Kalix MacRinnalch is a 17 year old runaway (who happens to LOVE the Runaways and wishes Joan Jett were her mom). She’s clinically depressed, she’s addicted to opiates (laudanum, really), she cuts herself…and she’s a werewolf princess.
Really, Martin Millar’s Lonely Werewolf Girl shouldn’t work. It has an unwieldy cast numbering in the dozens (with almost as many PoVs), the main character is sort of an emo-Mary Sue – she’s got this long gorgeous hair, when she’s not starving herself everyone notices how beautiful she is, she’s the daughter of the Thane [think werewolf king], she was born in wolf form on the night of the full moon while her mother was in wolf form which has given her more-than-average-wolf-strength…you kind of hate her, but can’t help loving her at the same time.
Millar pulled off the cast of eleventy billion quite well in Good Fairies of New York, but I think it’s done even better here. You don’t get a chance to miss anyone because as soon as you think of them, it’s time for them to have another turn. The chapters are short. Ridiculously short (this book is ~500 pages and has over 200 chapters), but having such short chapters causes the book to move incredibly quickly. Think of it as a Guy Ritchie film with werewolves, and you’ll understand what I mean.
[Reading that last sentence, I realize that maybe it won't make sense to some of you. A typical feature of Guy Ritchie films would be several points of view, all of which move at a very fast pace but leave you scratching your head as to how they're all connected until the very end.]
Lonely Werewolf Girl is one of those books that I fall into and end up reading slowly because I just don’t want it to be over. I spent almost a week with this one (which is really slow for me, okay?), and I turned the last page sad that it was over, but happy knowing there was another book waiting for me. I’m reading that one slowly as well, because…
Well, because Millar’s world of Scottish werewolves, fashion espionage, political treason and college relationship drama – all of which are subjects I’d normally avoid like the plague – is so well drawn that it just feels real.
I shouldn’t care about wannabe goth Moonglow and her romantic entanglements.
I shouldn’t care about whether Malveria, Queen of the Hiyasta, will succeed in her quest of being the most fashionable woman in the entire Fire Elemental realm, or if her nemesis Princess Kabachetka will prove successful at stealing Thrix’s (Kalix’s sister – a sorceress and up and coming fashion designer) designs.
I shouldn’t care what will happen between Sarapen (Kalix’s oldest brother, first in line for Thaneship) and Markus (the younger of the elder MacRinnalch brothers, incredibly handsome werewolf crossdresser).
I shouldn’t care whether Dominil will manage to get Butix and Delix (aka Beauty and Delicious) and their band on stage.
But I do.
I can see myself coming back to Lonely Werewolf Girl again and again. Dipping in and taking small sips when I need to laugh or to cry. I can read a few pages and come away with my thirst quenched. A book like this is rare.
For me, anyway.
I hope it’ll be the same for you.