May 15th, 2013

Book with cat 2

Book #24: Tamed

Book #24: Tamed by Douglas R. Brown
(Book received for free from Rhemalda Publishing for review.)

Let's talk about the good points first:

I love werewolf books. I love werewolf books that raise other issues. The plot of Tamed raised many, many interesting ethical questions in my mind.

First chapter: business man has an idea. He travels to a (lost? hidden?) tribe of werewolves, has his men kill off most of them, and bring one to the states. From that one, he starts a business making the most expensive, impressive pets ever: werepets. They look like traditional werewolves, but the company explains that they only share the shape, they're actually just dumb animals. They never transform to any other shape other than the werewolf one, after all.

So, knowing that much, I had so many questions and so much love for the plot. They are in fact people, we learn that in the first chapter, so how do the company employees cope with the fact they're selling people into what's basically slavery? How do the werewolf-people cope, being stuck in that position? How does the company keep them from changing? Don't any owners ever suspect their pets are more than animals (since there are other ways to communicate besides talking)? What would happen if owners found out they were people, would they want to give their beloved pets up? Would they treat them better? worse?

The bad part: Unfortunately we don't find out any of those answers (other than the changing one, which we're told how it works but it's not explained further than "a computer chip in their neck keeps them from shifting"). While the idea of the plot is very, very interesting, unfortunately the author isn't very good. He's not horrible, and happily his grammar is fine and he knows how to use a semicolon, but other than the technical aspects of writing? Sadly he falls short.

It took me a few pages to put my finger on the worst part of his writing, then I got to this section and it was made clear:

The car rocked slightly as the sweaty, overweight chauffeur climbed from his seat behind the wheel. He waddled to the back door. [Father and son talk for a moment, then the chauffeur speaks.] "I'll circle the block and find somewhere to park," the chauffeur panted with a winded smile."

The driver did nothing before that other than drive. But he was overweight, so he must have been sweaty, right? And all overweight people pant when they walk, what, two? three? steps from the driver's door to the passenger's. And of course he's winded! He's fat!

All his characters were like that: Not characters, but caricatures. The bad guy was so over the top he might as well have been twirling his mustache.

A lot of logic was off in it, too. The male main character was an adult (a werewolf hunter). He doesn't live in a cave or anything. So imagine my surprise at this:

She touched his shoulder. For years he had dreamed of what a woman's touch would feel like, and it was as wonderful as he had imagined.

Um. What? He never ran into a woman doctor who gave him a hand getting off the table? A waitress touching his arm in a friendly way? A checkout girl's fingers making contact with his by mistake while handing over change?

Another logic error: In the beginning of the book, the wild tribe of werewolves was male dominated; when a female tried anything, the males physically kept them in line. At the end of the book it's the females who are wilder, more dangerous, more powerful, and stronger. Buh?

As part of the caricature/lack of logic part, there were also lines like:

"Take your time," she said with the voice of an angel.
(That, minutes after they met.)

The main character was, unsurprisingly, impossible to kill. In a scene, he's running at people firing automatic weapons at him. They're moving in a jeep, shooting at him, he's chasing them on foot (as a human).
As though God himself were on Aiden's side, their gunfire went wide of the mark."
That made me laugh, as God (the author) really was on his side!

And last negative thing, then back to positive: Unfortunately this author did something the author of Zoo did. I have no idea why a writer would do this (other than lack of experience maybe?). In the chapter, the main female character was worried her friend Billy was dead, she's searching for him. Title of the next chapter: Something like "Billy Lives!". Another chapter, the bad guy is trying to escape, title of the next chapter: "The Snake Escapes!" Why, oh why, do you spoil your own darned story? I kept reading the chapter titles, mumbling "Thanks for the spoiler" and wondering why I should keep reading.

So, that's a whole lot of bad, isn't it? All that being said, I still enjoyed the book. I love werewolf stories that much. I just wish the author had been able to live up to the plot's potential...

Tamed: Recommended if you really love werewolf stories.
If you don't, I'd have to suggest you pass.