Who’s Afraid Too? By Maria Lewis
Review by Kylie Thompson
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: supernatural, action
Publisher: Piatkus/ Hachette
Tommi Grayson isn’t necessarily enjoying being a werewolf. It’s painful, it’s furry, and it’s brought no end of trouble to her doorstep. Her world is changing, and not necessarily for the better. After the family reunion from hell, she’s opted to find somewhere safe, and quiet, to figure out what happens next, and come to terms with the new world order. But life, as ever, has other plans. And when a nightmarish evil targets Berlin, Tommi’s going to have to choose whether to play by the rules of her new world, or do whatever it takes to put an end to her new enemy.
Tommi is the sort of kick-ass heroine you can’t help but love. She’s snarky, strong willed, and determined to live her life on her own terms while the world tries to bring her to heel. ‘Damsel’ isn’t a part of her vocabulary. Thankfully, Tommi isn’t the sort of character prone to hiding behind the nearest man for protection; she’s the sort more than happy to do her own dirty work.
What’s great is that this isn’t the typical story where the ‘realities’ are glossed over. This isn’t a girl singing the praises of her lycanthropy so much as a woman learning to live in a new, scarier world. There’s no romanticism or titillation behind the downsides of Tommi’s affliction in the way that, say, Twilight made vampirism into a new type of sparkly yet morbid pseudo-erotica*. If you’re looking to Lewis to champion the werewolf smut genre, you’re going to be rather disappointed.
Instead, you get a heroine that kicks a lot of ass, and who brings a strong sense of humanity into her life as a werewolf. She’s not invincible- there are times it’s made abundantly clear that her actions have consequences, and those consequences hurt like hell, even with enhanced healing abilities. And unlike many a hero, Tommi also has to learn her skills, rather than having them just sort of show up one day. Those glimpses into her training don’t just show her vulnerabilities, but give a hint at the hero (or villain, given the right circumstances) Tommi could become.
Maria Lewis has created an engrossing, action packed world it’s hard not to love. It’s gritty without being painfully dark, so lifelike it’s hard not to imagine the hidden lives of those around you. And yet, there’s a humour to Lewis’s writing that makes what could be a rather gruesome story a lot of fun to read.
If you’ve grown used to works like Harry Potter, where the start of each new book gives a quick (or not so quick) overview of what you’ve missed, it’s probably good to go in knowing that there’s not a recap. There’s enough information that you know the basics of what happened in the last book- but you’re probably going to get far more out of the series if you read it in order. Believe me when I say reading both books is never going to be a hardship. The only hardship will be waiting for the next book to be released.
‘Who’s Afraid Too?’ is published by Piatkus/ Hachette, and is available through the all good retailers.
* Yes, I’m aware that the vampire mythology always had sexualised elements. But you’ve gotta admit, before Stephanie Meyer, vampires were never stalkerish humanoid disco balls wearing purity rings and watching you sleep.