Josh Reviews: Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Posted May 27, 2012 by Joshua Burns in / 13 Comments

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Title: Blood and Chocolate
Author: Annette Curtis Klause
Publisher: Ember
Format: Paperback, 264 pages
Published: August 11, 1997
ISBN #: 9780385734219 / 0385734212
Genre: Young Adult
My Copy: borrowed
Rating:Paw RatingPaw RatingPaw RatingPaw Rating
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Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf?

Then Vivian falls in love with a human, a meat-boy. Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He’s fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would.

Vivian’s divided loyalties are strained further when a brutal murder threatens to expose the pack. Moving between two worlds, she does not seem to belong in either. What is she really–human or beast? Which tastes sweeter–blood or chocolate?

First off, I made a confusing error when reading the synopsis. Turns out that “meat-boy” and boy that works at a meat packing plant are not synonymous. Aiden is a poetic and “troubled” high-schooler. Vivian becomes interested in him because of his interest in the unknown. And we are left to wonder whether Vivian’s desire for Aiden is indicative of her lack of confidence and need for validation or genuine taste for bone marrow.

No, she does not want to kill Aiden. But the sentences in this book really sing in such a way as to sometimes make one think that the most routine description could erupt into bristles and bone marrow. Say for instance, as Vivian looks over the other, scared boys at her school, she asks herself, “could they see the forest in her eyes, the shadow of her pelt? Were her teeth too sharp” ? The answer is a resounding no. These details are hardly ever taken into consideration or even noticed during the daytime hours. But Annette Curtis Klause pays particular attention to smells, bites, and as you have seen in the novel’s title, tastes.

So what are some pet peeves for the novel? The pack mentality that fuels one half of the book, (I am going to go ahead and pretend a divide exists between Aiden and Vivian’s world), is often troubling. Not only does the pack number so many but it is also deployed in claustrophobic scenes where twelve get named at once and then drop out immediately following said meeting. This makes it very hard to keep track of their names. It is easier when Vivian’s younger wolves, the ones as it says in the synopsis are “on her tail”, are referred to as the Five. Then in Aiden’s corner, we have the Amoeba which as he describes is “a large amorphous mass that keeps on changing size, hasn’t much apparent use, sometimes makes you sick, and occasionally breaks off into smaller parts that act exactly like the parent” which makes one only wonder why we are inundated with such names as Peter Quincey, Bingo, and Jem only to have them fall out of the book’s consciousness following the event.

I know that this is hardly a fair complaint to take the book to task with. It is as I said a pet peeve but the murder mystery that crops up in the third act of the novel really makes it drag. I mean I’ll be honest what I was interested in was the outcome of Vivian and Aidenís courtship, not the aftermath of blood struggles within the pack. So it was really quite a wait to have Aiden and Vivian brought back to the fore.

I will only go so far as to say the ending is surprising. The workings of the plot were never obvious or vanilla, although some characters did get thrown under the proverbial bus, namely being nothing but bad. But others were lights in the dark, redemptive faces.

All in all, I was very impressed by the language of the novel, intrigued by the plot, and stimulated by the transformation and love story at its root.

Books in this series:
Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Recommendation: A great coming of age story that illustrates the furrier side of prejudices.
Like this, like that: The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater, the Shadow Falls series by C.C. Hunter and the 13 to Life Series by Shannon Delany.

Josh

About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada

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Reviews UF/PR novels with an eye for weres of all kinds.

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13 responses to “Josh Reviews: Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

  1. Nice review!

    I read this one years and years ago and really really liked it. Of course it was in the few paranormal books I could find back then and it was still an older read apparently!

    Considering that fact, I thought the book did rather well.

    And the surprise ending, yeah, don’t think I saw that coming, but I (remember) honestly liked it. I thought it was a little more realistic–if that can make sense when presented with werewolves and their wanting to be with humans.

    The movie though is 100% different. I was extremely disappointed in that. But looking at the movie as its own entity and not “based on the book”, it was still a pretty good movie too! I just really really liked the book better as I am wont to do!

  2. this book is so difficult to find in France. I really enjoyed it, I was surprised by the book because I thought it was for teens. You’re right the end was a real surprise. I saw the movie one year later, and it”s so diffirent, I think after reading the book you can’t like it… It’s two stories too different.

  3. I have this one in my TBR pile, which I am hoping to one day actually read. LOL

    Great review and I liked how you posted a few other similar series to read. 🙂

  4. I remember reading this a few years ago and not liking the ending one bit. It seemed rushed to me, and being reminded that Vivian was only sixteen makes it all the more creepy looking back.

    It’s been so long since I’ve read it, but I’m not even sure that I’d pick it back up again.

  5. I have never read the book, fell in love with the story via watching the movie and have to say it was done well with a wonderful cast. Hopefully someday will get a copy of the book to read as well.

    Jackie B Central Texas

  6. I’ve seen the movie which was only OK. It was set in Europe if I can remember correctly so the setting is very different from the book and the main characters were a lot older.
    Nice review.

  7. I love love this book. I’ve read it numerous times and that copy has an older cover and the pages are yellowing lol! I was surprised, but satisfied with the ending the first time I read it. I only wish there was more at times.

    Also, luckily, a few months ago Annette Curtis Klause showed up at a book signing, so I bought a new copy and had it signed. She is nice and hilarious.

    Amber
    The Musings of ALMYBNENR