"Plus, Lesbian werewolf sex is kinda weird," she said with a laugh. "Too much fur. Long claws. It all just gets in the way." (from "Hungry Ghost," Chapter 4)
No other book in my reading journey--from Aristophenes's excellent "Lysistrata,"penned 2427 years ago, to "Enchanted," Nikki Jefford's awesome latest, published last week--has contained the sentence, "Plus, Lesbian werewolf sex is kinda weird." I'm sure I'd remember. (I have tons of Lesbian friends. If any of them start dating werewolves, at least I'll know how to advise them.)
If you haven't yet read "Lunatic Fringe," book one in Allison Moon's excellent "Tales of the Pack" series, I would recommend you do so before starting "Hungry Ghost," just to get you up to speed.
"The Pack" is a group of women who are friends, sometimes lovers, housemates, and werewolves. As a pack, they protect their area, finding werewolves who seek out and kill women, and exacting their revenge.
Lexie Clarion is the newest member of The Pack, and she's finding it difficult to fit in. She has a wolf inside her, and she has transformed before, but she doesn't do so at the full moon like her Pack sistren. This could be that Lexie has a very rare gift: she is a Peacespeaker, an entity with the ability to broker negotiations between conflicting tribes or packs. It's a rare gift from her mother's side, and her mother died before teaching her anything.
Plus, having had a rough break-up at the end of the last term, Lexie has neglected school stuff, like signing up for classes. One of the scanty few choices she ends up with is "Indiginous Linguistics." It's an odd course, but Lexie learns things in there that come in handy later.
She also sees things at a BDSM club that prove to be similarly useful. (How can I not adore a book that uses an S&M club as foreshadowing?)
More girls are dying around Milton College, and The Pack is angry. They are finally coalescing under their new Alpha, Renee. This time, the battle will be more ferocious, as they fight the ancient, powerful, full-blood werewolves known as the Rare wolves. And few who go up against the Rares live to tell the tale.
As much as I loved "Lunatic Fringe," I think I like "Hungry Ghost" even better. Maybe it's because I've figured out what Allison Moon does better than other writers of werewolf lore. She truly delves into the lupine mind that coexists inside each Pack-member, giving us a look at these creatures from the inside. The Pack only transform into wolves on the full moon, but that wolf-mind is always there, always working beneath the human mind.
Also, as new as she is to the werewolf world, Lexie is also a relative cub in the lesbian world. Until she lost her virginity last year, she hadn't really considered her sexuality much. She'd, er, satisfied her physical cravings, but there was no strong lust after either males or females. In the first book, she found that she was definitely into women. One thing I like about "Hungry Ghost" is that Lexie's biggest physical craving--despite her fun at the aforementioned club--was non-sexual, rather the supple, gentle back-scratching and hair-stroking the other pack members performed. Yeah, a toe-curling orgasm is a good thing, Lexie reasons, but after a shite day, it's nice just to have somebody to hold you.
We follow the Pack as they learn the tactics and skills they'll need to survive their forthcoming battle. Lexie has discovered something within herself that she teaches the Pack. When the time comes, the battle scene is one of the most exciting I've read in awhile. The Pack find the going tough, fighting hard for every victory, and suffering with every defeat. In the end, they find help from some unlikely allies.
With "Hungry Ghost," Allison Moon deftly avoids the many pitfalls second novels face. So often, the writer uses all of his or her creative ammunition in book one. By book two, we already know the main characters; we're already aware of our surroundings, and steeped in the series' mythology. So many second novels are comparably weak, because their characters don't wash well, and there's nothing new for them to do. They serve their purpose in book one, and they just get in the story's way in book two.
Not so in "Hungry Ghost." It's the exact opposite. In "Lunatic Fringe," Lexie was welcomed into the pack, but she remained an outsider, choosing her lover over the pack. In this book, she now lives in the house. Since the story is told from Lexie's point of view, we get to meet Renee, Hazel, Jenna, Mitch, and the rest, as if for the first time. The girls of the pack have changed, just as Lexie has. We are there as they learn one another's habits and oddities, and as a new type of sisterhood descends upon the Pack.
There are parts of "Hungry Ghost" that had me cracking up; others had me tearing-up. It is a beautiful emotional melange, as we follow Lexie and her friends preparing to face some of the most dangerous creatures on earth.
Best of all--notwithstanding studded outfits at the BDSM club--nobody freakin' sparkles.