Saturday, June 30, 2007

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Title: Blood and Chocolate
Author: Annette Curtis Klause

ISBN # 0613228367

Publisher: Laurel-Leaf Books

First Published: 1997

264 pages

Format: Hardback

Rating: 6/10

Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of
Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf?

Then Vivian falls in love with a human, a meat-boy. Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He's fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would?

Vivian's divided loyalties are strained further when a brutal murder threatens to expose the pack. Moving between two worlds, she does not seem to belong in either. What is she really - human or beast? Which tastes sweeter - blood or chocolate?

This wasn't at all bad, but, at the same time, wasn't quite what I was expecting (although I'm not quite sure what it was I was actually expecting). There are some nice ideas here and a few brief mentions of the name loups-garoux, (pronounced loo garoo - French for were-wolf), but I would have liked the author to delve further into the legends in this case, as it felt almost tagged-on to have them referred to in this way.

The plot isn't really anything that hasn't been explored previously (and to better effect), but the characters are sympathetically drawn and there are a small handful of them who are fleshed out beyond being pale, two-dimensional caricatures, although there seem to be an entire cast of extras who were brought in just to fill out the crowd scenes and are needlessly named and given one or two lines of dialogue that could have just as easily been distributed between those more established.

It all felt rather inevitable and didn't really hold any surprises, but was a pleasant enough read. However, it really did feel like it was aimed at the younger end of the youth market, and could easily have stood being made a touch darker and more dangerous.


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