So I had a really hard time reading this novel. I just had so many mixed feelings through the beginning about how things were going. But there were some redeeming qualities that Maberry used to his advantage that I will outline a bit later. Before I start though, I want to acknowledge that this is an adaptation of a movie as opposed to the other way around and that may have something to do with the problems I found in this novel.
To start with, this was such a slow book for the first 100 or so pages. It felt much more like I was reading a mystery novel as opposed to a monster novel. In fact, if I didn’t know that a werewolf had killed Ben in the prologue, I would have said he could have been murdered by a madman and Lawrence was just investigating on his own. It really just didn’t work as well for me. It was too slow and I understand that the werewolf only changes on the full moon but maybe there could have been a bit more excitement. We learn a lot about Lawrence as a character and his relationship with his father, but I don’t know, it just wasn’t happening fast enough for me. That being said, the last 200 pages seemed to fly by for me. We first see the werewolf and things just go from bad to worse for Lawrence. I felt like the beginning could have been cut in half and it would have helped me a lot.
The monsters in this novel were definitely the two werewolves. The first time we see the werewolf in the gypsy camp was awesome. You get this figure, eight feet of fur and claws and teeth, standing up before Lawrence, and then carnage ensues. This creature is a force of pure anger and malice and rampage. We saw this early this semester with Rawhead Rex but unlike the ancient god, the werewolf has no logical reasoning. It is an animal of pure instinct and power. It attacks and attacks without thought of why or how or who he was before. That is where the horror lies, at least for me. The loss of the self and the knowledge of right and wrong. The chance that I could hurt someone unwillingly and then have to deal with that loss afterwards.
However, I would agree with what one of my fellow classmates pointed out about not having someone to root for when Lawrence turns into the werewolf. The Lawrence that we have come to connect with disappears and we can just sit back and witness what happens without any hope of preventing it. But it worked to show me the same feeling that Lawrence has after being buried underneath the consciousness of the Wolfman.
Having never seen the movie, I cannot compare the adaptation. I would hope that it isn’t as slow as the book is to start, but I will have to wait and see once I’ve watched it.
6 thoughts on “The Wolfman”
It’s interesting that you thought the first part was too slow and liked the last 200 pages, and I thought the first part was the best and closer to the end I started to lose interest. xD
The werewolf stories that work for me are those where the sufferer is left with a shred of his humanity intact. As you said, it leaves you without anyone to root for if that isn’t the case.
I also agree with Samantha that the beginning was more interesting and the ending plodded, but perhaps that may also have to do with the above, that by the time Lawrence BECOMES a werewolf, I don’t feel like there’s any more suspense left.
There were definitely some pacing issues with this. The least interesting part for me was the time between the London massacre and the showdown at Talbot Hall. That seemed to go on forever.
It’s really just a collection of scenes to me, and the in between parts weren’t interesting enough to remember. The scenes of wolfman rampage carnage are what stand out the most. They were all more interesting when furry.
The scene I found most exciting in the whole book was the scene at the gypsy camp where the wolfman attacks and Lawrence is bitten saving a child. For me this scene made Lawrence as a character shine the brightest. I saw how brave and frightened he was, and how driven his brother’s murder left him.
Put me on the list of people who liked the first 100 pages. If the abysmal movie had taken the time to set the stage, as Maberry did in the book, it might have made more sense. Maybe.
I had no problem rooting for Lawrence, even after he became the Wolfman. He was powerless over his transformation into a monster, but I felt there was still a shred of humanity left–the part of him that wanted to stop his father (who’d lost his humanity, even when he wasn’t furry) and put an end to the curse.