Friday, October 22, 2010

First Chapter Challenge (3): Werewolf Edition

So, I noticed I have a bunch of books featuring wolves/werewolves/shapeshifter wolves, and since I highly doubt I am going to read more than one of them, it’s the perfect opportunity for a First Chapter Challenge! Basically, I read the summary and first chapter of each book and decide which one(s) I want to continue reading.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel (Penguin)
Release date: Hardcover October 2010
Where I got it: It’s one of the Penguin Five which I received (unsolicited) for review
One sentence summary: Calla Tor is destined to become the mate of alpha wolf Ren Laroche until she saves the life of a human boy and puts herself in jeopardy with her pack.
First sentence: I’d always welcomed war, but in battle my passion rose unbidden.
First chapter review: The first chapter is a 6 page action scene featuring Calla rescuing a sexy hiker from a bear attack. We see her both as a wolf and a human and we see how she acts around one of her subordinate pack members. The central plot is set up well – we can see her attraction to the boy she saves as well as her longing for a different sort of life, but also her resignation to her fate. The scene is brutal, but compelling and definitely makes me want to learn more about Calla.
Verdict: Definitely on the shortlist for a full read, even though it is the first book in a series.
Cover comments: Shows one eye only – must be a werewolf! The model looks very cold, but the effect is softened by the flowers. Until you see the blood.

Dust City by Robert Paul Weston
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Release date: Hardcover September 30, 2010
Where I got it: Sent (unsolicited) for review
One sentence summary: Henry Whelp discovers that his father, The Big Bad Wolf, may have been framed for the murder of Little Red Riding Hood.
First sentences: Once upon a time, fairydust came from where you’d expect. From fairies.
First chapter review: Before the first chapter, there is also a prologue that talks about Dust City – a place that used to be filled with fairy magic and now is just full of manufactured fairy dust. The first chapter introduces us to Henry, who is hanging out at the St. Remus Home for Wayward Youth when a fight breaks out between some other wolves, one of which was trying to hide a letter. We are also introduced to Henry’s friend Jack (of Beanstock fame). I didn’t really get a sense of Henry’s character at all or where the story is going, and I didn’t find the fight at all compelling. 
Verdict: The premise seems like it could be fun, but this promise is kinda ruined for me by the dud first chapter.
Cover comments: You know he’s an actual wolf because you see both wolfy eyes! The cover makes it look like a very gritty story, possibly with a lot of violence. Hey, there was a fight in the first chapter, so the cover seems apt.

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Egmont
Release date: Hardcover June 2010
Where I got it: Bought it at The Strand when I was in NYC for BEA
One sentence summary: After her parents were killed by werewolves, human Bryn was adopted by the alpha of the pack but begins to question his ways when she finds a teen locked in a cage.
First sentences: "Bronwyn Alessia St. Vincent Clare!" Four names, five words, one pissed-off werewolf. The math in this particular equation never came out in my favor.
First chapter review: The first chapter is a conversation between Bryn and her guardian Callum, the alpha of a werewolf pack. I really liked how well we already get to know Bryn and her complex feelings towards Callum in this scene. She has an easy, wry tone and a rebellious attitude. You can tell it will be hard for her to defy Callum, when it inevitably comes to that, both because he’s very powerful and also because she does have some genuine affection for him. I feel I will like spending time with Bryn.
Verdict: Is the one out of the four that I am most likely to give a full read based on first chapter alone.
Cover comments: Looks like a fairly typical paranormal cover.  We know she's human, though we can only see one eye due to her pose.  Maybe she has werewolf secret to uncover?!

The Frenzy by Francesca Lia Block
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: Hardcover September 28, 2010
Where I got it: Sent (unsolicited) for review
One sentence summary: Teenage Liv may be a werewolf.
First sentence: At some point in everyone’s life they ask the question, “Who am I?”
First chapter review: Liv remembers her thirteenth birthday, the day she got her period for the first time and attacked her mother for killing a wolf. Now she’s 17 and knows she’s different, but tries to blend in all the same. I liked the contrast between wild Liv and her perfect mother, and am definitely curious how that might play out through the rest of the story. More so in fact than finding out if Liv is really a werewolf or not. The writing is nice – straightforward and dreamlike at the same time. Still, it didn’t really hook me, though I’d be willing to give it a few more chapters to do so.
Verdict: I have to admit I'm a bit biased about this title after reading a lot of bad reviews.  Probably won't continue. There are too many other books I am dying to read!
Cover comments: Only one eye showing – she MUST be a werewolf! I love the striking green eye/red hair combo.

