The Promise
by Donna Boyd, fantasy (2000)
Harper, $6.99, ISBN 0-380-79096-3

Eh, what a dreary, depressing read. It is the whole bleakness of this book that keeps me from enjoying The Promise as much as the previous book The Passion. I sincerely hope future Devoncroix werewolf installments wouldn't be this gloomy.

I am also not too sure on how to sum up the plot, except to say that it is actually two tales in one. One is how Nicholas Devoncroix, the silly upstart stuffy alpha whelp, is making rash decisions that could jeopardize the whole human-werewolf diplomatic relationship. A disastrous event causes Nicholas to reevaluate his priorities, and he ends up wounded and bunking in Alaska at wolf researcher Hannah North's place.

Meanwhile, Hannah reads a journal she'd found and what do you know, it's about a werewolf Matise Devoncroix and his forbidden, tragic love story.

The bulk of this story deals with a depressing theme: can a werewolf's human side hold off the bestial, savage side? Schizophrenia at its most ugly and violent here. There's also trust (betrayed), love (aborted), friendship (betrayed), and lots of bleak "I'm doomed, my life sucks" scenarios.

If I dig under the gloom doom tones, I would find a haunting winter landscape of a story. Like vampires, werewolves make cool, tortured romantic characters, and Ms Boyd sure knows how to make them cool and tortured. But at times, things get so thick and heavy with depression and despair that I wish someone would crack a joke. No humor, no levity, everything is cool and pained here.

Still, it does make a wonderful love song to despair.

Rating: 82

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