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on August 2, 2011
The format in which this book is done is interesting. I haven't come across this until now. For a good part of the novel, you get what looks like short stories of Valentine's life before the actual plot begins. I understand how some readers thought this wasn't the most perfect way to introduce the story. However I thought it was not only different but a good way to introduce the main character, and his background, with background information about the setting in this way. You follow Valentine throughout his youth, then you follow him through the period on where he first starts training to become a 'Wolf' (a special elite unit). It's not until a good later part of the book is where the actual plot begins. I liked this kind of introduction. It made getting to know Valentine easier. It gave Valentine a three dimensional form and it chronicles his development in good detail.

The setting is also interesting, however it took me a while to finally get the hang of it (without consulting the glossary at the back). The vampires here are ruthless and evil, so you will definitely not find the romantic stereotype anywhere in this book. There's a blend of post apocalyptic characteristics, with dark fantasy, and science fiction elements. So really you have a good mixture of just about everything in here. Personally, I like the dark fantasy and post apocalyptic parts. Earth really is a bleak place to be and the descriptions, and characters enhance the setting.

Valentine is all right as a character. He does seem like your most awesome hero and at times it could get a little annoying. I wish he could have a bit of a darker edge to him (ie: he could be a jerk once in a while) but he seems to be your average good guy with a troubled past. I suppose that's not too bad although it could be considered cliche and overdone by other readers.

What I did enjoy most about the novel is the overall plot. The pace was good although certain areas did experience a bit of a bump here and there. However all I will ask is for the author to not do any more romantic scenes and I'm shuddering to think if there will be more romance in the other books to follow. I read a particular romance moment and I just about nearly choked. Really? a man would do what Valentine did?? that's just gross! after having a fit for about a few minutes I resumed with the story (Apologies for not being specific. It is detailed and explicit so I won't go further than that). After finishing the book I still found that particular passage to be still unnerving. That's the only part that I strongly dislike in the book. Seriously, just take the romance out of this. It wasn't necessary and the plot was fine without it!

This was a nice interesting start to what looks like an action packed series. I'm definitely going to follow this series for sure. If you like dark fantasy with sci fi elements in a post apocalyptic world try this. Plus, the vampires aren't sparkling. You might just like it!
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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.
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on September 11, 2003
Way Of The Wolf will suck you in (pun intended *winks*) from the very beginning with it's wonderful lead character, intriguing plot, and excellent world building. A lot of thought and imagination have gone into the history of the world, and you will be astonished to find out where the Gods and Vampires of our legends actually come from, and how they ended up here. In fact, the world is so vividly described that you can't help but feel like it's a creepy premonition of what's in store for us when the year 2022 arrives!
Val has been born into this dangerous, ravaged world long after the cataclysmic events that changed the Earth as we know it now. But even as you experience everything from Val's point of view throughout the story, you will also feel a certain kinship with some of the older characters, the ones who remember how things used to be. I felt oddly nostalgic seeing what familiar things have survived from the old world. It was like being transported forward in time as a ghost at Val's shoulder, longing to reminisce with those old-timers about a way of life that is now dead and gone.
Is this book Fantasy, Horror, or Science Fiction? It's difficult to say. Way Of The Wolf is an enticing combination of all three genres. The lines are expertly blurred, and that is part of what I think makes this story so unique and refreshing. And it has a little bit of everything that makes for a well rounded, exciting adventure; action, "magic", aliens, mystery, romance, a dash of humor, and creatures that have stepped right out of your darkest nightmares.
Way Of The Wolf is a brilliant debut novel, and even though it has a satisfying ending, there are still many questions left unanswered, and mysteries to unravel. I can't wait to join Val again in the next installment of the series, Choice Of The Cat! This was a fantastic book, and a real page-turner. I highly recommend it!
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on October 1, 2003
This book caught my eye from the cover blurb - "Welcome to the year 2065 - Earth is under new management."
