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Saturday, November 13, 2010

'Wyndham Werewolves' short-story series by MaryJanice DAVIDSON

The Wyndham Werewolf Series is a collection of short-stories by famed comedic paranormal author, MaryJanice Davidson.

I have loved Davidson’s zany hilarity since I discovered her ‘Queen Betsy’ series. I knew she had a second paranormal romance/comedy series about werewolves. . . but after a little digging I discovered that the Wyndham Werewolves ‘series’ was comprised of short-stories that appeared in various anthologies and novellas. I made it my mission to trawl through my local library catalogue, Amazon’s Kindle books list and bargain bins until I was able to read all the short stories (in order) in one sitting. And through a series of happy coincidences, I finally have! And it was well worth the wait.

The series started with the short story ‘Love’s Prisoner’ which appeared in the 2000 romance ‘Secrets 6’ anthology. ‘Love’s Prisoner’ is a really integral story in the Wyndham Werewolves series, since it introduces Boston Alpha werewolf, Michael Wyndham and his unconventional human ‘monkey’ mate, Jeannie. This is probably the only necessary reading of the whole Wyndham Werewolves series – since most of the other short stories continually reference Michael and his human mateship.

‘Love’s Prisoner’ opens with human woman, Jeannie, getting trapped in an elevator with a stranger called Michael. Unbeknownst to Jeannie, Michael is a werewolf, and the moon is close and Jeannie’s menstruating tips Michael over the edge to claiming her as his mate.
“About the werewolf fixation,” she said, striving for a note of humour – she’d always had a perverse need to make light of any seriousness. “I confess this concerns me a bit. Perhaps there’s a support group that can heldp. Men-who-love-werewolves-and-the-women-trapped-in-elevators-with-them.” He laughed, a throaty chuckle.

- ‘Love’s Prisoner’, in Secrets 6 anthology.
From there the Wyndham series goes on to explore the repercussions of Michael’s blissful mateship as he presses his pack and fellow werewolves to find mates of their own and settle down. The other short stories all revolve around Michael’s various littermates and pack as they go on their own romantic rollercoaster rides.

MaryJanice Davidson’s signature wit permeates the series. Her storylines are often outlandish and seem to be triggered by a simple paranormal ‘what if?’ question. With the Wyndham Werewolves, Davidson is able to explore and write about every sort of werewolf contingency. . . there’s a story about a blind werewolf, a werewolf/vampire coupling and what happens when a werewolf literally stumbles across his destined mate:
He had visions of spending the rest of the day rolling around on Egyptian cotton sheets with Santa. “Lunch.”
She peered at him with adorable suspicion. “Is that a question? Is this your first day out of the institution?”
Right, right, she was human. Be polite. “Lunch. Please. Now.”

- Santa Claws, in ‘Dead and Loving it’ anthology.
I loved the series, if only for Davidson’s fantastic humour. She and Molly Harper have a similar (though totally different) darkly outlandish sense of humour and it shines through in each of the Wyndham short’s.

There was only one aspect of the series that rubbed me the wrong way. . . and that is Davidson’s almost blasé rape references. . .

Many of the male werewolves in the various Wyndham short stories ‘rape’ their soon-to-be partners. Michael rapes Jeannie in the elevator. The vampire/werewolf story involves said vampire kidnapping the lady wolf and forcing intercourse. But ‘rape’ is a very strong word, and actually a bit of a gray area in the various shorts. . . and that’s what I had a problem with. Technically, it is rape. And the women always openly accuse their rapist/mates of forcing them. . . but internally all of the women admit to being turned on and ending up wanting the sex as much as the men. So it’s a case of ‘cry wolf’ almost – where the physical act is technically rape (as the ladies admit and admonish) but reader’s also read the internal monologue of the women and know that they enjoyed/wanted it.
“Anything you put in my mouth, you’re gonna lose.”
He sighed. “I suppose it was too good to last. Pity we’re only compatible in bed.”
“Compatible in- you raped me, asswipe! Do you have any idea what my family is going to do to you? What I’m going to do to you?”
“I did rape you.” He tweaked one of her nipples. “At first.”

- Monster Love, in ‘Dead and Loving it’ anthology.
Hmmm. . . this didn’t sit well with me. Admittedly, at the time of reading I did raise my eyebrows, but I wasn’t so disgusted (and the scenes weren’t so graphic/violent) that I could not continue reading. . . it sounds a little worse when recounted for this review. But the ‘rape’ scenes did seem uncaring and unnecessary (even if they are accurate for portraying the werewolf mating ritual) even more so for Davidson pointing out that the women’s bodies often betrayed their ‘no’ talk.

I am glad I was finally able to read the Wyndham Werewolves series completely in order. Davidson is a unique and hilarious paranormal romance author, and while some aspects of the ‘romance’ irked me, overall I enjoyed this smutty/funny series.


1 comment:

  1. Im so glad you enjoyed MJD's wolves! I Love them as well even more than the vamps sometimes! I just hope she writes more about them =D

    Great review hon!


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