Wolfsong, by Tj Klune
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 20, 2016
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.
Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.
Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.
Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.
It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.
This book is incredible. You should go buy it right now, because it will blow you away. That’s it, that’s the review.
Okay, but really. I read this book when I was in the middle of a very rough emotional period, and curling up in bed with this story about heartbreak and love and revenge and magic helped me take my mind off of the things that were troubling me. Furthermore, it made me smile and hope and cry, and I needed all of those things.
Osmund looked at me, head tilted. “Just who are you?”
“I’m Ox,” I said. “Just Ox. That’s all.”
But this book. This book. Tj is really best known for his humorous works, but this one is dark and angsty while also being equally beautiful and romantic. It’s about two boys who meet at ages 10 and 15 and grow up together, and it talks about what love is as children and as adults, and about family and memory. Despite all the talk about darkness and angst, though, I felt like most of this book was about hope, belonging, and love.
I do think the writing style might be difficult for some readers, depending on your personal preference. It’s very winding at times, nonlinear, memories overlapping the present. Ox’s narration is beautiful, but he’s also a very simple person, and his thoughts reflect that. He’s not dumb by any means, but Ox’s world is much simpler than most people’s, and I love how unique his voice was.
I sat in the cafeteria. It was loud. I couldn’t concentrate. My head hurt.
A guy named Clint walked by my table with his friends.
I was by myself.
He said, “Fucking retard.”
His friends laughed.
I got up and saw the look of fear in his eyes. I was bigger than him.
I turned and left, because my mom said I couldn’t get in fights anymore.
Clint said something behind me and his friends laughed again.
I told myself that when I got friends, we wouldn’t be mean like they were.
No one bothered me when I sat outside. It was almost nice. My sandwich was good.
This is not your typical werewolf novel. There are so many other things at play here: the meaning of family; friendship and the way it forms and deepens; responsibility and defying fate to become a leader. The magic is important, but it’s the human characters like Ox and his mother and friends, who are at the heart of the story.
Yes, this novel is long. It’s Tj Klune, so this shouldn’t surprise you. I think I’ve said this before, but Tj is pretty much the only author that can have me reading a 400+ page novel in one sitting.
I’m giving this novel 5 stars with absolutely no hesitation. If you’re interested in reading a gorgeous, long romance with some paranormal/shifters, lots of darkness, and a winding thread of hope and love, then you need to read this book immediately. (For those of you looking for a novel with tons of sex, this is not it; the characters are underage for much of the book, but the emotional bond between them is more satisfying than any erotic scene you might hope to read!)
When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write.
He lives with a neurotic cat in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. It’s hot there, but he doesn’t mind. He dreams about one day standing at Stonehenge, just so he can say he did.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.