Finding a decent werewolf novel is tough and I should know, I’ve read every one I can get my hands on since I started writing my novel about werewolves. I still have more on my to-read list so this may be modified in the near future (I hear that Red Moon by Benjamin Percy is amazing) but so far, here are my top 5 favorite werewolf novels.
1. Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy This book knocked by freakin’ socks off. The world-building, the narration, the bromance! I loved the new take on the classic wolfman-style werewolf mythology and the inclusion of legends such as drinking from a wolf’s paw print to become a werewolf. Then there is the werewolf Change which is a-freakin-mazing both on the Netflix show and in the book. Pure genius. A perfect combination of paying tribute to what has already been done while breaking new ground in the genre. Click here for my full review on Hemlock Grove and if you haven’t read this book go buy it now, sit your butt down and read it. You can read the rest of my blog later….seriously, it will be here when you get back…go!
2. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. Armstrong opens with a fantastic Change and introduces us to one of my favorite urban fantasy heroines, Elena. Elena is the only female werewolf as far as she knows. She is trying to make a life with a human guy and human job but at her core she misses her pack and the guy she left behind until the pack comes looking for her and they pull her back in Godfather-style. I loved that despite the raw deal handed to her, Elena is tough, smart but still vulnerable enough that readers can relate to her. I’m looking forward to continuing on with this series and checking out the SyFy channel television adaptation.
3. The Wolf’s Hour by Robert McCammon. A werewolf James Bond who kills Nazis. Best. Concept. Ever. I read this book for the first time in the fifth grade and got detention for it when a teacher read the word ‘erection’ over my shoulder (don’t worry, it’s not that kind of book. Teacher’s and their out-of-context eavesdropping). Anyway, the recess I missed and the time I served with Lewis & Clark Elementary School’s delinquents was worth it. I even had time to finish the book! Wow, that was so much personal back story that you did not need. Moving on…
4. Shiver by Maggie Stievater. A young-adult paranormal romance and one of the more original takes on the werewolf mythology that I have seen. Stievater’s werewolves shift into their wolf form at the start of winter. Once Changed, they behave as normal wolves and lose their ability to think as humans. Those infected continue to Change every winter and return to their human form in the spring though their time as a humana becomes shorter every year until they stop changing back completely and live out the rest of their short lives as a normal wolves. Stievater clearly did her wolf research. These wolves are not vicious monsters but animals who are afraid of humans and only attack for self-defense or for food. For the characters of werewolf Sam and human Grace the biggest threat is that these two lovebirds will only have the summer together before Sam becomes a wolf for good and forgets all about her. Compelling and moving without being sappy.
5. Tamed by Douglas R. Brown. Great concept! Werewolves are not monsters but house pets adopted out by the werehouse (get it? Werehouse? Oh Douglas, you’re so punny!). For the characters dumb enough to bring Fido the werepuppy home, the inevitable chaos ensues. An interesting read that really picks up after the first two prologuey chapters that I could have done without.
Honorable mentions: Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King, Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klaus (good recommendation Bruce!), and Oz on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (yeah I know, it’s not a book and he’s not the star of the show but I just love him so much…Pez Witch!).
Now I want to hear from you! What are your favorite werewolf novels? And have you read Red Moon and, if so, should it be on the list?