Top positive review
That Rare Thing in Vampire Fiction: a New Idea
on November 16, 2003
It's hard to find new ideas in vampire fiction. All the great stories have been told; even Anne Rice has become old hat. Finding a really good vampire novel that doesn't rehash old matter is a rare treat, and that's why I enjoyed reading Way of the Wolf.
Not that this is a perfect volume. Author E.E. Knight seems to have reduced two volumes into one here. This book is divided in two unequal halves. The longer first half establishes the character, setting, and back story for an intended series of novels. The second half begins the real story arc, one that isn't completed in this book. The two stories aren't grafted together perfectly, and the first half seems edited down from what may have been a novel-length first draft.
But the story is compelling, and the characters are engaging enough to draw the reader through some of the slower exposition in the first part of the book. Combining the vampire novel with another staple of fantastic fiction, the post-apocalypse, this novel is simultaneously reminiscent of Dracula and A Canticle for Leibowitz.
A story this inclusive could easily devolve into tasteless pablum, but Knight is a strong enough writer to keep the work strong and flowing. The episodic nature suggests this book would translate well into a movie or, preferably, a TV mini-series, yet is literary enough to justify being written as a novel. Even the word choice is subtle enough to create moods without having to spell everything out all at once.
I would have liked to see more of the plot threads from the first half of the novel carried into the second half. By this I mean Gabrielle Cho, who seems to disappear from the narrative when she's no longer an part of the direct action. However, for an action-driven novel, it's far superior to most of what gets produced today.
This is the first novel in a series, and the debut novel from its author. It pops it's eminently readable, and it suggests wonderful future possibilities from Knight. I look forward to the second volume, and more, from this promising new author.