Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 1-59578-251-6
Fantasy Romance, 2006
Jayelle Drewry returns to her werewolves in The Outcast. I have mixed feelings about the author’s werewolves, to be honest. The setting is too much like John Norman’s world of Gor where women are submissive and men are the dominant in every way. It is the “law” that any female werewolf in heat must avail herself to any werewolf male that happens to approach her, for one. In this story, Jane Lyke tries to deny Anthony by claiming that she’s carrying Roman Silva‘s child only to be beaten savagely by Anthony. She is rescued by Roman and his mate Sabine who take her in and allow Sabine’s sister Vivian to take her under her wing. A year later, Jane works at Vivian’s flower shop, wary of males after her encounter with Anthony, until Remy, Roman’s brother, shows up.
There is a very overpowering alpha-male vibe to this story, what with the constant fighting between the male werewolves to “mount” a prized female werewolf to beget some “whelps” and all. Still, I can’t help enjoying the primal savagery of the werewolves in this story. For these werewolves, it’s all about the survival of the fittest and the brutal competition among the males for the most fecund mates. Ms Drewry doesn’t apologize for her werewolves’ brutal nature nor does she sugarcoat the brutality Remy and even Jane are capable of when they give in to their animal instincts. I find the relationship between Remy and Jane a form of guilty pleasure that really makes me squirm in my seat just to admit that I like it because like everything else about The Outcast, it is very politically incorrect and if I’m in the mood for hardcore pearl-clutching I’d say that stories like this sort set back feminism by at least seven centuries. However, just because it’s politically incorrect doesn’t mean that this story doesn’t appeal to me. The bloody and very chauvinistic werewolf society brings out some of the most dramatic examples of alpha male behavior that I find thrilling in a perverse manner. There’s this scene where Remy tells Jane that he’s going to do it to her in wolf form. If you think that’s too much for you, do be warned because that example is just the tip of the iceberg.
The only weak link in this story, and it’s a big chink, so to speak, is a very dumb move by the characters to let Anthony go at the beginning because apparently a guilty conscience is too terrible a fate to bear so it’s better not to kill someone who will inevitably show up later to cause more havoc in their lives.
I suspect The Outcast is not for everyone. There are quite a number of scenes of this story which I feel are too much for me because of the overwhelmingly alpha-male overtones. It’s a good thing that Remy isn’t outright cruel or nasty towards Jane – although he’s not going to win the Sensitive Gentleman of the Year award anytime in this century or the next – or this book will give me an aneurysm the way John Norman’s Gor books almost did. Instead, this book is a prime example of guilty pleasure where I’m concerned.