This is a clever book. It lets you think you’ve got it all figured out, when really you’ve only grasped a portion of what’s going on.
This is the first time that I’ve ever read a book based on a screenplay that was written as a way to garner interest for said screenplay. And while I have no doubt that Wherewolves could make a great movie, I prefer it as a novel. There are some interesting ideas presented here that could be completely ruined if not done properly. Thankfully, whether this movie gets made or not, we will have the story in this form.
Wherewolves follows a group of mostly military brats that are preparing to embark on a weekend-long survival course. To say that you’ll dislike these characters is an understatement. Make no mistake, these kids are asshats by design. Even the authors acknowledge this at the end, stating that they hoped it didn’t ruin their humanity. I don’t believe it did. They felt genuine. People suck, and teenagers often are the dredge of society. For me they were tangible characters. I never felt sorry for them, but they seemed like real people. (Except for the red-headed kid named Billy Bob. Red-headed kids are never named Billy Bob. More likely Stewart or Phillip.)
The weakest part of the book personally, was the motivations of the teacher, O’Sullivan and his brother. It spells it out for you, but it didn’t feel authentic. The thing that impressed me most was the sensation that these could all be real individuals. Everything about their motivations and reactions felt organically plausible. Except for Tim and Brian O’Sullivan. They had a purpose to serve in the story, I just would have liked it to have been hashed out a bit more. A small gripe in the grand scheme, truly.
The Kindle edition says it is 306 pages long. It felt like 100. In a world where Stephen King drones on for about 100 pages too many, I was left wishing there were more pages to Wherewolves. As a reader, that’s the problem I want to have. You can get your copy and start reading today from Amazon. I highly suggest you do.
Jacob Hopkins November 18, 2014
Freakin Fridays #33 ~ Wherewolves by John Vamvas and Olga Montes ~ Bring on the movie!
I’m a huge fan of B- movies and this reads like a good one. As I read each scene I easily and gleefully visualized it, every bloody bit of it.
A group of troubled teens are taken into the woods for a survival weekend. The teacher leaves them to fend for themselves. I know. Seen ir or read it before…. you think.
The author brings a lot to the table, introducing you to the characters which consist of the typical jocks, bullies, and geeks. You get to know what drives them, what scares them, before they even enter the woods that night.
As dark approaches, they huddle around the campfire telling stories. It might not be a cozy gathering, but things aren’t too bad. Until they sense something watching them.
This is where the story gets gritty. I love character driven novels and how, when a group is faced with a life or death situation, the dynamics come into play. It takes just a few hours for the fight or flight instincts to consume the teens and chaos to reign once some of the group go missing.
The screaming and snarling from the deep dark of the woods scatters the group and they fear each other as much as what’s stalking them.
The authors brought it all to the table, the fear of the dark, the peer pressure, the teen angst, and the will to survive. This book may have teen characters, but I don’t think there’s much difference between how they acted and a group of adults would act. If you’ve watched Stephen King’s The Mist, you can see how quickly adults succumb to their own fears. In fact, I think the teens might be better prepared for something like this. They aren’t that far from when they feared the bogey man under the bed and may be quicker to believe the unimaginable.
From the title you get a clue to what’s stalking these teens. Feral beasts from your nightmares. These aren’t shifters. They don’t turn into humans and they are horrific in their maniacal glee as they rampage through the group.
I knew what was waiting out in the woods, I knew not everyone would survive, and I knew some would turn on each other and that filled me with trepidation, built the tension to a fever pitch, and had me jumping when my dog suddenly barked at something outside. His own special effects to set the mood for me.
I just love a good werewolf book without the shifter glamour and romance. It was a bloody frolic right to the deliciously wicked ending.
What a rush to this story! Ok I’m getting ahead of myself.
A group of trouble teens is dropped off in the woods for a weekend of surviving on their own. While their teacher watches from afar. There is already tension and animosity among the teens, but being away from adults unleashes it all. But as night falls, things start happening. Guns come out, pants drop, and people change. Around the camp fire the teens talk about werewolves and how one of them could be one. Doris and Jeffery the geeks are in their element. It becomes clear that something or someone is watching them as the night progresses. It doesn’t take long for the teens to start turning on each other, not trusting, afraid and confused as to what is happening.
Can they survive the weekend? Can they survive themselves?
This is a fast paced ride through blood and guts. Being a child of the 80′s and growing up on movies like this one, took me home! The best thing about this book, it’s written for the big screen. I found myself caught up in this book, trying to picture how it would look on the big screen. The plot is well scripted and kept me guessing all the way up to the end. Honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t faint from reading this book as many times as I held my breath. The story pulled me in and made me one of the teens in the story, I was caught up in the action, fearing for my life. The down side for me, to many kids – 18. I had a hard time remember who was who and who was together, I knew who hated who, that was easy.
The book starts off with a young woman running away from creatures, seeking refuge with a truck driver in his cab. And whatever is out there seems to be attacking his cab as well despite him driving fast.
