Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
Scottish werewolf Kalix MacRinnalch is trying to make her life better. She’s taking remedial classes at a nearby college and trying to cut back on the violence she does to others and herself. But her plans for self-improvement are interrupted when the Guild of Werewolf Hunters — abetted in their work by Fire Queen Malveria’s deadly enemy — begins to hunt down and murder the members of the werewolf clans. And the werewolves are all:
Well, to start with, I am in favor of this ENORMOUS REVENGE PLOTLINE. The first werewolf killed by the Guild — and it’s sort of Kalix’s fault, although not completely — is Thrix’s teacher and mentor, the werewolf enchantress Minerva. Her death plunges Thrix into a spiral of depression and rage, and she becomes the driving force behind the werewolf clans’ efforts to eradicate the Guild once and for all. In past books, Thrix has been very much a voice of reason, but here she becomes someone who must be reasoned with. It’s a fun switch, and it’ll be interesting to see the fallout from it in the next book.
In other snooty werewolves who are getting into the game, The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf featured a satisfying number of people being impressed with Dominil, Kalix’s frosty, competent cousin who is trying to conceal her own laudanum addiction from the clans. I can never get enough of Dominil getting shit done and not even caring what everyone thinks of her. Although her plans do not fall out exactly as she imagines in this book, she nevertheless gets to do a number of clever and resourceful things in furtherance of werewolf goals. And it’s just nice when someone says “Dominil, can you do X Impossible Thing?” and then goes off in perfect confidence that Dominil will handle it.
A new supernatural wrinkle is added to the supernatural world in the form of Scottish fairies! Hurrah, a new supernatural wrinkle! The werewolves require assistance from the fairies who live in the forests of Scotland, and the fairies are none too pleased that they’ve been neglected so long and only flattered and catered to now that the werewolves want something. There’s a helpful fairy queen as well as an extremely unhelpful fairy called Teinn who poisons the minds of the werewolf clans against their Thane. It’ll be fun to see what Teinn gets to do from here on out, as at the end of the book she heads for London to make mischief there.
On the down side, I discovered that I’ve stopped caring about Daniel and Moonglow. Or to be more accurate, I’ve stopped caring about whether they date or not, and the question of whether they were going to date or not was pretty much the only thing either of them had going on in this book. They’re more sort of satellites orbiting Kalix and Vex. It’s okay for now, I guess, but in the next book I’d like to see them working to achieve goals of their own (school goals? work goals? anything is fine, really). My utterly favorite thing about Martin Millar (this may be in conflict with some other thing I’ve said in the past is my favorite thing about Martin Millar, but who are you, the Continuity Police? Favorite things change! Shut up!) is the way he places the magical side-by-side with the utterly banal.
Cover report: Are cover reports making me a crankier person? Surely there are covers in this world that I admire? Anyway, neither of these covers pleases me. I dislike the American one less actually, but I’m angry with it for depicting Kalix with fair hair. She has dark hair. The book says it like twelve hundred times. British cover wins on a technicality.
Edit to add: Mumsy has pointed out that the British cover uses the exact same cover photo as If I Stay. So never mind. Nobody wins. Everyone loses.