A good werewolf story is hard for me to resist, and M.D. Lachlan’s Wolfsangel manages to combine two things that I enjoy: werewolves and Norse mythology. Twin boys, Vali and Felig, are the center of the tale, one of whom carries the dark legacy of changing into a wolf, while the other is destined to be his brother’s captor and killer. At the center of it all, is a young girl, Adelisa, who loves both of them in her own way. Authun, the king of the Nordic settlement, is searching for a child said to be stolen from the gods and who will bring glory to his people and restore their kingdom. He finds more than he is looking for with these two boys, and unknowingly stumbles into something much bigger – a cyclical story that has been playing out for centuries and which will continue to play out until some future bloody end.
I love the Norse influence in this book and Lachlan uses runes throughout his work. The Witch Queen in his story learns these runes, but while the first rune she gained was not too difficult and showed her to be “chosen”, in order to gain use of more runes she must go through horrific physical trials to prove herself worthy. Once this has been accomplished, she is able to visualize them and call upon their powers. There is, however, a special rune – wolfsangel – that becomes important in the story.
The brothers, Vali and Felig, both fall in love with Adelisa, which is complicated to begin with, but the situation becomes worse as Felig gradually becomes more and more wolf-like. When Adelisa is captured, Vali and Felig team up to rescue her. These characters and their increasingly complex relationship are well-written, and their story is both bloody and tragic. Added to the mix, is a mysterious trickster figure appearing off an on throughout the story who may or may not be the boys’ father.
This book is incredibly dark, and I absolutely love Lachlan’s writing. There are scenes – mostly with the trickster character – that I find unbelievably magical. He does a great job of entwining story with myth, and he has a nice variety of characters and creatures: witches, a werewolf, and Viking berserkers. I enjoyed the book enough to also read the second in the series, Fenrir, which is actually even darker and bloodier than the first. The most clever part of Lachlan’s writing, though, is in his shifting of the roles the characters play in the ongoing tale of Odin, Loki, and Fenrir and the constant attempt to bring about Ragnarok. In order to fully enjoy this part of Lachlan’s writing, you need to read at least the second book, as well.
Finding the third book, Lord of Slaughter, was a bit more difficult, but it looks like it is available now and I have it on my list. I think this was probably due to some of the poor reviews that the first two books received. Quite honestly, I would say that the poor reviews are undeserved. The main problem with these books is that they are not easy reads. Lachlan writes in an interesting prose and he doesn’t babysit the reader. If you are not familiar with Norse mythology, you may not get as much out of what is going on, and he doesn’t stop to fill you in. Actually, to me, that was part of the fun of reading these books – figuring out on my own what he was doing, making those connections on my own to the myths, and then seeing how he had the story play out. So, if you are up for a slightly more challenging read, these books are worth the time!