Sunday, June 10, 2007

A werewolf tale

Kern is a shapeshifter, sometimes human, sometimes wolf - but always on the run. He doesn't know why he changes, only that he can, and that when people discover the truth about him, he's on the run again. The book opens with Kern fleeing for his life from a feragh, a hellish creature created by the dark magic of a harper. He barely escapes, and his battered, severely injured body is discovered miles downriver by Ainsy, an attractive young innkeeper, and her brother.

Kern becomes friends with Ainsy and her friends and family members, and they invite him to stay for the winter. He is sorely tempted, even though he knows that sooner or later his secret will come out. For the first time in his life, it seems he has a chance of attaining his heart's desire, especially as Ainsy seems to return his feelings. But when word of a harper reaches them, one whose songs are said to be "magically" wonderful, Kern realizes that trouble has followed him once again.

I'm puzzled why my library has categorized this book as a young adult novel. The protagonists are in their twenties, and the first young adult novel de Lint wrote came years later, with The Dreaming Place. Maybe because of its shorter length? It might appeal to young adults, but so would many other fantasy novels.

This book is a departure from de Lint's Newford, urban-fantasy stories. This is set in a rather generic fantasy world, and the story is rather plain and straightforward compared with de Lint's longer, more complex later novels. But the characters spring to life, telling a story that is simple and lyrical as a ballad.

Wolf Moon by Charles de Lint (Firebird, 1988)


  1. I've actually never heard of this de Lint novel. Doesn't sound like it would be one of my favorites of his, but doesn't sound bad either...not really sure if de Lint could write a bad book. Quite a few of his novels are classified as Young Adult..I've yet to read a YA novel of his...the whole YA novel thing just starts to blur these days for me. It's become a genre of it's own.

  2. You are right - it wasn't one of my favorites, either (many of his other books astound me with their richness and creativity), but it was still a good book. And it was funny - when I went to put it on my book list, which I moved to the computer a few years back, I did a search of the title and found that I'd actually read the book before, back when it first came out! So I guess it's not the most memorable one I've read.

    I loved his YA novels - and I agree, YA as a category does seem a bit arbitrary. From what I have observed at my library, it seems that if the characters are teenagers, or even if they aren't but the content could be described as "mature," it goes into YA. We've recently moved quite a few manga series from YA to adult, because the stories involve R-rated scenes, and it is a good way to prevent patrons from objecting to the books.


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