REVIEW: Hungry Like a Wolf by Christine Warren
Dear Christine Warren:
Logan is restless. His best friend just mated with a human. He’s feeling resentment toward his alpha, a man as close as a brother. Because his alpha has what Logan wants – his own pack and a stunning mate. Conveniently so that Logan doesn’t have to fight his brother for dominance, The White Paw Clan in Connecticut has lost its alpha to cancer.
I wish that there had been more in the story about Logan’s struggle for power within his own clan. His wolf is rising up and wants to challenge Graham, the regional alpha. It was the internal fight between Logan’s humanity that sought to hold onto his bonds of brotherhood and friendship and his wolf who sought power and dominance that was so interesting in the beginning.
But situation with the White Paw Clan was interesting because Honor, the daughter of the old alpha, becomes the alpha in fact. Female pack members are smaller and it is commonly known that physiologically they cannot compete in alpha challenges, yet Honor is not only meeting her challenges but defeating them.
I liked the unsentimentality of the pack challenges. Honor was challenged by one of her close friends and she had to maim him. I would have liked to have seen her kill him. Not because I’m so bloodthirsty but because I felt like her giving her opponent grace showed weakness. Her dad, for example, would have killed the challengers. And indeed, her failure to kill her challenger becomes problematic later in the story. Logan also notes that the unwillingness to kill her challengers was viewed as a weakness by her pack and every other outsider.
I was also frustrated with Logan’s interference with Honor’s rule over her pack, ordering her pack while ostensibly measuring her suitability to remain the alpha of the White Paw Clan. Every time he spoke up and gave directives in front of Honor he was diminishing her already precarious standing. To a great extent this is a story about how a female can rule in a man’s world and the balancing of Honor’s desire to lead the pack and Logan’s desire for his own pack was a great emotional conflict. But Logan isn’t an enlightened male. He is off spouting mine, mine, with twenty four hours of meeting Honor. He didn’t stand and observe. He ordered and took charge so the scenes always came off as if Logan was allowing Honor to be alpha instead of having the power and ability in her own right.
I wasn’t super enthusiastic about how the conflict was resolved but I appreciated that the subject was tackled at all.
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this series. It’s not a serious book and there are some cringe worthy lines “Logan, you need to learn that whether she’s a werewolf, a shapeshifter, a witch, or a human, women are women. They all need to be fl attered and coddled and made to feel special.” I wished the feminist issues were tackled better. But overall, it was a pleasant read about clan politics which are a favorite part of a shapeshifter read for me. Nothing too earth shattering but sometimes that’s just the right thing at the moment. C+
Uh, you might want change the tag from “A” to reflect the grade you gave it. I usually don’t waste my time w/ c reviews because, well because I don’t like wasting my time. I read the review and was puzzled -seemed like the crappiest A review ever, until I got to the final grade and the review made sense.
Is this an A review (tag) or a C+ (body review grade)?
I remember reading this when it first came out, I’m on the fence about buying it again – the re release of the jaguar/witch book was worth it because it smoothed out the writing, clarified the consent issues and improved the rather sudden ending. But this one I’m not so sure, because the issues you identify annoyed me in the original and I’ve become even less tolerant of gender essentialism as a trope in the meantime. H’mmm.
@mari – whoops. sorry about that. the default grade is an A and I forgot to change it.
@FD – it was weird because I felt that the author wanted to have a sort of inversion of gender essentialism and I do think paranormals are a perfect place for that but instead it was kind of “what a girl can do within the confines of the pack so long as there are stronger folks standing beside/behind her.”
@Jane: Mmmm. I remember in the original, where the heroine was ambivalent about being alpha but had stepped up anyway, thinking actually that would be a pretty cool riff on the alpha theme, if only the author had kept the ambivalence in the heroine’s head (which, we were looking right into it due to the pov used, so there was no reason that it couldn’t have been) instead of her actions, because the way it was written it made her incompetent instead of ambivalent. And that pulled the heart out from under the theme and it ended up with a mish mash of bio determinism and magic alpha peen instead of interesting. Of course, it would have been better still from my pov to have her end up as alpha after all, but that would have been a different book! I kinda feel she did neither character’s arc justice the way it end up and it doesn’t sound like that issue is fixed in the re release.
@FD: She is a reluctant alpha but I felt her reluctance stemmed from her queasiness to do harm to her pack mates which on some level was admirable but since violence was the only thing that the pack understood, I felt it made her look weak.
@Jane: That actually sounds like a change for the worse – in the original it read like the maim instead of kill bit was because she was just doing the minimum to keep the pack stable, not because she was squeamish.
The more I think about it, the more the gender essentialism bit bothers me here – it’s just so unnecessary to the story, and even the wider setting.
Thanks for taking the time to discuss, I think I’ll wait and see if the library gets this one.
@FD: The pack is constantly challenging her. Do you remember the Alpha Mating Rite? That’s how the story is resolved.
Sorry, stupid question here from novice feminist – is “gender essentialism” like: “all women cook and clean and like flowers and coddling and all men are mow lawns and fix things and don’t talk about their feelings and never the twain shall meet”? Or am I missing the point?
@Kaetrin: Pretty much. I mean, exactly what characteristics are essential to each gender vary from person to person, but basically gender essentialism states “women are like [x] and men are like [y], and any exception is anomalous and proves nothing.”