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Aftermath
Chuck Wendig
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Samuel R. Delany
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Charles L. Grant

Werewolf Smackdown

Werewolf Smackdown - Mario Acevedo I'm so glad this is the last of the Felix Gomez books. It looks like there's one more volume on its way, which will actually revisit some of the loose threads that were left dangling in books three and four, but I'm done with it. This book was pretty horrible.

I'm not sure what made me think that the first two books were fun, other than their titles. Acevedo has a bad habit of telling much more than he shows, which is odd, because he does a bit of showing through dialog, and then follows it up with telling us what just happened. You know, like, having a character say, "Felix, you're this close to crossing the line with me," and then follow it up with Felix's observation: "She was pissed." It's not necessary, but apparently Acevedo wants to make sure we get the point.

He's still reusing the hypnosis thing, but at least in this book, he gives Felix a reason to not have to rely on it so much. The werewolves tell him that if he takes his contacts out, then he's telling them he doesn't trust them, so he keeps them in for most of the story. It's a weak reason (he's had three attempts on his life since arriving in Charleston, and has good reason to not trust the werewolves, so why would he agree to that?), but it at least gets him out of the habit of hypnotizing everyone within range.

Acevedo also refers to werewolves as weres, italicized, for much of the novel, and at first it was really hard to get used to that convention. He tends to check their auras to confirm whether someone is human, vampire, or were, and since "were" looks like "were" (plural past tense of "to be," that is), it kept tripping me up and making me re-read sentences. It seems like it would have been better for the pacing if he had gone with "werewolves" or even "Were," but hey, these books aren't exactly Steinbeck, you know?

Felix also talks a lot about how his kundalini noir, the spiritual thing that drives his vampirism, reacts to certain things. It twists, it cringes, it tenses, and it basically tells us how Felix feels without having to observe anything that Felix actually does. Hell, it even gives him a spider sense for when danger is about to happen! Not only is it a cheap way of skipping over some narrative, but it's also oddly reminiscent of Anastasia's Inner Goddess from Fifty Shades of Grey. At the very least, the kundalini noir was just as annoying.

But hey, this book actually has a story that's relevant to the title! Said smackdown doesn't ever quite happen, but the threat of it is the main thrust of the novel, so there's that. On the flip side, we're almost treated to an explicit vampire-wolf on werewolf-wolf sex scene, so I guess it all evens out.

Honestly? Don't waste your time with this book or series. I wish I had stopped reading these after Jailbait Zombie, but hey, I don't have a kundalini noir to warn me away from this crap.