So, relatively recently I met author F.D. Gross through the promo industry on social media. I actually knew him for a while without having read his work because my reading list was a mile long (which it still is... oops).
Finally, however, I sat down to read WOLFGANG
With that in mind, here's a quick note. When I read, watch, see, or listen to a work of art, it takes me a while before I realize it's one of my favorites. I can enjoy a book or movie very much at the time but not really think of it ever again.
My favorite novel of all time, The Good Earth by Pearl Buck, I only read because I was forced to, back in high school. Not until I grew older did I realize that it would always be the best novel in my world, and I think it comes down to the manner of storytelling, regardless of the subject matter. My favorite movie in the world? You'd never guess. It's Goodfellas - again, because of the storytelling (Ray Liotta does a voiceover narration that sort of parallels the book, which I never read).
Back to WOLFGANG. It's been a couple months since I've read the book and its story is still stuck in my mind. I have to say that I truly believe this is a unique work of art, something that doesn't fit in any one category really. I recommend it for anyone! Here is a copy of my review.
There are different kinds of horror.
In vampire horror, there are countless subdivisions, but let's simplify things a bit and put them into 2 categories, just for the sake of argument: Anne Rice's Interview, and John Carpenter's Vampires. Two great movies that I watch over and over, but they are totally different. One is epic and tells the story over time, dealing with all the emotions a person (or vampire) could possibly have. It's sad and moves you, but thrills you at the same time. The other uses an 'in-your-face' type of instant gratification, making you jump, laugh, and cover your eyes.
Like I said, they're both good.
Well, having just finished reading WOLFGANG mere minutes ago, I can tell you that this book is 'more' on the Anne Rice side of things, BUT it deserves a subgenre of its own. It doesn't tell the story of how a man became a vampire, but it tells the story of a hunter's life being screwed up by one, and the epic part comes in his journey to seek answers for the loss of his loved ones.
I would categorize this book as an epic fantasy-horror, because the jewel of this book, in my opinion, is not in the freaky monsters or the plot that keeps you guessing, but in the determination and strength of spirit of the MC, Wolfgang. He describes to you exactly how he is feeling and what's going on every moment, and all you can think is, "Gee, had that been me, I would have been dead hours ago." It says right before the first chapter how his family is what keeps him together. That's the main message that seems to be forgotten on some readers. Anyone else would have been dead long ago, but it's Wolfgang's love for his wife and son that sends him onward, even when doing so seems impossible. This was a journey that attacked his body, mind, soul, and heart in so many ways, and still he moved forward.
One thing I particularly loved about this narration (that is very rare) is that the MC is 'perfectly imperfect.' Too often do you read a book and the MC does fantastic things, such as doing perfect triple flips in the air, cutting off the heads of all their enemies, and then landing gracefully on their own two feet. This narration has no ego, and that's a huge part of the appeal of this book. He DOESN'T do everything perfectly; although he's smart, althetic, and very capable, he's not perfect. He doesn't execute perfectly every time. He doesn't mind telling you that he burns his hand and he gets blisters on it that ooze with pus. Nor does he shy away from explaining how he gets these painful scars on his face. He looses his footing at times and he doesn't always see the enemy coming. Why is this so important? Because it allows the readers to relate to him better. I didn't say 'realistic' - we ARE talking about vampires and other such creatures, after all. But relatability is important to me as a reader, and this book is 'oozing' with it.
Now to my first impression of the book. The Prologue. Ah, the Prologue. I LOVE this Prologue! I read it often. It's perfectly written. It's in the middle of a scene, yet taking place before Chapter 1... You don't need all the details to enjoy the Prologue, but, man, how I would love to hear the story that led up to it! Egleaseon's narration is short and sweet, and as many admirable qualities that Wolfgang has, I think Egleaseon is my favorite.
In case you haven't guessed, I just LOVED this book, and I expect to be informed when the sequel comes out! :) Well done, FD Gross.