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Blood and Chocolate
Annette Curtis Klause
Delacourte Press, 272 pages

Blood and Chocolate
Annette Curtis Klause
Annette Curtis Klause attributes her interest in vampires, werewolves, and the like to the times as a child that her father told her the plots of old horror films. When not writing, she is head of children's services at a public library. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their cats.

BDD: Blood and Chocolate
Werewolf Lore

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lela Olszewski

Annette Curtis Klause has written a poignant novel about love, sex and the complexity of relationships that relies not on conventional romantic formulas, but rather illuminates the interplay between sexuality, honesty, and love. Vivian Gandillon is sixteen--and a werewolf. Forced to move to the city when her home is attacked by arsonists, Vivian faces a difficult transition, coping with a new high school, grief about her father's death and the increasing disintegration of the werewolf pack. She is also frightened by the proprietary sexual interest of her packmates, a group of ungoverned teen wolves, the Five. Disgusted by the Five's increasing disregard for human life and unable to cope with her mother's interest in a new partner, she longs for things to be simple and gentle.

When she meets Aiden, a "meat-boy," he seems the perfect outlet for her rebellion. Most of the male werewolves ride motorcycles: he drives a VW. They listen to hard rock and spend their time drinking and causing trouble. He listens to alternative music, reads Witchcraft for Tomorrow, and is her entree into a clique of "normal" kids. What Vivian dreams of is that he will love her totally, that he will love all of her--including the werewolf inside her.

She imagined the look of wonder on his face as she changed before his eyes. He might even be a little frightened at first, but he loved her, didn't he? She could see it in his eyes. He would know that she'd never mean him harm. He loved her and she loved him. She shivered with excitement. She had never put those feelings into words before. I want to share my life with someone I care about, she thought. What gives them the right to tell me who to love?
Showing a partner the stranger inside is one of the greatest risks a lover can take, and the risk is all the greater for teens still bound by the iron bands of peer pressure.

The surprise of Blood and Chocolate is that Klause has the courage to go beyond the expected resolutions of Vivian's problems, She resolves the novel's various conflicts in ways that are true to the nature of the werewolves she has created, but also remains true to the nature of teenagers. She does this by never simplifying the complexity of the teens she portrays, nor does she stereotype or simplify the adults in the book. Some readers may be bothered by the werewolves' acceptance as Vivian as an adult ready to mate (particularly that one of her suitors is eight years older), but this is the way of the loup-garou, not the way of humankind.

This book will appeal to both horror readers and romance readers, but it is neither. It reminds me most of Sheri Scotch's werewolf series (Werewolf's Kiss, Werewolf's Touch, etc.), but without the S&M overtones of parts of that series. Cliff Nielsen's cover perfectly captures the essence of the book, with it's intertwined elements of beauty, sensuality, and the uncanny. Krause leaves an opening for another novel, so maybe we'll find out what happens to the pack, and to Vivian as she continues to mature.

Copyright © 1997 by Lela Olszewski

Lela Olszewski is an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery and romance, as well as an eclectic mix of other fiction and non-fiction. She is also a librarian with an interest in readers' advisory, and believes fully in Rosenberg's Law: Never apologize for your reading tastes. She has no cats.

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