Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar
|Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar
|Reviewer: Elaine Dingsdale
|Summary: Kalix, the lonely werewolf girl, is living rough in London, having been cast adrift by her somewhat dysfunctional Scottish clan. She befriends several humans, who rescue and aid her on numerous occasions, thereby setting in motion a series of events which are simultaneously hilarious and yet filled with pathos. Will she escape the vengeance of her elder brother…..read on!
|Date: March 2010
|ISBN: 978 - 0749942830
The plot is simple - the werewolf of the title is 17 year old Kalix, exiled from her family due to her involvement in the head of the clan’s death. Her elder brother has set a price on her head, and is pursuing her with all sources he can muster. It sounds horrific? It is indeed, and there are some truly gruesome scenes, as werewolves battle amongst themselves, or with the humans who come into their orbit. However, these scenes do serve a purpose (to remind us perhaps, that they are werewolves, and not humans?!), and by and large do not occupy too large a part in the narrative.
Overall, this is a hugely comic work, with humour which works on many levels - the interaction of the characters, their speech and perceptions - and the juxtaposition of the two worlds. Into this bizarre set up, come characters from the fairy/elemental realms, and the co-existence of all these superbly delineated characters is a joy to read. Kalix, the gaunt and hunted creature, is so human like in many ways, that her predicaments become those of every teenager, (Nobody likes me,When can we get cable TV, Do I look silly in this?) I defy you not to sympathise and want to mother Kalix by the end of the novel, so endearing is she in her own unique way. Befriended by two students, they give her a safe haven, despite her propensity to eat vast quantities of raw meat - and then regurgitate it minutes later! This and various other foibles do make for entertaining reading - and yet, at the same time, we are filled with a certain empathy for her suffering - both physical and emotional.
Another beautifully depicted character is Malveria, the Fire Elemental Queen, who enters the novel at regular intervals (usually through a cloud of smoke…) to chase up the production of various ball gowns being made for her by Kalix’s elder sister. Malveria is hugely entertaining - forever threatening to visit unspeakable terrors upon her young niece, who tries her patience to the limit. But all along showing herself to be a big softy at heart - as evinced by her joy at the rather strange presents Vex gives to her.
The interplay between Malveria and Vex, and all the other characters, is perhaps the most enjoyable part of the book. Here we have a hugely strong Queen, who has saved her world on more than one occasion - and is reduced to a gibbering wreck, worrying at the thought of the designs for her wardrobe being copied/stolen! She also loves pop tarts with a passion… I have no idea why this amused me so much, but every time it came up, off I went into gales of laughter. In fact, am having a bit of a smirk even now, just thinking of it… the Fire Queen who would sell her soul for a poptart… wonderful!
All of the characters are strangely human - even more so than the human characters, who somehow seemed a bit two dimensional - which is maybe no huge surprise when viewed alongside this colourful menagerie. The female werewolves were by far the more interesting - stronger, more focused and determined than their male counterparts. A few of the females, at home on the clan estate were quite intriguing, and it was a pity that Millar didn’t devote more time to them. The redoubtable matriarchs could supply enough material for another book!
In fact, one of my few complaints would be that a better balance would have been struck, had more time been spent on the narrative in the Highlands - more background information and history to this strange clan would have been welcomed. In fact, even better had it come at the expense of the final chapters - which seemed to hang forever whilst waiting for the final showdown. I started reading at speed as I was enjoying so much - but the final quarter or so of the book did go on rather - and even when the conclusion came, it was far from satisfactory - perhaps leaving the way open for a sequel? Now, that would be good…
This is only the second novel by Millar that I have read - but it won’t be the last - he simply is an amazingly talented, and witty author, who deserves his wide following. I’ve categorised this as fantasy - but in fact, it is an excellent work of humour and pastiche.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If this book appeals to you then why not try No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong?
You can read more book reviews or buy Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar at Amazon.com.
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