This week I continue my Halloween experiment with doing a book a week. Many of the books I review are the beginning of a series and at this point, I haven’t felt compelled to review any of the subsequent books here on Unleaded. However, I will be doing some of these on my own blog, Thoughts From My Head. Despite that, I thought I would make an exception this week, with a tweak. I will be covering two books in one review: “Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter” and “Heart of Scars” by Brian P. Easton.
My main reason for lumping these two books together is that I feel they belong in a single volume with two major parts. Both books tell of the life of Sylvester James, a Canadian with Cheyenne heritage, taught the ways of a werewolf hunter by a Cheyenne mystic deep in the Alberta, Canada wilderness. “Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter” tells of the first 36 years of Sylvester’s life including his time in Viet Nam and his prison incarceration, neither of which deal with werewolf hunting at all. Easton stays true to his title and gives an autobiography (thus named because the book is written in the first person) of Sylvester James and does not solely focus on the werewolf story. He gives the reader a short break from the supernatural in several events and shows the events that make the protagonist the one uniquely qualified to be a monster slayer.
Easton’s voice in “Autobiography…” is clear and descriptive. The story flows quickly from one event to another without
many chapter breaks, but this does not detract from the story at all. By quoting specific dates and referencing historical events, Easton has given a bit of realism to the story. This aids the reader in framing the story within known times instead of placing the story in some unknown future or alternate timeline.
Each event in the protagonist’s life builds to the exciting conclusion and set up the background for the “Heart of Scars” sequel. “Heart of Scars” is the protagonist’s Cheyenne spiritual name, which is an appropriate name for the book. Much of the story focuses on the spiritual nature of the Cheyenne Reydosnin warrior philosophy and how Sylvester James must embrace the spiritual side of the Reydosnin training just as he had the physical training.
This change in story slightly changes the voice than was used in the first book but continues to tell the life story of the hero, thus my reasoning that both books belong in a single volume with two major parts. “Heart of Scars” does not cover as many years as “Autobiography…”and instead centers on the hero’s time working with a crime-fighting special branch of the Canadian government.
The structure of this book is the same as its predecessor: one event leading into another with very few chapter breaks. While this structure worked well in “Autobiography…” I do not believe it worked well in “Heart of Scars.” The spiritual journeys and large geographic jumps need a bigger separation of ideas to help the flow of the story. The result without these breaks leaves the reader at times confused and just wanting to skip to ahead to more concrete action.
Overall, I enjoyed the two stories. I think they are a good introduction to Brian P. Easton. I will continue to keep an eye out for his work. I recommend reading at least the first book in this set as an example of how chapters are not always needed often as is the norm. For these books I will give them three flags. They are an enjoyable read, especially for fans of the werewolf genre, but the confusion caused by the second book detracts from the story as a whole.