Life is complicated for teenage protagonist Connor Lewis. A socially awkward geek who flees from New York to attend boarding school in Paris, he’s also, oh yeah, at the centre of the political machinations of a society of werewolves. The Night Has Teeth, the debut novel from writer Kat Kruger and Fierce Ink Press, is a gripping journey into paranormal YA fiction, a genre that, I must admit, I haven’t visited since I was actually in that age range. I’m pleased to say, though, that this is a far cry from the days of Fear Street, also surpassing contemporaries in the field (Twilight, anyone? No? Good). This is something much more ambitious and fun.
The book takes you on a thrilling ride through modern-day Paris, as Connor tries—and fails—to live his life as a normal teenager. His mysterious host, the tattoo artist Amara, and her handsome, brooding boyfriend, Arden, are equal parts distant and compelling. They’re his introduction to Parisian society, a world much more complicated than he originally thought. The characters that inhabit this world are complex, engaging, and the reader is always left wondering what hidden information is going to come to light.
Like that werewolves are real? Well, yes. But forget what you think you know about werewolves. In this world, there are two types: an ancient bloodline of born werewolves, who, upon transformation, take the form of actual wolves. The legacy of born werewolves reaches far back into human history, where they have had to continually defend themselves against persecution, hunting, and attempts to eradicate their existence altogether. If that sounds bad, it’s even worse for the bitten werewolves, who, upon transformation, become the human-wolf hybrid known to horror movie audiences. Their “curse” haunts them, as they belong to two worlds, yet fully to neither, stalked by madness and memory.
Enter the mad scientist, who seeks a cure to the “curse” that is werewolf blood. Kruger seamlessly integrates the science of werewolf genetics into this plot, making it a refreshing mash-up of paranormal and science fiction themes. On top of this, the werewolf society, itself, has an intricate structure reminiscent of RPGs like Vampire: The Masquerade. When Connor finds himself unwittingly tangled up in the politics of werewolf society, he must determine what role he, a human, plays in the unfolding drama.
Kruger builds this world well, with sharp attention paid to both detail and realism. As the plot unfolds, the twists and turns make you feel like you’re navigating the Parisian catacombs, the book taking you somewhere dark, mysterious, and unknown. Yet, at the same time, you don’t want to turn back.
Political intrigue, geek culture, teen angst, science fiction, horror: this novel has it all. While I’m not up to date on what writers are doing with werewolves, these days, I daresay that Kruger has written them so well that it should become canon. I’m already looking forward to the next in what I hope will be a long lasting series.
Intrigued? Read more on the Born and Bitten Blog Tour! If you’re dying for more, you’re in luck – Paper Droids is having its first contest, with an ebook copy of The Night Has Teeth up for grabs! Enter below for a chance to win!