Way of the Wolf

Genre: Science Fiction

This first book of the Vampire Earth series by E.E. Knight follows the story of David Valentine, a newly promoted Lieutenant in an army fighting to save the Earth from a race of vampiric creatures which have forced the human race to near extinction. Though entertaining and a pretty good read, once this book was over, it was over.

David Valentine grew up in a small village in Minnesota. When he was eleven, his family was killed by the Quisling guard, a group who has decided to help the Kurians (the vampires) control the Earth. After this event, David lives with the local priest, Father Max. When he turns of age, he leaves his home town to join a group of soldiers who have devoted themselves to fighting against the Kurians to save the human race.

This book has a lot going on. The reader is bombarded by a slew of terms and cultural norms that she has to quickly learn to navigate and place in a world that is far from familiar. This is a common practice in sci-fi, so for those of us used to reading it, it’s doesn’t take too long to get situated. However, I could see this being a bit overwhelming for people unfamiliar with the genre.

The main character, Valentine, is likable enough, but I never really felt like I could connect with him. I like to be able to sympathize with characters and place myself in their shoes. I had a hard time doing this with Valentine. I felt this character was a bit aloof and hard to relate to.

One of the things that irritated me the most about this book was something that I attribute to sloppiness on the part of the author and the editors. The book begins mid-action, then in the second chapter, backpedals four years to show us where it all began. I have nothing wrong with this format in general, but this is what got me: I reached the last few chapters and suddenly realized that I was further in time than the opening scene. This was a scene that was never resolved or completed, and the only reason I knew that I had passed that moment in the character’s timeline is because I thought to myself, “Gee, I wonder when we’re going to get back to that,” flipped to the first chapter to see the date on it, and realized the main character was already several months past that event. I didn’t like the fact that I was left without an explanation or even a nod to the fact that we had moved past the time of this opening scene.

All this said, my opinion of Way of the Wolf might not be in alignment with the norm. My quick run by Wikipedia while creating this post revealed that the Vampire Earth series has spawned a total of 10 books. So somebody’s reading them. And it’s not that I would be adverse to reading more about this world, but when I returned my book to the library, I didn’t immediately check to see if they had volume two in stock.

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