by TJ Klune
First sentence: “I was twelve when my daddy put a suitcase by the door.”
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Release date: July 4, 2023
Review copy pilfered from the ARC shelves at work.
Content: There is a lot of violence, swearing, and sex (on-screen and talked about). There is mention of child abuse and pedophilia. It will be in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of the bookstore.
Ox Matheson has spent most of his life believing he was nothing – it’s what his father told him, after all. But then, at age 16, he meets 10-year-old Joe Bennett, and the whole Bennet clan, and Ox’s life is forever changed. Over the 10 years that this book takes place, Ox and Joe grow into each other, as Joe grows into manhood, and Ox learns more about the Bennett family and their werewolf ways (not sure if that’s a spoiler, sorry). Additionally, the wolf clan will fight a rogue wolf, one who blames Joe’s dad for the death of his family, and who will stop at nothing to hurt the Bennetts. This will shape not only Ox and Joe and their relationship, but the whole town they live in.
On the one hand: while this is early Klune (it’s a re-issue of his first book), there are still some elements of his writing in there that I love. it was very funny at points, and Klune has this way of writing characters that are just good at their core. Ox is one of those characters, and I really enjoyed spending time with him.
On the other hand, there was a LOT of violence. A lot. It got to the point whenever one character threatened to show up, I had to put the book down because I knew people – often children – would be hurt. And if you ever wondered if Klune could write a very graphic but also very hot gay sex scene, the answer is: yes, he can. But it was also 500 pages of angst and violence and werewolves, and I’m just not sure I want to read the three more books in the series.
So, while I liked this one, I didn’t love it the way I love Klune’s other books. I’m glad I read it, though.