So which book do YOU think I should finish reading?


Miss Bookiverse said...

I didn't even know Frenzy was about werewolves :O What's your verdict on it?

Dust City sounds the most interesting to me.

Miss Bookiverse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lenore Appelhans said...

Thanks for catching that, MB. I added my verdict in :)

Miss Bookiverse said...

You're welcome :)
A shame Frenzy seems to be such a disappointment, I love the cover.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Yes, the cover is my favorite of the four. I think I'd rather check out one of Francesca's other books, which have gotten much better reviews.

Miss Bookiverse said...

Oh my, I thought she was a debut author but I just realized she has basically written TONS of books :O (none as pretty as Frenzy though ;)

My Life With Books - Jennifer K Jovus said...

I have only read Nightshade and Raised by Wolves. Nightshade has been my fave of the year so I recommend it. Raised by wolves is very good too - I would not read frenzy, doesn't sound that great.


Zibilee said...

I read a really good review of Nightshade over at Amy's site, so I vote for that one. I want to read it too!

Amy said...

I read only Frenzy and I don't recommend it. I personally would choose Nightshade out of of those...I hope I can get to it soon!

Once Upon a Twilight said...

Nightshade is the book to read! I just read it in less than 24 hrs.

Yara @ Once Upon a Twilight!

Sab H. said...

NIGHTSHADE!! I've heard awesome things!

Kathy Martin said...

I'm reading Nightshade right now and enjoying it. I also read Raised by Wolves and enjoyed it. I'm not a fan of Block's other books. So I haven't paid much attention to Frenzy. Now that I know it is a werewolf book I might give it another look.

John The Bookworm said...

I have only read one, but I've heard Nightshade was good, if a bit commercial ( like every other paranormal majorness - but not a Twilight copycat )

I DID read Raised by Wolves, and I have to say, it's the one that sounds the best and, IMO, is the best in terms of things. It has the BEST take on pack mentality that is absolutely stunning, there are scenes that will break you force you to keep moving with the protagonist. The characters are three dimension, the conflicts and issues numerous and well crafted, and it was probably one of my best reads this year.

It is NOT the average paranormal read by any means.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Amy - I vividly remember your review of The Frenzy. I had it in mind while I was reading!

Lots of people loving Nightshade!

John - That's the sense I got from the first chapter, so it's nice to know that's carried through the whole novel.

Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) said...

This is a really good post. I love the first chapter review idea! There seriously are hoards of werewolves books coming out and it's hard to decide which to read. I do have Nightshade and Raised by Wolves, and I'm definitely intrigues by both....finding time to read them is the challenge!

Anonymous said...

I haven't read any of these -- but am definitely intrigued by NIGHTSHADE, although RAISED BY WOLVES is definitely a contender!

MyLibraryCardWoreOut said...

Oh my goodness. This is such a good idea. And i read Nightshade and I LOVED the book. It was amazing. You have to read it and I hope another book comes out soon. I want to read more. Great book and a must read.

Christy said...

I haven't read or really heard much about any of these books except what you put in your post. From your post, I am most intrigued by Nightshade.

Anonymous said...

I really love this format of "reviewing"! Of all of them, I think Nightshade interests me most. It didn't initially appeal to me (I'm not a big fan of the cover), but I've read so many glowing reviews that I'm willing to give it a shot.

Unknown said...

I recently finished NIGHTSHADE--I think it probably is one that you would like, judging by other books you've liked. It does end on a cliffhanger, though...but it's a "smart" book, if that makes sense--one that raises a lot of moral questions and keeps you thinking, which I enjoyed.

I *just* got Dust City, and love the premise.

Ben Langhinrichs said...

I like the premise of Dust City, but I think Raised by Wolves sounds the most promising and intriguing.

Michelle said...

I've not read any of these but have heard excellent things about both Nightshad and Raised by Wolves. Nightshade seems to be all over the place though so if you're looking for a read that is'nt as popular I'd go Raised by Wolves.

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

I'm going to have to vote for Dust City :) I hear it's incredible, and it's chilling on my TBR pile just waiting to be read!

I'm a new follower, by the your blog!

Jodie said...

Raised by Wolves - everyone is raving about it and I actually bought it just based on that cover. Typical pick, but I liked the blue instead of black colouring.

I love that you spotted such a weird cover trend :)