3 out of 4 stars
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The Wiros Chronicles: The Howling 20's by Brett J. Bockhorst is a novel about creatures that may have only existed in myths and perhaps even scary stories only. The Laughing Leprechaun is a werewolf den with Colin MacReady as the Alpha. Priding themselves on delivering better quality drinks, even with the United States' prohibition, they not only discover the existence of a new rival but also an enemy that may take all from them.
Brett writes a story that is electrifying and certain to command readers' attention. This is a werewolf story that is unique and different from the usual. While certain similarities can be seen, it is still refreshing to see fresh new terms. For instance, typical werewolf stories will call their groups 'pack' and exiled werewolves 'rogue.' But Brett uses terms like 'den' for the packs and 'dranges' for 'denless' werewolves, respectively. It provides a new experience for avid readers of werewolf fiction — something new and exciting.
Structure-wise, Brett also uses a distinctive pattern of numbering. His chapter format goes in this form: Chapter 1, 1.1, 1.2, and so on. This adds to the book's appeal, as something different is always intriguing. The author includes a sort of 'organogram' of the den's composition, aiding readers to understand their organization. There's also a map showing the placements of the dens.
Brett's book is given more flavor by the characters, not just by their persona but also by their diversity. The characters are extracted from different geographical plains; there are Irish, British, and African-American characters. The characters are alive and thrilling. The author's language is easy to read and follow. The accents that run through the book add more authenticity to the characters. With the author's description of characters, a solid mental picture of them is created. For instance, Limey Pete, an ally of the Laughing Leprechan, is described as a "short, thin, rough looking blonde man." Within the den of the Laughing Leprechans, we see the humor, love, and family bonds that exist.
The book highlights a very significant theme that mirrors the time the book is set: racism. We see it in the way that Jackson McElroy, whose grandfather is an elder of the 'den of wrathful claw,' is treated just because his skin is dark. He is called demeaning names like 'O'koon' or 'cotton picker,' referring to his slavery origin. It makes one think of the word 'Nigger’ and its similar demeaning symbol for the black man. As entertaining as the book is, it embodies a profound reality of existence that is still as true as it was at its very beginning.
The entire concept of the book, featuring the intersection of the supernatural with the natural world, is very indicative of the many possibilities that may exist in our world. Who knows? Maybe human werewolves do exist somewhere in our world hidden from the prying eyes of humans. Maybe myths are not just myths but realities hidden in plain sight. Either way, it is an exciting thought.
Readers will find it hard to put this book down from its beginning till the very end. The only issue I have with this book is the number of errors. If this issue is fixed, it will attain the perfection it deserves. In the meantime, I can only rate it 3 out of 4 stars. This book is recommended for lovers of supernatural action stories, especially werewolf tales.
The Wiros Chronicles:
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