Review: The Wolf House: Origins and Overtures

The Wolf House, Book I: Origins and Overtures by Mary Borsellino, with cover art by Audrey Fox

My friend Mary Borsellino is writing a series of young adult books called The Wolf House, and the first book was released as an e-book from Drollerie Press recently.

The press release describes The Wolf House as “Twilight for punks,” but as Wolf House-reader Beckah said:

…it could just as easily be called “Twilight for feminists” or “Twilight for queers” or “Twilight for people who really like monster movies” or “Twilight for people who don’t — well, ok, who do think that stalking can be kind of sexy, especially if it’s a vampire, but only if the author admits it’s kind of creepy too” or “Twilight for people who think everything would be better with kittens in.”

I tend to bristle at the desire to call any YA vampire book a “Twilight for [audience]” since Twilight was actually “A YA vampire book for Mormons,” but let’s not sweat it.

The Wolf House is described by Borsellino as the kind of book she would have wanted to read when she was a teenager. It’s a book about Bette, and her best friends Rose and Tommy, who are outcasts at their high school. They hang out and watch monster movies and go to gigs and play around at starting a band. It’s also a book about Jay, who isn’t surprised when he comes to the interest of a vampire, since he’s never expected he’d live all that long in the first place. And it’s a book about a local band that never really went anywhere not due to lack of talent, but because they’re too busy hunting vampires.

Straight up, I couldn’t stop reading this once I’d started it. I’m not especially fond of vampire novels, in spite of having read quite a few of them, but I found myself deeply fond of the human characters. Bette, Rose, Tommy, and Jay are all really fascinating people, and Bette in particular is a kind of character I’d love to see more of in all of the books I read. She’s sort of violent and angry and fun in spite of it all. Her friendship with Rose is the part of the book that read truest for me, and is the part of the future books I’m most excited about.

I was not, as you might expect, as interested in the bits of the novel focusing on Jay and the vampires, since I am not one who is especially fond of the particular brand of blasé about death, not quite human and not caring about it especially vampire featured in The Wolf House. Then again, I usually spend most of every vampire novel waiting for the stakings to begin. (I’m immensely pleased to discover that the second book is focused on the hunters.) That said, I can see how these particular vampires and their particular brand of violence would appeal to disaffected teenagers like Bette, Rose, Jay, or Tommy.

The Wolf House does suffer from its medium — DIY e-book — in that it could have done with an editor in some places. Although the characters are presumably meant to be Americans, Borsellino’s Australian voice often shines through a little too strongly in her dialogue. There were also a few conversations that fell a bit into self-indulgence in places. While I can’t fault Borsellino for not having her book tweaked by a professional editor, I did find myself wondering what the book would have been like in the alternate universe where a publishing company would actually consider this story marketable enough to publish. (They are clearly unaware of the tastes of every outcast girl I knew in junior high and high school, anyway.)

Overall, it was certainly worth my $4.95, and I look forward to reading the other five books in the series.

You can buy the book through Drollerie Press here, or you can read more about the books in the series here.


1 Comment

  1. […] The Wolf House Some of you might remember me posting about the first Wolf House book by my friend Mary […]

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