19 Mar 2013

BAREBACK.

BAREBACK by KIT WHITFIELD.


Lola Galley is used to doing things she doesn't want. She certainly doesn't want to be assigned the case of Richard Ellaway, the man who, under a cold full moon, mutilated a good friend of hers. But being a bareback, what she wants and what she gets are seldom the same.

For those born feet-first, life is comfortable, and one night a month they lock themselves in a secure room to fur up in peace. Barebacks, trapped in their human skin and drafted at eighteen into the Department for the Ongoing Regulation of Lycanthropic Activity, don't have it so easy. A full moon means patrolling the silent night in search of transformed citizens breaking the curfew. The rest of the month, DORLA agents mop up the after-effects of the trespasses, the fights and the maulings.

Resignedly, she takes the case - but before Ellaway can be tried, her maimed friend is murdered. Lola wants justice. She'll settle for the truth. But in a divided world, asking for the truth may bring answers that you don't want to hear.
....... Outer back cover. 

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): The story is a simple one.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 205): Yes, they're graceful. That means they aim well when they leap at you. Yes, they're - they're beautifully proportioned. So they run fast, and they run towards you. A long smooth muzzle crackles up when it snarls, and as far as grey and white fur goes - well, I just know that if we tried to bite each other, I'd come off worse.

MY THOUGHTS: Set in a world populated by Lycos/Lunas (werewolves) and Nons/Barebacks (humans) Bareback is loosely an urban fantasy, sort of a crime thriller and kind of a romance. Described in The Times as neither [quite] horror nor supernatural fantasy, but more a cautionary tale, I'd describe it as a mongrel of a read in that it comprises bits of this, that and the other.


Though undoubtedly an interesting slant to the whole werewolf/human relationships thing, I personally would have preferred less, a lot less, of the romantic aspect of this and yet more of an insight into the workings of this perhaps not so very different world which the more you read becomes increasingly ill-concealed Catholicism.

A fascinating read in so far as the study of the splits, the prejudices, the discrimination's in society go - the inferior (lower class) Barebacks drafted into Department for Ongoing Regulation of Lycanthropic Activity (DORLA) versus the elite (upper class) Lycos - but apart from this there is very little to recommend this debut novel which may not be to the taste of the average reader of the urban fantasy/supernatural genre given that, yes, there are werewolves in it BUT they really are secondary to the setting of the story that is Lola's world. 

KEEP IT OR NOT?: Ex-library stock, alas this one is destined for a charity shop.




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6 comments:

Jean said...

Easily give this one a pass.

Kelly said...

A good review, but not one I think interests me particularly.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Hm... interesting, but I think it falls short if there isn't enough about the lycans. Still, might be a good library book read. :)

Bo said...

I like the idea that the lycanthropes are the elites. While I was amused by your review, I think this sounds like one I'll have to bypass. Although, now I know to miss, so thanks!

Tammy @ Bo's Book Nook

Gina R said...

The thinly veiled religious aspect, reminded me of HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy. Like one didn't know what that was hinting at. As for this one, sounds curious but bummer on the bits skipped over. Sounds like it had potential, just maybe missed the mark a smidge. Thanks for sharing!

Claudine G. said...

Ah, I'm going to pass, too, because it's not my favourite genre. I do know of an ex-student who might like it, though.