And indeed it is. Combining sf and horror, Mr. Knight postulates a post-apocalyptic America controlled by a species of interstellar vampires. The book is reminiscent of early Heinlein, with a young heroic protagonist and some clever use of didactics in describing how the few surviving and rebellious humans form various primitive societies to fight back. It has the atmosphere and style of a book like Tunnel in the Sky, but is more graphic in its depiction of sex and violence, as befits its theme.
Knight's strengths are his world-building and characterization. The reader becomes immersed in this world, and given the basic concept of invading vampire-like creatures, it's extrapolation from that point is both believable and chilling. At the same time, the protagonist David Valentine is a very likable hero with a tragic background, who has to make some difficult choices. There are many people who have decided that cooperating with the vampire-like Kurians is the only way to get along. Valentine isn't one of these people.
Much of the action takes place in the midwest, particularly what is known as the Ozark Free Territory. As a life-long Missourian, I felt that Knight's descriptions were very apt and he seemed to capture this area of America very well.
Knight's writing is assured and detailed, the pacing excellent. This does not read like a first effort. Do yourself a favor and give this new kid on the block a try. You won't be sorry.
Way of the Wolf is the opening novel of what's being billed as the Vampire Earth series. I can't wait for the sequel, Choice of the Cat, due out in May of 2004.
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on September 3, 2003
Almost five decades ago the vampiric Kurians successfully sent their minion the Reapers to conquer the earth. By 2065 earth calendar, the system is in place as the Reapers feed on human aura that is sent as energy back to their masters. The human populace is down to a very controlled ten percent of what it had been back in 2022 due to a Kurian transmitted virus; most of these virus survivors are food.
Though man's reign seems through, some human freedom fighters continue the cause to liberate the survivors. In Louisiana David Valentine joins the guerrilla force the Wolves. He knows he must shed his humanity and become a berserker killer until the enemy kills him if he to help free his race against the Kurian Order. However, he also must temper his need for vengeance because he leads a commando group into enemy territory that somehow must survive the fight as his side lacks numbers.
The first novel in the "Vampire Earth" series is a powerful futuristic science fiction tale that fans of post apocalyptic earth or outer space vampires will enjoy. The story line insures that readers comprehend the scope of the conquering by making it so real due in part by David as a fully developed character struggling between killing and caring. Though the concept of soul sucking has been done before (classic Superman tale for instance) and much of the cast feels anemic, readers will enjoy this novel that goes into hyperspeed for the final two thirds of the plot. Readers will want to finish the tale in one sitting because it is so enthralling.
Harriet Klausner
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on November 23, 2003
Some books showcase familiar speculative fiction concepts in comfortable ways; some braid a few of those threads in refreshing patterns. And then there are those which blaze new trails through the genre. *Way of the Wolf*, the first novel by E.E. Knight, is one of the latter. The opening volume of the Vampire Earth series, it reads more like an inspired blend of C.S. Forester, H.P. Lovecraft, and Roger Zelazny than anything penned by Anne Rice.
A handful of reviewers seem not to have noticed the book's back cover blurb or numerous reviews that clearly indicate that *Wolf* is about vampire hunters. Turn elsewhere if you want to read of conflicted vampires whining about their fates; turn here if you want a new, frightening take on old monsters and the heroes who fight them.
It's a gripping ride told with panache and style, character-driven speculative fiction adventure at its very best, and I for one can't wait to see its sequels.
The above review is excerpted from my Fall, 2003 review of the same book printed in *Black Gate* magazine. ([...]
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on September 28, 2003
I loved this book! There is something in it to appeal to every reader. A little horror, a little SF, a little mysticism, even a touch of romance.
The main character, David Valentine, is an elite soldier on a near future earth that has been turned on its ear. Man is no longer at the top of the food chain--he has become prey to turncoat humans, genetically created monsters called grogs, the menacing, vampiric Reapers and the alien Kurian masters. He is of the first generation never to have known life without the fear of the Reapers.
The book shows his development from childhood, through his training, and into young adulthood. He is chosen by a good Kurian, a Lifeweaver, to become a Wolf, an elite warrior with the finely honed senses and strength of a wolf. His job--to help destroy the minions of the Kurians and protect the safety of the Free Territory.
