Title: The Worst Werewolf
Author: Jacqueline Rohrbach
Publisher: NineStar Press
Length: 150 Pages
Category: Paranormal, Literary/Genre Fiction
At a Glance: Read this if you are a diehard werewolf fan (the monster kind).
Reviewed By: Ben
Blurb: The werewolf said, “Race you to the road.” It was the last thing Tovin heard before his life became uncomfortably complex.
Before that night in the forest, Tovin was the type of guy to play it safe. Happy wearing the same shoes, buying the same deodorant, and eating the same meals day after day, he thought his simple existence was pretty great. At least until his boyfriend dumps him for being boring. Heartbroken but on a mission of vengeance, Tovin decides to start a new life filled with excitement, danger, and maybe a meal from a questionable food truck.
A date with Garvey would start it all. Handsome, sophisticated, the man is everything Tovin thinks he needs. It’s a pity he turns out to be a werewolf on a mission to save his pack from destruction.
Now Tovin is caught up in Garvey’s world.
Abducted and forced to be the bloodservant of a powerful Alpha, he lands right in the middle of a brewing conflict that threatens to destroy humanity.
Review: The voice in this piece was fantastic, specifically Garvey’s, a desperate half-breed werewolf. He’s a self-proclaimed monster who desires nothing more in life than to fall in lust with, chase, and eat his prey. It’s a sort of simple existence I think most humans can relate to on a primal level. Most animals enjoy eating, and Garvey seems to relish in the hunt. Some may call it sadism, but I’ve seen cats play with birds before they eat them. I will admit the outlook looks rather bleak when you’re the bird….
A sizable amount of this story was also spent on a main character not mentioned the blurb, specifically a sort of Liberace-style alpha werewolf named Lavario, who was rather pathetically lonely (things quickly become not good for him). He’s also the ‘worst werewolf’ the title refers to, so it’s doubly interesting he’s not mentioned. I do have suspicions there will be more than one worst werewolf in this series, but that’s just a guess.
Another intriguing aspect of this novel was the worldbuilding. Humans live in their own world, oblivious to monsters, except for those that are taken to eat, or, in Tovin’s case, enslaved as pets. The justification of monsters taking humans as pets unnervingly parallels the human justification for keeping animals as pets and eating them as food. It was rather fascinating.
Despite my great fun with Garvey’s voice and a few thinky thoughts, I did have some glaring problems with the story. The blurb and tags led me to believe this was a dark paranormal, with a relationship between Garvey and Tovin. There isn’t. There isn’t a romance, or even the threads of what we could possibly jumble into a romance. Furthermore, even though quite a few of our characters seem to be on the rainbow spectrum somewhere, none of that had any bearing on the story whatsoever. You could have made them all straight, and it wouldn’t have made a difference. Honestly, I’m not sure what to think of that. On one hand, I’m always saying characters don’t need to show they’re gay to be gay, but on the other, I’m a bit bemused as to what this story is actually about.
Additionally, this isn’t really a dark paranormal so much as horror. And there’s a cliffhanger. The cliffhanger really drives the nail into the coffin as far as genre goes, and I was more than a little miffed that horror wasn’t called out in the genre tags, because it should have been. Not because I don’t like horror, because I do, but because it totally changes the tone and expectations.
Between starting off in Garvey’s head, and then rapidly switching into Lavario’s and Tovin’s, the pace of the plot was slowed down enough to where we don’t actually get to the point where the blurb starts until much later. Not only that, but the fact that we don’t have a complete character arc for at least Lovario or Tovin by the end of the novel bothered me quite a bit.
There were so many pacing and plotting issues it’s hard for me to recommend this work by itself. The fantastic voice of Garvey and the feeble hope I had for Lavario were really the only things keeping me invested, but I’m going to need something more if I’m going to read on. I wish I would have waited until the series was finished. I feel as if 100% of my issues could have been avoided. I would have bought the bundle! Or, putting two books together to make a longer book would have been sufficient, even if the price went up a bit because of it. I’m desperately hoping this isn’t going to be one of those protracted series where we are stuck with cliffhanger after cliffhanger, but I’m not holding my breath. Oh well. You’ve been suitably warned, and then some.
Read this if you are a diehard werewolf fan (the murderous kind), if you want a glimpse of unique voice and worldbuilding in the paranormal horror genre, or when the series is finished.
You can buy The Worst Werewolf here: