observer. . . an older woman, welcoming him into her magnificent, historic family home that he has been sent to write about and that she must sell with some urgency . . . A chance encounter between two unlikely people . . . an idyllic night—shattered by horrific unimaginable violence. . .The young man inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness . . . A violent episode that sets in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation as the young man, caught between ecstasy and horror, between embracing who he is evolving into and fearing who—what—he will become, soon experiences the thrill of the wolf gift.

As he resists the paradoxical pleasure and enthrallment of his wolfen savagery and delights in the power and (surprising) capacity for good, he is caught up in a strange and dangerous rescue and is desperately hunted as “the Man Wolf,” by authorities, the media and scientists (evidence of DNA threaten to reveal his dual existence). . . As a new and profound love enfolds him, questions emerge that propel him deeper into his mysterious new world: questions of why and how he has been given this gift; of its true nature and the curious but satisfying pull towards goodness; of the profound realization that there are others like him who may be watching—guardian creatures who have existed throughout time and may possess ancient secrets and alchemical knowledge and throughout it all, the search for salvation for a soul tormented by a new realm of temptations, and the fraught, exhilarating journey, still to come, of being and becoming, fully, both wolf and man.


There is something thrilling and novel about reading familiar tropes in an unfamiliar style.  Rice’s romantic, poetic style is a new angle on the werewolf mythology that I enjoyed immensely.  Reuben Golding, the Man Wolf, is a character out of time, affluent and callow, full of possibilities and a good heart.  His world is at once incomprehensible and remarkably familiar, with mysterious estates and esoteric theology on one page and a naked werewolf taking pictures of himself in the bathroom mirror on the next. 

Rice is all about the poetry of naming: Sunshine Boy, Baby Boy, Man Wolf… Reuben’s metamorphosis over the course of the this book was at first gothic and archetypal, his reaction to the women in his life was a bit off-putting.  I fell in love, however, just as Laura did, with the Man Wolf Reuben becomes.  His transformation is as much emotional maturity as it is a physical change.  And here Rice brings the best of paranormal tropes to bear: Reuben’s powers make him a superhero.  A virile, confident being that protects the weak, romantic and dashing.  Reuben is a seductive and unique werewolf, with a core of optimism and elemental sweetness to his alter ego that in no way downplays his savage side.  While his performance of Simple Gifts doesn’t rival Bran’s, Reuben has charmed his way into my top ten list of fury leading men.

Despite that sexy leading man, the end of THE WOLF GIFT seemed to drag on long after the action had resolved.  As much as I love mundane roots for mythical beings, the origins and morality of these hybrid creatures was slow going after the action and suspense of prior chapters.  Still, though my rating eventually wavered from Four Bats to Three, Rice sets the final stage in a way that would do any modern Paranormal Romance proud, with a cast of compelling, attractive supporting characters just begs for a sequel.

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4 Responses to “Review: The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice”

  1. Bibliotropic

    I have a copy of this one, though I haven't read it yet. Given that it's Anne Rice, I expect that when I do read it I'll either love it or find that it was overblown and hard to read. Personally, I'm hoping for the former (aren't we all), but given my experience with her books in the past, I'm at least prepared for the second option.

  2. Paige Cuccaro

    I have been sooo looking forward to this book! My hopes were high that this might be a return to her former pre-religious-epiphany style. It's good to hear that you found some of it worth reading. I'll still give this book a shot. I can't help it. It's Anne Rice!

  3. Julia

    I enjoyed the new spin of a happy Brotherhood of werewolves, but the theology definitely didn't gel for me as a plot device.