We are than taken back about 2 days or so prior and are introduced to Doris, a High School Student and clearly an oddball, dresses differently and likes werewolves. She does not fit in with the rest of the ‘popular crew’ at school and gets bullied ruthlessly by the others. Only Jeffrey, a fellow student, gets bullied even more. In the first chapters, we get introduced to all 18 of the students who are preparing to go on a ‘survival camp’ weekend with their ex-military teacher, Tim O’Sullivan who wants to toughen them up. Once in the camp, strange things start to happen. First, all students seem to lose all their inhibitions, which for some of them really goes beyond their usual behaviour. But it is getting worse, and something is lurking out there.
I did enjoy this fast-paced read. I understand it is written for a movie script, and I can absolutely see this as a movie. It is not just teen/slasher, but there is a deeper background. Without giving too much away, each of the 18 students has their individual story which gets revealed as you read along, and there are reasons why some of them behave in a certain way i.e. is there more to the bullying than meets the eye. My favourite character (though not one of the lead characters) is probably Dawn who is deeply traumatised by her parent’s death which she witnessed and unable to speak since. None of the kids ‘background stories’ is giving in great detail and long explanations, but is interwoven, and this certainly brings the story along without stalling and without unnecessary padding. I did find the writing very refreshing. It does get a bit gory at the end, with torn body parts etc, but this is what we expect from a werewolf story really, don’t we?
I did had a bit of trouble at the beginning to extinguish between the different teens – there are 18 of them. I had to go back a few times so see ‘so who was that again?’ – obviously that won’t be so much of an issue with a film version. Some of them are more distinguished than others, but the authors do ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ their individualities i.e. Ronald whose nickname is Obama because he looks like the president, Elie who his disliked because ‘his folks’ are to blame for the US going to war (i.e. he is Muslim). It also becomes clear that they all live near a US Army base, so the life of most of them is in one way or another effected by being the children of Army personnel. And teacher O’Sullivan might have other motives as well rather than just being someone who wants adventure for their kids.
While there are some sexual scenes, it is nothing explicit and I would think it can be read from 16+ definitely.
Overall, an enjoyable read, and I’m looking forward to the movie version. I did like the ending and for me personally, even though there is a lot of blot and guts here in the final chapters, in a twisted way it is also a positive story about raising above bullying and overcoming personal problems. Yes, some might disagree that it is a rather drastic way of dealing but than, it is fiction, and it is suppose to make us think and challenge.
I’m a big fan of werewolves. It’s why I was eager to read WHEREWOLVES by the writing team of John Vamvas and Olga Montes. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there’s a new wherewolf in town.
Not the same old same, it’s a new take on an old theme. Moving at the speed of light, it’s fast-paced and adventurous. With quick wit and incisive descriptions, the characters are fleshed out just enough to make them interesting and ripe for attack. Loved the book and loved the writing team. It’s a good read that delivers!
By NYWriter “Writerrrr” (New York, NY)
This book is thrilling and fast paced, the type that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat the whole time you are immersed in the novel. I loved the theme of army children and the way that this book reveals some very real problems that these children face in real life every day. It was nice to have a cast of characters where everyone has faults and no one is perfect, this is a very rare thing to come across in the world of books. This novel is very down to earth and realistic and I believe that this is what makes the book so spectacular and believable when the more paranormal elements kick in. There are so many twists to the plot that you never get bored and I have to say that the ending was one of the most thought through and realistic of any horror I have ever read, and one of my favourites. My only down point is that the novel is rather slow to begin and once the action kicks in, it ends too fast, but this only adds to the suspense and build up to that spectacular ending!
First off when reviewing a screenplay your thinking has to be different when reviewing a book but since this was converted into a book I had to go in with an open mind knowing that some of the writing may be a bit different than normal. I had read a few of the reviews that had already been written about the book and the description of the book itself made it seem interesting enough that I actually pushed it up on my must read list out of curiosity and boy was I surprised. The book follows a group of students into the woods for what is supposed to be a school event but quickly turns deadly and many of those involved may not be what they appear. The best thing that I liked about the book other than being well written and entertaining is that it kept much of the plot hidden which completely sold me on the entire story. More often than not I can see what is going to happen in the book or at leave have some kind of clue the direction in which a book is going to be heading but not with WHEREWOLVES! I believe that the story that John and Olga have written for us highlights some of the real horrors of the world including relentless bulling that many individuals of all ages face on a daily basis as well as the demons that are hiding inside of us and at some point just snap. I personally love the book and would recommend it to anyone who has yet to read it and will definitely be checking in as their new work hits the shelves in the future. While the book revolves around high school students I would recommend it for older teens and adults of all ages.
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This review is from: Wherewolves (Paperback)
The last segment of our spotlight as part of Mari Wells’s WEREWOLF MONTH.
Please click on the following link to read the final interview.