Tag: Anne Rice

Top 5 Fiction Reads of 2012

These are my favourite fiction titles read (not necessarily published) in 2012. Click the title for links to full reviews, where applicable. My top 5 non-fiction titles for the year will go up Thursday.

1Q84 (978-0307593313) 

Cover image for 1Q84In 1984, personal trainer Aomame disembarks from a taxi in the middle of a Tokyo Expressway and climbs down an emergency exit in order to make an important appointment. But the world at the bottom of the emergency exit is subtly different from the world she left behind. Also in Tokyo, author Tengo is approached by a publishing contact with an offer to ghostwrite a beautiful and unusual fantasy novel written by a peculiar seventeen year old girl with a troubled past. Haruki Murakami weaves elements of mystery, fantasy and dystopia together brilliantly to reveal the connection between Aomame and Tengo and their seemingly disparate stories.

Categories: Fantasy, Dystopia


Lamb
(978-0380813810)

Cover image for Lamb by Christopher MooreWith his signature wit and humour, Christopher Moore brings a bright new perspective to the life of Christ and the many myths surrounding it by retelling it from the point of view of his dedicated and clumsy childhood pal, Biff. Biff has been reincarnated to tell the tale of the missing years of Christ’s life, between his childhood and his ministry. Their travels through Asia might more aptly be styled misadventures, but they all lead back to the fate that waits for “Joshua” on Calvary. Moore’s Gospel according to Biff is irreverent and hilarious.

Categories: Humour, Mythology

The Night Circus (978-0307744432)

Cover Image for The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternTwo great magicians with a long-standing rivalry pit their apprentices against one another in a battle of skill and wits with an unusual setting: a magical black and white circus which operates only at night. Celia and Marco are bound to the struggle but their growing feelings for one another and frustration with their mentors cause them to rebel against their fate. And the luminous circus setting in which they face off has serious consequences for the other denizens of the circus as the competition stretches on. Erin Morgenstern brings the circus to life in the mind’s eye in stunning detail.

Categories: Fantasy, Romance

The Wolf Gift (978-0-307-59511-9)

Cover Image for The Wolf Gift by Anne RiceReturning to the world of supernatural fiction, Anne Rice puts her own spin on the legend of the werewolf. Reuben Golding is a young reporter from a wealthy San Francisco family. He has a budding career and beautiful girlfriend, but his life is turned on its head when he is invited to Nideck Point, a majestic and isolated manor on the Mendocino coast. His hostess is murdered, and he is ravaged by a werewolf. When he transforms himself, he is compelled to answer the cries of suffering innocents, and is left to struggle with the moral implications of the violence he inflicts on their tormentors. Anne Rice blends philosophic introspection and supernatural mystery along with her unusual talent for describing houses and landscapes. The sequel, The Wolves of Midwinter, has been announced for October 2013.

Categories: Fantasy, Horror

Song of Achilles (978-0062060624)

Cover image for Song of Achilles by Madeleine MillerThe legend of Achilles and his role in the fall of Troy are exquisitely reimagined by Madeleine Miller, told from the perspective of his dedicated companion, Patroclus. Former prince Patroclus is an unwanted exile in the court of King Peleus. Despite his dark past, Patroclus is gentle and disinclined towards the martial arts he is expected to master. Achilles is a natural warrior, destined for great conquests by the ambition of his goddess mother, Thetis. Their opposing natures bind them together into a steadfast friendship that grows into a romance that will see Patroclus follow Achilles to the walls of Troy, despite Thetis’s determined efforts to drive them apart. Miller delivers a moving tale of friendship and romance doomed by its setting on the stage of history.

Categories: LGBT, Mythology, Romance

The Wolf Gift

Cover Image for The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice by Anne Rice

ISBN 978-0-307-59511-9

For fans of Rice’s early work who may not have not enjoyed her more recent offerings, The Wolf Gift is a homecoming to the world of supernatural fiction. The story begins, much like any other werewolf tale, with an accidental bite and a monstrous transformation. However, the similarities largely end there, as Rice puts her own distinctive spin on werewolves by blending the tension between theology and science with a touch of the traditional superhero narrative. Reuben, a young reporter, ­becomes a man-wolf whose transformations are driven not by the cycles of the moon, but by the scent of evil and the cries of the victims who desperately need his help. The transformation causes a slew of changes in his behaviour and personality which strain his relationship with his mother, Grace, a brilliant surgeon; his father, Phil, a university professor; his brother, Jim, a doubt-ridden Catholic priest; and his girlfriend, Celeste, an up-and-coming lawyer. The change is artfully illustrated by the subtle difference in Reuben’s narrative voice between when he is in his human form and when he is roaming the forests as the man-wolf.

Rice has a particular talent for evoking topophilia in her work; she has famously brought New Orleans and the Louisiana bayous to life in her Vampire Chronicles and the Mayfair novels. In The Wolf Gift, she lavishes this attention on San Francisco and the great redwood forests of northern California. This skill is important as Rice begins the novel by carefully establishing the tone and setting of the narrative, while the characters and the plot are revealed more slowly. Rice’s riveting ability to render place is key to holding the reader’s attention through the limited action of the first two chapters. Similar attention is invested in describing the house at Nideck Point where much of the action takes place.

Although The Wolf Gift marks Rice’s return to the horror genre, issues of religion and morality remain central to the narrative. For example, Reuben uses the Seal of the Confessional to take his brother into his confidence. Reuben’s transformation into the Man-Wolf only heightens the natural human desire to understand our purpose, and further complicates the already difficult questions of morality. In this he is not unlike Rice’s vampire protagonist, Louis. Although Reuben is eventually able to uncover some answers as to the origin of the Morphenkinder, the question of the morality of the Man-Wolf is largely left open for exploration in a future novel.