Wherewolves book review by Charity Langley

Wherewolves Review

 

This is the blurb found on Amazon for the book:

 

“KEPT ME ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT. GETS YOUR PULSE POUNDING.” -Author and award winning investigative journalist, Victor Malarek Using a fun, explosive style, full of new slang and fresh dialogue, WHEREWOLVES is the story of a group of high school seniors, most of them “military brats”, who are headed for an army-type survival weekend. “5 stars. It reminded me a bit of Lord of the Flies versus Silver Bullet but only way cooler.” “Chillingly terrifying.” The underdogs, Jeffrey and Doris, do not want to go as they fear for their safety among the disdain and cruelty of the popular students. Sergeant Tim O’Sullivan, their teacher, as well as their dysfunctional parents pressure them into going, but it is an unforgivable act by their peers that propels the pair to go. Likewise, Elie, a student resented because of his Arab roots, is even more determined to prove himself this weekend. In the background, a news report cautions of a wanted couple with alleged super-human strength supposedly brought on by a new drug on the streets. In the woods, the students hike, hunt, camp, and soon act in unity as the forest brings them closer together. But does it? O’Sullivan leaves them alone for the night. The students bond, chant, tell campfire tales, and quickly lose their fears and inhibitions. HOO-AH! Though sexual tensions are high, it soon turns to violence and everything quickly turns sour. When the kids start disappearing one after the other, the remaining begin to unwittingly “act like the natives” carving spears, ready to face whatever is out there. What has gotten into them? Amid blood-curdling growls and gruesome deaths, the story’s underlying layers are revealed. We see how misconceptions, prejudice, greed, fear, and hatred bring out the worst and best in them. What is out there? Can it really be werewolves? “This is one horror novel that will have you thinking long after you’ve finished reading.” Based on the screenplay, WHEREWOLVES, by John Vamvas and Olga Montes “SPARKLING DIALOGUE…THE WRITING IS SENSATIONAL.” -Emmy and Peabody Award winning writer, William Mastrosimone

 

I am reviewing the work I read. The screenplay version might be awesome, but the novel version is a train wreck.

 

I’m going to start off with what I liked:

 

The chapter titles were inventive.

 

The line: “Give me C.C.R., Warren Zevon—her daddy‘s music—or even fucking Duran Duran.” was a great addition to the story. (For those of you who may not get the joke as quickly as I did, see the bottom of this review.) Scott McCalla was also a fun tongue-in-cheek addition.

 

Now with that out of the way, I’d like to admit that there probably is a decent story hidden somewhere in the mess of this half-transitioned screenplay-to-novel disaster.

 

The person, or persons, who edited this for novel format failed miserably. The random use of onomatopoeia had me feeling as though I was reading an old comic book. Stage direction type lines like: “Cora tears open the bag: chicken wings and fries; some of the wings have been bitten into.” are also out of place and majorly distracting.

 

Description was another downfall for this novel. As I read, images from the movie Thankskilling played throughout my head because I couldn’t tell most of the kids apart. This is another place where transition from screenplay to novel absolutely failed.

You can movie a story forward through dialogue alone, but it’s difficult. With this many characters, you would need a mannerism, or particular language, almost every time someone spoke. In the screenplay, this wouldn’t matter because we can actually see the characters, but in a novel, where readers are forming images in their heads based on little squiggly lines on white paper, description is a necessity. The only standout characters in this novel were Dilly, O’Sullivan the teacher, and Doris, the rest were just faceless boys and girls.

 

The high-school cliquiness (for lack of a better word) went on forever. I understand that the authors were trying to help us understand the dynamic between each kid, but there was just so much of it all at once without any description that I kept having to reread sections just to understand what was going on between which groups. All the kids are military brats, many who lost parents to war. More could’ve been done to illustrate how individually affected they were by their parents deaths. Even through rereading, I didn’t realize that one of the characters suffered from such severe PTSD that she was mute until page 146 (digital version). As someone who spent seven years working in a public school system, mostly with special needs and at-risk kids, I’m also not understanding what made this character off limits. Kids are cruel, and they often band together against the weakest among them. So why was Dawn off limits? Did her brother stand up for her? Did the other kids know her before she stopped speaking?

 

The ending was decent, but I saw the major plot twist coming a mile away. Most avid readers will see it too. Based on this I’d have to say that as a screenplay this work might make a pretty average slasher flick, but a lot needs to be done to clean it up as a novel.

 

*CCR = Bad Moon Rising

Warren Zevon = Werewolves of London

Duran Duran = Hungry Like the Wolf

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