Saturday, October 8, 2022

Blood And Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause


BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE is such a weird book. It revels in its 90s-ness the way your one hipster friend who still owns a VHS player and Instagrams their collection of Pogs does, and it's weirdly sexual in a way that I'm not sure a YA today would be allowed to be without drawing all sorts of outcry. I mean, for starters, there's ~SEDUCTION~ where one of the heroine's boyfriends is waiting for her naked under a sheet with candles all over his room lol. And also, the heroine is sixteen and in a love triangle between a human boyfriend her own age (Mr. Bedsheets and Fire Hazards) and a werewolf guy who is-- ahem-- TWENTY-FOUR. (Also it's implied that he may have banged her mom. Yum. Not.)

I can see why this book gets a lot of flak from critics. It's kind of like a gender-reversed TWILIGHT, if Edward were a girl named Vivian who was also a werewolf. (Her mom is even named Esme!) But there's so much more about it, too. It's a coming-of-age story that's about pushing boundaries and wanting to grow up but also wanting to explore and find adulthood and be your own person. Vivian has grown up under her wolf pack but she doesn't want to be wedded to convention, and she loathes how juvenile and immature the only other werewolf kids in her pack (all guys of course) are. So it's not really any wonder that she would be attracted to their total opposites: a sensitive artist type (Aiden) or a powerful and dominant man who doesn't need to make displays because he owns them (Gabriel).

The weird age gap is uncomfortable, especially since the heroine is underage. If she were seventeen it would have been better, and it would have been even better still if she were eighteen. But I also can see why the author chose to make that choice because sixteen is an age when you can start to feel like you have your whole life figured out (even if you totally don't). Also it was written in the '90s when fewer people had the means of giving a shit. I was mostly able to roll with it because of the fact that Vivian isn't human. I think my favorite parts of the book were actually the action scenes and the scenes describing the political intrigues between the pack members. Even though this is a short book, I felt like a lot of work went into fleshing out the world building and the way they changed. I'm not usually into werewolf books because they're all furry and sweaty and gross, but in this book, paired with the beautiful writing, I felt like Klause really did a great job portraying the beauty of the page.

Also, unlike THE SILVER KISS, which was about vampires (and which I usually prefer), I felt like the heroine was a lot more likable (even if she was a bitch; she was my bitch, you know?). It also has more of a romance ending than THE SILVER KISS, which I feel is more of a love story. Apparently Blood and Chocolate was made into a movie, but I have never seen it. Now I'm kind of curious to see how it compares to the book, which is pretty dark and often brutal. I'm guessing they aged up the heroine and took out a lot of the violence and sex.

I don't know. I kind of liked it. Is that weird?

4 out of 5 stars

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