The post-apocalyptic world and the characters of this book ring true. You see the best and worst of human nature close up. And although the world under the Kurians is a violent and unpredictable place, there are still flashes of happiness and humor and love as humanity survives and adapts to life under the world's new masters. And David is a true hero that anchors this at times grim and violent book with a human heart.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a well-spun, fast-paced adventure tale!
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on July 11, 2004
On an impressively well-written new series. At the heart of this apocalyptic saga is David Valentine, a boy from backwoods Minnesota who begins a bloody journey to avenge his family's brutal demise at the hands of Quislings, human servants of the Kur, a race of galactic soul-suckers who've overthrown Earth and turned mankind into livestock. David becomes an officer of the Wolves, a unit of warriors whose senses have been honed by Lifeweavers, cosmic cousins of the Kur. The Wolves battle a variety of foes, the worst of which are Reapers, black-fanged vampy bastards who glut themselves on blood while doing the dirty work of funneling life-force back to Kur masters who control them by psychic bond.
What impresses me most about E.E. Knight is his style: He writes with a dry wit, a florid descriptive eye, magnificent metaphors and perfect pacing. This book encompasses the best of just about every genre. His work has been compared to Heinlein, Lovecraft, even Crane. But if you read this book, you'll see -- it's a brand new Knight.
P.S. Check out the author's website, [...]
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on January 13, 2004
In 2022 the world as we know it comes to an end. Aliens who call themselves Kurians have taken over Earth. The Kurians are not harmless and have very sinister designs on humanity. Each Kurian controls a group of Reapers - a vampire like wraith who prowls the night stealing a human's lifeforce or aura. The auras are the means with which the Kurians remain immortal. The Kurians have some of humanity in league with them. Many people have agreed to help the Kurians by selling out their neighbors. Most of humanity is now a farm animal for the Kurians.
David Valentine has had to grow up very fast. His entire family died a senseless death. It wasn't Reapers - but humans. Valentine was forever changed that day. When Southern Command, the remnants of the military protecting everyone from the Kurians, comes calling for volunteers, Valentine is intrigued. His father was a Wolf, an elite military unit that engages in guerrilla warfare. By becoming a Wolf, Valentine is driven to find a way to defeat the Kurians and salvage what is left of humanity.
Way of the Wolf is the first of the Vampire Earth series. As such, much of the book is spent creating the post-apocalyptic Earth and setting up Valentine as our hero. Valentine is very well fleshed out and likeable character. He endears himself to the reader. The story line of Way of the Wolf is slow to start, but once the action begins, it does not let up. The action is gripping and enthralling. The dichotomy of an 'elite' group with immunity from the Kurians and all the other 'sheep' presents many opportunities for the story line to take unseen twists. Who is more devious and deadly? The Reapers or your neighbors?
Way of the Wolf is E.E. Knight's first book. The sequel, Choice of the Cat will be published in May, 2004 with a third novel, titled Tale of the Thunderbolt to follow in 2005. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Lost Cult, an adventure in the Tomb Raider world will be published in August, 2004. E.E. Knight has a very extensive website at [...]
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on December 7, 2003
I read the book with high expectations because of the good reviews, but ended up disappointed.
Yes, as has been stated before, the plot has a new twist, but the book ended up in an awkward superposition between horror and science fiction.
The author has taken great pains to make some backgound details beleivable, so the details about the grim life under the alien invaders are worked out, but after a quarter of the book they tend to crowd out the horror/adventure elements. What you get is a post-apocalyptic novel that rather reminds me of Heinlein's juveniles, with a young man rising through the ranks in a war against aliens.
The aliens -blood-sucking as they may be- end up rather trivial adversaries, they may be hard to kill but do not scare in the manner of the "Alien" aliens. The "Quislings" are also too trivial bad guys to be interesting. The cast of villains, and the background of America's decaying infrastructure is shabby rather than horrifying.
As science fiction, it is not original or exciting enough to "take off", and as horror/urban fantasy it does not have the romantic edge of, for instance Anne Rice or Laurell Hamilton.
I give it two stars instead of one, only because the author has clearly made an effort with the "world-building" of the novel.
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