Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cycle of the Werewolf.


Title/Author:  Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King. (Illustrations by Berni Wrightson)

Genre: Horror.

Publisher: Signet Books.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character: Marty and Al.

All in all: Cool!

Synopsis: The first scream came from the snowbound railwayman who felt the fangs ripping at his throat. The next month there was a scream of ecstatic agony from the woman attacked in her snug bedroom.

Now scenes of unbelieving horror come each time the full moon shines on the isolated Maine town of Tarker Mills. No one knows who will be attacked next. But one thing is sure.

When the moon grows fat, a paralyzing fear sweeps through Tarker Mills. For snarls that sound like human words can be heard whining through the wind. And all around are the footprints of a monster whose hunger cannot be sated. ~Goodreads.com

 My Thoughts: The novella Cycle of the Werewolf comes in a pretty cool package.  Each chapter is a month starting at the beginning of the year, January, and culminates the following December.  Also part of the package are warped Norman Rockwell-esque illustrations giving the novella a comic book feel.  The drawings are at times dour and a bit comical in their exaggeration, but give an extra dimension to the tale. 

The questions from my Read-A-Long contain a lot of my thoughts, but one aspect that I did not discuss yet intrigued me is how the werewolf became a werewolf in the first place. He picked some flowers by a cemetery.  Ones he had never seen before.  By the time he got them home they were dead.  Each one had turned black.  Has anyone ever heard that mythology before?  This twist is imaginative and clever.  Picking flowers by a cemetery is sweet in a kind of macabre way and then for the act to go completely sinister is a horrific counterpoint. 

The werewolf as a villain is intriguing as well.  At first he does not know what has happened to him.  Only that he comes home with scratches and bloody clothes, yet feels strong and refreshed after the full moon.  Then he has the self realization that he is the werewolf.  The creature that everyone is town is talking about, is afraid of yet cant' catch.  He justifies it and I feel this is the most interesting aspect of his awareness.  So many people justify their actions, or just don't take responsibility.  This creature does both. 

Marty, the hero of the tale, is a ten year old boy in a wheelchair who has more heart and common sense than most of the people in the story.  He keeps calm under pressure and nothing is said about his own thoughts of being confined to a wheelchair for his entire life, as if he accepts his situation with realism and grace.  It's the people around him who are edgy and uncomfortable.  His father, who is a coach is nervous and phony whenever he is around Marty, his mother is overprotective and his sister jealous yet scared for Marty.  His uncle Al is someone who treats Marty as just a kid and just a kid he is as he plans for the Fourth of July and goes trick or treating.  But Al also respects Marty and is willing to give his theory about the creature terrorizing the town a shot. 

The cycle closes with December, New Year's Eve, no less and Marty hatches a plan to put an end to the terror.  With Al's help, he is successful.  A little boy in a wheelchair doing what no one else in town could for a whole year.  Perhaps because he is a little boy and can dream bigger than the adults around him.  Cycle of the Werewolf is not to be missed if you're a Stephen King fan, or just like werewolves.  Pick up the illustrated version for an extra treat. 

If you'd like to check out my Read-a-Long posts click HERE and HERE

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