Magic, werewolves, adventure…I thought that was a good combination, but not this time. I tried to give The Wolf Age by James Enge (#3 in the Morlock Ambrosius series) a chance, I made it all the way to page 362 (there are 451 pages) before I tossed my hands in the air and said ‘I give’.
Wuruyaaria: city of werewolves, whose raiders range over the dying northlands, capturing human beings for slaves or meat. Wuruyaaria: where a lone immortal maker wages a secret war against the Strange Gods of the Coranians. Wuruyaaria: a democracy where some are more equal than others, and a faction of outcast werewolves is determined to change the balance of power in a long, bloody election year.
Their plans are laid; the challenges known; the risks accepted. But all schemes will shatter in the clash between two threats few had foreseen and none had fully understood: a monster from the north on a mission to poison the world, and a stranger from the south named Morlock Ambrosius.
I struggled over the names of the characters, like Aaluindhonu, Wuinlendhono, Hrutnefdhu just to list a couple of them. I ended up making up nicknames for the ones I struggled with the most and then I’d get confused over who was who and who did what because I was trying just to get past the names. The towns and places are just as hard like Wuruyaaria, Nekkuklendon Khuwuleion. Seriously, I would have to reread sections more than once, I had no clue what just happened due to the crazy names.
If I could get over the strange and almost unpronounceable names, I then had to figure out what the crap was going on. There were a lot of times where random conversations would butt into a scene, I’m guessing for comedic purposes, except I didn’t find them funny. I found it distracting and annoying. For example Morlock and Lup (my nickname for Hlupnafenglu) were chasing suspects and in the middle of it we have to wait for two werewolf guards, who stop Morlock for fighting, to shut up their meaningless arguing and walk away before we can continue. Or the other times where what was happening was summed up in a sentence or two or completely skipped over to a new scene, while other scenes took forever to get to the point. The dialogue was boring and hard to absorb, or it was over the top descriptions, opinions or instructions that just left me shaking my head in wonder. Then you had the cursing, like ghost was like damn I’m guessing, and I don’t understand why. Although one of the times it was something like ‘ghost testicles’ and that I did laugh at.
Don’t get me started on the calendar that Mr. Enge created for his world, I’m all kinds of confused over this. Oh and the “Strange God’s” and their names of Death, Mercy, War, etc…
BUT, and I put this in caps, not out of annoyance, but for a purpose, the story itself was good. I know, weird. If I’m getting this right, Morlock is a magician on the run from the Merlin, when he gets caught by werewolves; from there he befriends the pack of werewolves who helped him escape prison. There’s an election going on, a lot of dirty things being done behind the scenes and with Morlocks skills and knowledge the pack he’s joined has a chance at finally making a change in how things are run. The werewolf marriage ceremony was rather cool, and in ways how I pictured it, the adventure and danger of trying to stop the bad guys and create a better future, all that was interesting and the reason I kept reading as long as I did. Everything else, not so much.
I know I say this a lot, but it’s always true, I give credit to James Enge for his imagination and his thorough job of creating a new werewolf world with calendar, language, magical creations, weapons, etc. The Wolf Age is not my kind of book (or series) but I’m sure someone out there would like it.