Move Over Michael Chrichton
“Tamed” is a slick werewolf thriller that puts a new twist on an old favorite and emerges with a great modern day fantasy. Douglas Brown balances the right amount of adventure with enough of a touch of social criticism that you know not to take the fantastical events of this story entirely seriously. The result is a narrative that has fun with pretty implausible situations and kind of winks as it takes the reader through an explosive, action filled joy ride. This is a quick, entertaining read, the kind of book that’s perfect for a three or four hour plane ride.
There are some readers that get a little bent out of shape over implausible events in a book or film. “The Fast and the Furious” movies come to mind as narratives that break the laws of physics every five seconds and which alienate a certain percentage of their viewers for that reason. However, I’m the type of person who likes that type of thing. If I want reality, I’ll look out a window. I prefer it when an author feels the freedom to explore ideas using radical scenarios that are stimulating and engaging. I think you go into “Tamed” knowing what you’re in for, and Brown doesn’t ever break the rules he establishes from the beginning.
I think it’s rather amusing that Brown conceived of having a corporation that would be willing to exploit the existence of werewolves for financial gain. I also think it’s revealing that in the reviews I’ve read of this book nobody finds that narrative device to be destructive to their suspension of disbelief. You don’t read any reviews that say, “a corporation would never do that,” which is a pretty scary insight into our current social state of mind when you think about it.
The corporate introduction of werewolves as pets to the affluent in mainstream society is not the focus of the novel, and is only revealed in passing—but that subdued back story really captured my imagination. There are a lot of hints of bribery and behind the scenes collusion which, yeah, are exactly what big dollar enterprises like this would probably do. In fact, the WereHouse is the most ruthless, blood hungry entity in the whole book (which is ironic in a novel populated by man eating beasts).
The story mainly follows the events that lead to the collapse of the “werewolves as pets” empire. Revealing the true nature of the werewolves as well as the death squads that are employed to keep rouges in line provides a nice sequence of revelations throughout the book. The narrative is kind of like the breaking of a scandal, you see it at its very worst and then you go backwards along the sequence of bad decisions that led to the ultimate corruption. Lance Armstrong would probably read this and have a lot of sympathy for the WereHouse.
This is the kind of novel that could be adapted to the big screen with relative ease. I kept imagining Jeremy Renner in the role of Aiden and maybe Robin Wright as Christine. The book works very well as an action fantasy, but it gives you just that touch of social criticism (if you feel inclined to dwell on such things) to lend the overall novel some teeth. Highly recommended!
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