Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan

18 June, 2012

Talulla Rising, the second in Glen Duncan’s werewolf trilogy is as mind-blasting as its prequel, The Last Werewolf. At times disturbing, revolting and difficult to read, nevertheless, read it you must because you will want to know what happens to Talulla, whether it’s going to be ok, whether she’s going to find peace and happiness, whether she’ll survive.

It’s difficult to write about this book without giving too much away just because Duncan brings in curveballs one after another, not letting you breathe before twisting your head this way and that. All I want to say is, don’t read the ending. Just read it right through because part of the thrill of reading Duncan’s novel is waiting to see whether you can second guess him. And I guarantee that you won’t.

The madness starts from page one as Talulla is on the run with her facilitator, Cloquet, and it’s approaching full moon. Pregnant and grieving, things never go according to plan and Talulla is left lying in her not-so-secret cabin, bloody and tired as she is ambushed by vampires. As Jacqueline Delon kidnaps her baby, Talulla must find the vampires and save them both. And in doing so, confront who and what she has become.

OK, I’m trying hard not do put down any spoilers except for the obvious. I enjoyed this book tremendously although it was much more violent and disturbing than the previous one. In fact, I rather think it went overboard. Since Duncan seems to be going all the way with his trilogy and apparently gore, horror and violence sells, and his subject matter is truly horrific, I can understand. Well, a little, as I have to admit there were bits I didn’t like reading.

Considering Talulla Rising is written from the point of view of Talulla and is supposed to be a woman’s novel rather than a man’s, it seemed that it was even more violent, only slightly counterbalanced by feelings of family and community as opposed to the loneliness and noir of The Last Werewolf. Talulla is a different animal compared to Jake Marlowe; she’s more pragmatic, less of a romantic. I kind of missed all the literary allusions that were so generously sprinkled in Jake’s diaries in the previous book.

But then she is having to deal with death, grief, being pregnant and the literal horror of giving birth to a monster, so I guess she’s got a lot on her plate, enough to wipe away any sentimentality and twee-ness. And people are out to kill her.

So in general, I wouldn’t recommend Talulla Rising for people with weak stomachs. Saying that, it is a cracking, fast-paced read and I want to know what will happen next and will be eagerly looking out for the final volume. One thing I have to say, Duncan is a master at hooking the reader.

5 Responses to “Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan”

  1. Alex in Leeds Says:

    I’m surprised to hear you say it’s more violent. I never finished The Last Werewolf because I got frustrated with Jake’s self love fest. I did think it might be worth picking up Talullah to see if he’s any better with a female lead, but it’s that ‘overboard’ quality you describe that I also disliked and which really puts me off.

    Still, I suspect Duncan’s trilogy won’t be the last ‘literary horror’ novels we see in the bookshops so maybe I’ll find another to try!

  2. I haven’t read this series at all, but all this talk of gore and violence really excites me (my shameful secret is that I love violent books)
    Thank you for the review! Do visit!

  3. Violet Says:

    Mmm. Werewolves. Vampires. Violent and disturbing. I don’t think it sounds like my kind of thing, but I’m glad you’re enjoying the horror. Isn’t it strange and interesting how we all like different sorts of books?

    • sakura Says:

      It’s one of the things I love about finding out what others are reading. I’m often surprised by people’s choices which makes the person more interesting to me. If I had to guess what people like to read, I’m often wrong!

      Yeah, this is one of the books that I might hesitate in recommending to everyone purely because there is a lot of violence and gore. It’s pretty extreme. But it seems a lot of people like it (including me).

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