September 19th, 2010

forever sleep

Pleistocene Megafauna Strikes Back!(80)

Overwinter by David Wellington.

Tulugaq-- Raven--
Has a million more names, &
wants to eat your eyes.

This novel really highlights Wellington's strengths as a storyteller; in particular, his ability to do something you haven't seen before, & to take something that could be very cheesy & deal with it totally straight faced. He's got a knack for verisimilitude that stands him in good steed as a writer of "monster" books. He's a writer who could make things like wooden bullets & UV lamps in a vampire hunter's grab bag seem interesting, rather than lame. I guess I was left sort of luke-warm by his first werewolf book, Frostbite when I read it, but I only have fond memories of it now-- & more to the point, Overwinter was great. I've said before-- I have dismissed these as "fun" books that I "liked," but I invariably pick them up & read them as soon as they come out-- which speaks volumes. & looking at my first thoughts when I finished Frostbite probably explains why-- I wanted paleo-Indians & ancient curses? Well he delivers. I'm, as ever, really curious just how much White Wolf World of Darkness products influenced him-- the connection between werewolf & shaman & spirit is pretty central to the myth cycle but I can't help but see Pack Totem when Dzo shows up. & remember how I mentioned Wellington's penchant for taking the twist, finding the obvious thing that you've never seen before? When the blue guy gets off the helicopter & you realize he has silver poisoning; that was just, wow, a great moment. Coupled with the piles of skeletons at the end-- Wellington has an understanding of scope, makes it clear that there are stories beside the one you are reading. It all just hangs together so well-- I really read this book with fresh eyes for shapeshifters. It is hard to do something new with classic monsters, but Wellington does it, & makes it a compelling portrayal of the critters. He makes you re-examine the cliches & you come out of the book rewarded for it.