Dog Days

Dog Days
TA Moore
Difficulty: Medium
Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Description:

The world ends not with a bang, but with a downpour. Tornadoes spin through the heart of London, New York cooks in a heat wave that melts tarmac, and Russia freezes under an ever-thickening layer of permafrost. People rally at first—organizing aid drops and evacuating populations—but the weather is only getting worse.

In Durham, mild-mannered academic Danny Fennick has battened down to sit out the storm. He grew up in the Scottish Highlands, so he’s seen harsh winters before. Besides, he has an advantage. He’s a werewolf. Or, to be precise, a weredog. Less impressive, but still useful.

Except the other werewolves don’t believe this is any ordinary winter, and they’re coming down over the Wall to mark their new territory. Including Danny’s ex, Jack–the Crown Prince Pup of the Numitor’s pack–and the prince’s brother, who wants to kill him.

A wolf winter isn’t white. It’s red as blood.

Depending on your level of involvement with self-published fiction, you may or may not be aware of the absolutely massive amount of werewolf-themed, Twilight inspired romances published every month. I regret to inform you that most of these are not very good. But a few are, and I think Dog Days is one of them, ironically for reasons that seem to alienate regular readers of the genre. The setting is grim, apocalyptic, and savage with a pronounced horror element, and Danny and Jack reflect their surroundings. Their semi-animal natures come through in their personalities, especially Jack’s, and it’s not often pretty. The romance between the two, if we choose to call it that, isn’t the kind readers of the genre are used to. Jack and Danny have a history, and there’s as much tension and antagonism between them as there is chemistry. It’s a believable relationship, more so than the love-at-first-sight ones typical of the genre, but it’s not always a pleasant one. 

Moore follows the science-fiction tradition of opting not to explain everything that’s going on to her audience. It’s not precisely clear why the globe is freezing over (climate change?) or if it’s actually the wolf winter, and the rules governing the reclusive werewolf community are never fully explained. None of the magical elements are made clear either, though, to be fair, they’re magic. But I don’t think it is necessary to understand every aspect of a story to enjoy it. If anything, some confusion can actually enhance it by placing the reader in a similar position to the characters, who also don’t know everything that’s going on.