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22 April 2012

'The Last Werewolf' by Glen Duncan

Is it morally worse to be an unwilling monster once a month or a willing hunter?

This book struck me as an intelligent thriller with introspection and regrets.  Duncan writes beautifully.  His vocabulary, sentence structure, topics, pace and themes made it a joy to read this book.  I like the meandering philosophy of the protagonist.

How is it that the "monster" is often so much more humane than the humans? As a reader or witness it becomes rather easy to side with the werewolf given the humans that are presented to us.  Issues of trust, fate, choice and loyalty come up, but the readers have to come up with their own conclusions.

The werewolf consumes a life completely.  Memories, feelings, fears, smells, in short, all components of our self-aware existence are felt by our protagonist as he eats.  It can't be very comforting to the victim, but the werewolf feels the life he takes and carries it with him for the rest of his existence.  Is it morally worse to be an unwilling monster once a month or a willing hunter?  These (human) hunters kill not just werewolves but anyone that stands in their way.  They kill without empathy and often to advance personal goals.  They seem hardened by their certainty and self-righteousness.

The ending is exciting and full of twists and turns.  Exciting as it ought to be.  I bought this book knowing it was the beginning of a trilogy.  I worried that it would end in the popular "cliffhanger".  I was relieved to read a proper ending.  The story comes full circle.  Some other characters (unexpectedly) pick up the baton for book 2.  What binds a longer story together seems to be the question "WHY?"  Why do werewolves exist, why must they suffer?  The answers are hinted at but only just.  I feel I have to read carefully, look for clues and pay attention.  This bodes well for the next two books.

Glen Duncan
ISBN: 9781847679468

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