Steven E. Wedel,
(Scrybe Press, 2006)

Not since Robert McCammon's The Wolf's Hour have I seen such an excellent approach to the werewolf mythos. Steven E. Wedel's first full-length novel in the Werewolf Saga, Shara, is a brand new take on perhaps one of the oldest staples in horror fiction. Wedel blends traditional werewolf folklore with modern life, creating an amazing novel that goes down like a horror smoothie (now with ginkgo biloba).

Shara is the story of an unhappy, insecure young woman who is given the gift of power. Attached to this power is also the ability to live for centuries, incredible strength and stamina, and a confidence she never knew she had; the only downside is a hellacious menstrual cycle. Shara struggles to find some kind of balance between the woman and the beast, but finds that the more she strives to be normal (whatever that is), the more danger and heartache she puts herself and those around her through. And if this wasn't enough pressure for the poor girl, she also bears the weight of perhaps being the werewolf that prophecies speak of, the werewolf that would lead to the salvation of others like her.

It was obvious from the first couple of pages that Wedel had found his Carrie. Shara is the type of protagonist that the reader automatically falls in love with. From the beginning of the novel when she is a poor, awkward teenager to the times when she is a wild beast leaving destruction in her path, we can't help but identify with her.

Wedel has an amazing gift for creating believable characters. Ulrik, the lycanthrope professor, Bryan, Shara's Pentecostal first husband, and Tony Weismann, Shara's wolf-brother, absolutely come alive on the page.

Shara is a gripping novel, and sets the bar pretty high -- not only for the future novels in the saga, but for all werewolf novels hereafter. Wedel, in my opinion, is single-handedly renovating the werewolf subgenre the way Anne Rice rejuvenated vampires (except without the annoying, moody, pansy-assed characters). Mark my words, this is definitely a book to add to your collection!

by Gregg Winkler
6 January 2007

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