Thursday Quotables: Marine Biology

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Welcome to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!
A little programming note: While I’m mostly back to weekly postings, I find I’m not at 100% yet! I’ll continue to post Thursday Quotables most weeks. If I happen to skip a week when you have a post to share, feel free to link up to whichever TQ post here is most recent. Many thanks!
Onward with this week’s Thursday Quotable:

 

Marine Biology by Gail Carriger
(published 2010)

When there’s too much seriousness in my life, I know I can reach for a Gail Carriger story to lift my spirits. I originally read Marine Biology when it came out, but as there’s now a related novel, The Sumage Solution, I figured this was a good time to read it again. Marine Biology is a cute, sweet, supernatural story — set in the modern world, not Carriger’s trademark steampunk Victorian society, but full of her wit and cleverness.

Here’s the opening paragraph, which makes more sense if you keep in mind that the main character is a gay werewolf scientist:

The problem, Alec thought gloomily, swishing a test-tube full of seawater, is that I’m unexpectedly alive. To be unexpectedly dead would be pleasingly simplistic. After all, he made up the statistic on the spot so that he would sound more learned in his own head, half of all deaths are unexpected. One is, to a certain degree, prepared to die unexpectedly. But when one expects to die at eighteen and instead finds oneself unexpectedly alive at twenty-four, there’s nothing for it but to be confused about everything.

What lines made you laugh, cry, or gasp this week? Do tell!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (http://www.bookshelffantasies.com), if you’d be so kind!
  • Add your Thursday Quotables post link in the comments section below… and I’d love it if you’d leave a comment about my quote for this week too.
  • Be sure to visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!

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Book Review: Talulla Rising

Book Review: Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan

I can’t talk about Talulla Rising without talking about its predecessor, The Last Werewolf and what happened in it, especially some major twists toward the end. So consider this your obligatory spoiler alert. SPOILERS AHEAD! Caveat lector — let the reader beware.

Now that that’s out of the way…

The Last Werewolf was one of my favorite books of 2011. Simply put, I was blown away by the language as well as the plot. Glen Duncan’s writing is extraordinary, and the voice he created for lead character Jake Marlowe was remarkable. In a nutshell, The Last Werewolf is a first-person narrative told from the perspective of the titular character Jake, who is, in fact, the very last werewolf in existence. After a lifespan of 200 years, WOCOP (the World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena) has finally succeeded in wiping out the rest of his species and has let it be known that Jake is next. Jake is world-weary, bone-weary, and overall rather sick of it all, so he decides to let WOCOP hunt him down and put an end to it, once and for all.

AND THEN… (and this is where the serious spoilers arise, so — last chance — avert your eyes now!)… Jake meets Talulla, and discovers that he’s not the last after all. Talulla is a recently turned werewolf, who quickly becomes his lover, his soulmate, and his partner in monstrosity. The pair go on the road, a lupine Bonnie and Clyde, but their joy in finding true love is not fated to last. Suffice it to say, The Last Werewolf does not end with a happily-ever-after.

Talulla Rising opens several months after the conclusion of The Last Werewolf. Jake is gone, and Talulla is alone in the world, pregnant, and full of despair. Her pain over the loss of Jake is intense; her fears of impending motherhood are enormous. Can a monster be a mother? What will her child be, and how can she make sure it survives? When her newborn werewolf son, born during Talulla’s full-moon transformation, is brutally ripped from her arms by a familiar team of enemies, events are set in motion that lead to ongoing violence, desperate acts, and unlikely alliances.

Along the way, despite Talulla’s efforts to harden her heart and not let herself love, she becomes a fierce mother/protector, whose only motivation is to save her young, no matter the expense.

Talulla Rising is not for the easily disturbed. If scenes of bodily mayhem make you queasy, this will not be your cup of tea. The violence is brutal, explicit, and quite often disgusting — although, frankly, it is a team of scientists rather than any supernatural beings who carry out the worst of the atrocities committed in the course of this book.

As in the first book, Glen Duncan’s writing is magnificent. His use of words continues to astound, as he twists and turns the English language to his will. I found Talulla’s voice a little too similar to Jake’s at times, but that’s a minor complaint.

While the first book had plenty of action, it focused to a great degree on Jake’s internal dialogue. Talulla Rising is much more plot-driven, with events and disasters piling up at a tremendous clip.

When I finished The Last Werewolf, the story felt complete, and I had no idea that a sequel was planned. Likewise, after finishing Talulla Rising, I read this Q&A with Glen Duncan and was surprised to learn that this is, in fact, a trilogy, and that a third and final book is forthcoming. While some plot threads are left dangling at the end, Talulla Rising ends on a satisfying note and is complete on its own, so that it was not immediately evident to me that the author planned a follow-up. That said, I’ve truly enjoyed these two werewolf novels by Glen Duncan, and will certainly gobble up the third as soon as it’s available.