Electronic ISBN(s): 9781419909580
Imagine a world in which supernaturals, the creatures of myths, fairy tales and horror stories, exist unnoticed in the modern United States. Werewolves, vampires, gods and assorted others go to shopping malls and nightclubs. These supernaturals gain knowledge and power by exchanging bodily fluids - through sex and blood. The paranormal is combined with sexually explicit material.
Kris, the heroine, wakes up on her fortieth birthday. She has a satisfactory professional life designing jewelry. She inherited a splendid house and several acres of land from an eccentric uncle. (Andel lovingly describes the house; I want that house.) One part of Kris's life is unsatisfactory. She wants a permanent male partner and there's no candidate for the position. She has two immediate problems. The first is her birthday dinner. Her mother has planned a family dinner and Kris is expected to attend, on time. Her second problem is lack of sex. It's been a year since she had sex with anyone. She decides to hit the bars after the family dinner and bring someone home. Who knows? Mr. Available might turn out to be Mr. Right. If not, well, a one-night stand is better than nothing.
Kris mentions that she is ordinary except for two things. As a child, she was hit by a car while unicycling. The unicycle was destroyed, but she ended up with nothing but a few scratches. She also has a regenerating hymen. If she goes without sex for more than about six months, it re-grows. Kris wonders if these are family traits; Kris was adopted at the age of two, and has no information about her biological family. She is very unlike the family that adopted her.
Kris dresses for a combined family dinner and bar trawl; not an easy fashion combination. (Andel loves describing clothes as well as houses. Now the sweater Kris chooses sounds good - it emphasizes cleavage and conceals love handles. The shoes? No. Think, Andel, those beautiful wooden floors - just imagine what stiletto heels would do to the floors, not to mention your feet.)
Across from her adopted parents' condo, Kris realizes she has no condoms. She goes into a drug store to buy some and notices a sexy male hunk. (Andel enjoys describing sexy male hunks. They are of varying heights and colors. They all have broad shoulders, narrow hips and truly impressive genitalia.) Sexy male hunk is also noticing Kris. Kris, good girl that she is, ignores sexy male hunk and crosses the street to the family party.
Kris is hit by a truck and goes flying into a bramble patch. Sexy male hunk pulls her out of the bramble patch. His name is Dade and he insists on going to the birthday dinner with her. Dade copes well with her ordinary dysfunctional family: spoiled children, pompous males, and dissatisfied women.
Kris takes Dade home. He tells her he has a lot to tell her, bur first things first. They spend the night having sex, surprising Kris with how frequently and consistently he is up for it. In the morning, he informs her that he is a werewolf. He tells her that she, too, is a supernatural--the name the assorted kinds of creatures call themselves. Supernaturals heal quickly; they can be killed, but are generally immortal.
He finds it strange that she was adopted; supernaturals rarely reproduce, and he'd never heard of one giving a child to the non-supernatural world. It must have been for her protection. He points out that the truck that hit her the day before did so intentionally; probably to make sure that she was the supernatural they were looking for. She is in danger.
Dade and Kris had had sex; now they needed to share blood during sex. This would hide her scent from those tracking her. Dade wants her to be his mate - a permanent, binding, monogamous relationship among werewolves. But first they need to leave her house. He takes her hand and, magically, they are transported to the kitchen of Nina the Witch. Albert, a Hunter, is summoned.
Dade asks Albert's advice. Albert (a seven foot tall sexy male hunk) says Kris should have sex with three other supernaturals; a vampire, a magic user, and a hunter. He, himself, will be the hunter.
This takes us to page twenty-four. The rest of the book consists of Kris learning who she is, how to use her power and adjusting to the supernatural world.
Her Werewolf has some likable characters; Kris is self-depreciating, with a sense of humor. Dade tells Kris that he is a wolf that can turn into a man - not a human being that can turn into a wolf. Andel makes the distinction quite clear. Her 'aliens' are alien. She does more than sketch in her gothic world; the werewolf pack, and Dade are particularly well developed. One of the best tests of the skill in developing a fantasy or SF contest is whether the reader would want to return to it. I'd love to read a sequel to Her Werewolf
Andel's fairly brief descriptions of the mundane world, and Kris's human family, are equally successful. It's a skewed picture of a dysfunctional family, more caricatures than characters, but it's funny and it works. The contrast between the very open sexuality of the supernaturals and her adopted family's prudishness -- at least on the surface -- allow some funny scenes between Dade and the family. Dade tells Kris's family he works in the family business, manufacturing sex toys. The males in the family take him aside to place special orders.
The erotic element of the book is the least successful. The book is an Ellora's Cave Romantica Publication, specializing in 'graphic sexual content meant for mature readers.' Her Werewolf is rated E, the second in three rankings in the series - some material might be considered objectionable by some readers, and the love scenes are 'high in volume per the overall word count.'
I found the ratio of love scenes to other scenes a little too high. Ultimately, the descriptions of sex became repetitive and a little boring. Laurell K. Hamilton, in the Meredith Gentry series, manages to create erotic, sexually explicit love scenes that fill a book. But Meredith Gentry (or Hamilton) has no sense of humor. Kris (or Andel) does.
If you enjoy urban fantasy, the sort of thing that Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison and Laurell K. Hamilton write, you might try Her Werewolf. Andel creates equally interesting characters and situations.
Reviewed by Wenonah Lyon
© May 2007