Fenrir (book, MD Lachlan, 2011)
A review from SFX212.
THREE AND A HALF STARS
MD Lachlan/Victor Gollancz/504 pages
Once bitten, twice shy
The Norse gods are back, pre-enacting Ragnorok again in book two of Lachlan’s werewolf saga.
It’s 885, and the Viking age is at its peak. As the Northmen siege Paris a band of mortals are brought together, the cast of Wolfsangel reborn, to discover that they’re about to be screwed by the Aesir one more time.
Concordant with the novel’s déjà vu plot, what was good about Wolfsangel is good about Fenrir – Lachlan’s brutal magic, his attempts to depict mindsets from a different time, his use of historical incident and his handling of the gods – Loki gets a fair amount of ink here – are all outstanding.
But what was bad before is bad again. The story lacks drive, it’s monotonously repetitive – our leads are kidnapped and lost and captured again – and somewhat anticlimactic. Echoes of previous moments have you scrambling for the prior volume, and characters that are so brilliantly described one moment have suspicious changes of heart.
Furthermore, with the second book being so close in time to the first, the setting is too samey to make the repetition of the gods’ acts fresh. Moving only so far as the late middle ages would have provided much-needed contrast, but we’re still with the Vikings. At this rate we’ll be on volume 11 by the time we get to the present day, and that’s a lot of times to be reading the same story.
Did you know?
Plenty of historical types get namechecks here, including Rollo, general badass and first Norse ruler of Normandy.