“It’s always the ones who are the quietest who often have the greatest things to say.”
I admit it. I’m cheating. Yes, being obsessed with TJ Klune’s writing does stack the deck in my favor. I’ve read 3 now, almost back to back, and he’s quickly skyrocketing into the top of my favorites list.
I have read a lot of UF/PNR shifter series. I still read a lot of them. As much as it’s one of my favorite genre’s, they all relatively follow the same formula (the best ones have variations, but they’re still similar). When I finished Wolfsong I didn’t feel comfortable shelving it as PNR, or UF. It is about shifters, there are werewolves, but it didn’t feel like it was even remotely the same as other shifter novels. Everything about Wolfsong was so much more poignant than that.
First of all, Ox isn’t your normal UF/PNR hero(ine). He’s not some kick ass, witty, too smart for their own good character that radiates confidence and capability. In fact, when the book starts Ox is only 12 years old. He’s 12 years old, learning the worst and hardest lesson that no child should have to learn. That sometimes the people who are supposed to be there, aren’t.
From there the story rolls on, spanning decades. Ox growing up, trying to fit in and find his place but without realizing what he’s looking for. In fact, it’s almost like his destiny finds him.
The Bennetts. Ox was the core of the story, and it was a steel core. He was an incredible character. The Bennetts were his supporting cast, and it doesn’t matter how good the lead is if they don’t have a good team behind them. Every single Bennett family member was memorable. Every character in the book was memorable. Everything about the BOOK was memorable.
The heart of the story is the love between Joe and Ox. They met when Ox was 16 and Joe was 10, and despite the age gap the relationship never felt inappropriate. Ox was Joe’s best friend. Ox made Joe feel like he was strong. The progression from best friends to more was slow, steady, and absolutely as it should have been.
TJ is really great at writing amazing characters, and I’d thought his strength was in writing amazing funny characters. After finishing Wolfsong I realized that nobody can put TJ in a box! Wolfsong had so much substance, so much depth. Wolfsong was beautiful, and poetic. It was intense and melancholy.
Wolfsong was about being lonely, and alone. It was about realizing that it doesn’t take blood to make family. It was about not accepting the shit. Fighting. Loving.
It was shallow breathing and trembles as you hit the climax. It was stuttering sobs and an abundance of tears.
“So he pressed his forehead against mine and breathed me in and there was that sun, okay? That sun between us, that bond that burned and burned and burned because he’d given it to me. Because he’d chosen me.”