AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Official Universal Studios Wolf Man books

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Welcome to Day 9 of AWESOME-tober-fest 2010.  This is werewolf novel week.  Today, let’s take a look at official Universal Studios Wolf Man books.

Universal Studios has often tried to spread their popular monsters into other media besides movies.  One of those being paperback fiction.  Despite having a stable of very popular monsters, their efforts have been hit or miss.  Here are a group of fully authorized Universal Studios Wolf Man novels.

I’ll review the ones I’ve actually read.

The Wolfman novelization
The Wolfman by Jonathan Maberry – This one is the most recent.  It was released in February 2010.  This is the movie novelization of the recent Wolf Man reboot by Joe Johnston staring Benicio Del Toro and Sir Anthony Hopkins.  I haven’t read this, but I enjoyed the movie enough that I may try to grab this off  I know the movie had a bunch of script problems and changes, I’d be interested to see how this novel’s story is different.  If you haven’t, check out the movie.  I’ll talk more about the movie, including a review, in the next few weeks.

Blood Moon Rising
Blood Moon Rising (Universal Studios Monsters Book 2) by Larry Mike Garmon – Released in 2001, this was book 2 in a Juvenile Fiction series. I mentioned Book 3 during AWESOME-tober-fest last year because it features Frankenstein.  When I stumbled across this book at the annual library book sale this year for less than a quarter, I decided to pick it up.  And I read it.  And it sucked.  They aren’t kidding when they say JUVENILE fiction.  This book was like one of the bad Scooby Doo episodes.  The story revolves around three teens who mistakenly release the Universal Monsters into this world and must chase them all down and trap them back into their movies.  Book 1 featured Dracula.  This book features Wolf Man and the story takes place down south in the Florida swamps.  The whole book and storyline is a pale imitation of a Three Investigators or Hardy Boys book.  It may work for late elementary and junior high kids, but it’s really bad for anyone that’s any more mature than that.  I was really disappointed at the cheesiness of this book.

Wolf Man Hunter's Moon
Hunter’s Moon (The Wolf Man) by Michael Jan Friedman – This book is part of a series of novels released around 2006 that was supposed to update the Universal Monsters with more adult horror stories.  The series included Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and The Creature from the Black Lagoon.  These books were direct sequels to the movies and existing within the monsters’ worlds as opposed to the previous book in this list which turned the monsters into some type of magical manifestation of the movies.  This Wolf Man book picks up about four years after the 1941 Lon Chaney Wolf Man movie.  Lawrence Talbot is rescued from his tomb by a group calling themselves the Knights of the Wolf.  They say their mission is to protect the bearer of the wolf’s curse from those that would destroy him.  Another group, The Enclave, is trying to do the opposite, and rid the world of his evil.  Both groups have been at war with each other for centuries.  What a great setup.  Am I right?  As this book was setting up it’s tale, I was thoroughly excited to see how it played out.  However, the premise didn’t pay off the way I expected, nor wanted.  Nothing happens.  85% of this book is Lawrence Talbot hanging out at the Knights’ headquarters and trying not to fall in love with the beautiful Antoinette.  We don’t really get any good action until there’s about 75 pages left.  There is a twist reveal at the end that is nice, but the overwhelming NOTHING that happens for the first 150 pages completely stymied me.  Talbot doesn’t really even “wolf out” until over 100 pages into the story.  Considering this book is a direct sequel to the movie and has a very solid premise with the opposing groups trying to kill/protect the wolf man, it really does nothing with it and meanders through a boring narrative to a mildly entertaining end.  Come ON, people.  Is it really that hard to write a good wolf man book?

Return of the Wolf Man
Return of the Wolf Man by Jeff Rovin – This book was released around 2008.  It sounds like it’s a sequel to the 1941 Wolf Man movie, however, it’s actually a sequel to the 1948 horror comedy Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein (which, technically, is the final classic Universal Wolf Man movie).  Like the movie it also features Dracula and Frankenstein.  I haven’t been able to track down a copy of this book just yet, but it sounds like it may be pretty good.  I have a love/hate relationship with the movie which you can see from my review last year (click the earlier link).  I love the idea of the movie, I just do not enjoy the actual movie.  Maybe that means I won’t like reading this book, but I’d still like to give it a try.

Those are some of the “official” Universal Studios Wolf Man books. Of the two I read, I didn’t like either of them. It’s a shame, because I liked the two books I reviewed from Monday and Tuesday. But the official Universal Wolf Man books suck. Big time.

Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.


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