Wednesday, 18 July 2012

"Talulla Rising," by Glen Duncan

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Stuff and Nonsense by Amy Cockram is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

 I enjoyed reading Glen Duncan's "The Last Werewolf" so I was happy to get hold of the sequel, "Talulla Rising," from the library.

In setting up the start of "Talulla Rising" in the next paragraph, I will give away a bit of the end of the first novel.  If you have not yet read "The Last Werewolf" but think that you might, I suggest that you skip the next paragraph if you want to avoid a spoiler.

At the end of "The Last Werewolf," Talulla's lover, Jake (also a werewolf), has been killed and Talulla has just found out that she is pregnant (which she had thought to be impossible).  The sequel starts as Talulla is in hiding from WOCOP (World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena), and has acquired an unlikely birthing partner in the figure of Cloquet (who had tried to kill Jake in the first book).  The birth is a catalyst for a quest during which Talulla acquires both new allies - including a new lover - and new enemies, and werewolf once again clashes with both humans and vampires.

I think I might actually have preferred this book to the first although, from other opinions that I have heard, I might be in the minority on this.  I liked Jake's voice in the first book - and I know others have said how much they miss him - but I liked the new character of Walker, and I also enjoyed Talulla's voice.  It has started me thinking more about how effective it is  - or isn't - when an author adopts the persona of someone of the opposite sex.  Does it make a difference to the way I read something?  Certainly in this novel I sometimes found myself taking a mental step back - particularly when he was writing about experiences such as childbirth that are specific to the female body - and remembering the male author behind the character.  I don't think it is a fault of his writing; if anything, I was most aware of it when I felt he wrote something particularly effectively.  This is a reaction that is very personal to me and, now that I have become aware of my reaction, it will be interesting to think through that response in my future reading.  Why should it feel any different to me than, say, an author who has never killed writing in the persona of a murderer?  Both are acts of imagination. I suspect the answer to this should be that it isn't any different.

Aside from the fact that I struggled with an aspect of the internal logic to this novel, which I wrote about here, I am still enjoying this series of novels and am looking forward to the last in the trilogy.  I found myself being torn in two one night, because I felt tired and very badly wanted to go to sleep and yet I just as badly wanted to read on.  I don't think that there is a greater compliment than that to a book or author.

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