This week’s topic is books featuring any paranormal creatures of our choice, so I went with werewolves and vampires.
But it’s less “Five Books with Werewolves and Vamps” and more “Four Werewolf Books Plus One Vamp Book Because I Couldn’t Remember Any More Good Werewolf Books.”
I’ve read quite a number of werewolf/vampire stories over the years and most of them just sort of blend together after a while. These five books are ones that–pun wholly intended–stand out from the pack.
1. Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones
Mongrels offers the most realistically harsh portrayal of werewolves I’ve ever read. Jones strips away all the romanticism of shifters in pop culture and imagines what the life of a werewolf in 21st-century America would really be like. The result isn’t pretty.
Not the lightest read, but a compelling one with surprising amounts of humour and heart.
2. Wolfsong (Green Creek 1) by T.J. Klune
My favourite werewolf stories are ones that focus on the idea of family (or “pack”), and Wolfsong does exactly that. It’s as much a romance as it’s a family drama, and I’d actually say that the former takes a backseat to everything else.
It also takes the notion that “alpha” means being the meanest, most badass wolf in town, balls it up, and chucks it out the window. Here, “alpha” means “nurturing.” It means “protector.”
And I can’t tell you how much I love that.
Wolfsong is a book I can’t help but return to again and again because, like This is Us, it’s a story that makes you feel warm and safe and like you belong to something greater than yourself.
3. The Silvered by Tanya Huff
This book pushes all the right buttons for me:
1) A practical, bookish female protagonist who knows more about accounting than fighting.
2) A steampunk setting (plus an airship on the cover! <3)
3) Werewolves that manage to be both realistic–well, as realistic as werewolves can be in a high fantasy story–and sexy.
This is such an underrated book and I need more people to read it!
4. The Wolf’s Hour by Rober McCammon
First of all, please, please ignore the god-awful cover.
Second of all, I’m convinced that Robert McCammon is a chameleon; there’s just no genre he can’t write in. Post-apocalyptic horror? Check. Historical mystery? Yup. A coming-of-age tale with bits of magical realism? You got it. And with The Wolf’s Hour we get a paranormal historical fiction featuring a werewolf Secret Service agent going up against Nazis.
And yes, it’s as awesome and thrilling as it sounds.
5. The Brothers Cabal (Johannes Cabal 3) by Jonathan L. Howard
Now, werecreatures do make an appearance in this book–including one hilarious-looking werebadger–but I’m sticking it under the “blood sucker” column because one of its main characters happens to be a vampire. A really sweet, affable vampire who’s rather ashamed of his vampire nature–the blood-sucking bit, anyway, not the super speed or any of the other cool abilities.
Horst Cabal had the misfortune getting turned when his younger brother Johannes abandoned him in a crypt a decade before. Despite all his trials, though, his disposition remains sunny and you could easily plop him in a coffee shop romance as the leading love interest and not notice anything strange.
I love this series and I especially love this book. It’s a perfect mix of humour, action, and heart-tugging sibling relationships.