Synopsis: A young man (Liam) in 1970s Northern Ireland joins the IRA, discovers he’s a werewolf, and is hunted both by the English Army and Catholic inquisitors. His friend and Catholic priest tries to convince the Church that the Fey and the Fallen are two different races and the Fey are not evil.
Brief Book Review: For the most part, the book is well written. It is very well researched, and the main character grows significantly throughout the story (I found him hard to relate to at first, but that changed as he did). There are a few noticeable problems, particularly the rather lack-luster finale, but on the whole it’s a very good book. Recommended.
Club Review: This is an ideal book for a book club. It has the perfect mix of strengths and weaknesses to really get people talking. The writing and plotting is rather strong most of the time, really drawing in the reader, but with some holes that attentive readers will catch and pick apart in kvetching sessions. More importantly, there are several things several major characters do (or fail to do) that can spark emotional reactions from readers that will likely be brought up, ranging from disbelief to outrage. Numerous aspects of the book can act as productive irritants – The strange moral landscape of the time period chafes a few times. The feeling of living in a divided and occupied country is vivid. The author is fairly even-handed with the political conflict by writing the story from the view of an originally disinterested youngster slowly drawn into political action through various personal forces. The political conflict is very nuanced and grey-shaded, with both sides acting in despicable ways and yet often not seeming unreasonable. The almost comically black-and-white Fallen-vs-Mortals conflict is incongruous enough (and unexplored enough) to make me suspect that future books will be drawing a parallel between the two wars to show that that the Fallen are not pure evil either and extermination is not a viable option.
A Warning – there are several extremely violent scenes. Moreso than most books.
Summary: Lots of grist here. A great mix of good and bad that’ll spark a lot of discussion, with group lamentation about the poor ending. The book itself is very enjoyable, which is a big bonus. Strongly Recommended for book clubs.