Words, wordplay, reading, and writing have been favorites of Liz's since early childhood. She enjoys exploring science and science fiction.
Yes, What If They Were Real?
Have you been to the movies and seen a horror flick depicting blood-thirsty, shape-shifting people who transform into vicious wolves at the full moon? Do you think there is any truth to such stories, even if only a tiny grain?
How do such tales begin? It could be that people with rare deformities, or abnormal gowth of hair (hirsutism) were persecuted and whispered about, back in the bad old days when things such as witch trials were held.
The study of them is known as lycanthropy; there is even a branch of psychiatry dealing with humans who fancy themselves to be werewolves.
It seems humans have an irrational fear and hatred of anything different; unlike themselves. What a pity. What a boring world it would be if everyone were exactly alike. But, on the other hand, if we cannot learn to get along with those who are different, then boring would at least be peaceful. Or would it?
I’ve pondered this often, and it is doubtful that Utopia is all it’s cracked up to be. It seems to be bound into human nature to find something to gripe about. The weather. The food. The size of someone else’s property. Money. It’s everywhere and all consuming.
What Would Werewolves Actually Do?
If you are curious, and have a liking for fantasy and the pseudo-paranormal, you might like to explore this question in a marvelously crafted series of books by author Nicky Charles.
The books are hard to categorize by genre, being part sci-fi,/fantasy, part drama, part romance, and part "horror," although that aspect is minimal.
Within their pages, she has created an entire complex society of weres, and she has done so skillfully enough as to make the stories believable: the sort of book you are sad see come to an end because you were so immersed in the story, and empathizing with the characters.
The books can be read in any order, but make the most sense if read in sequence.
How Do They Manage Their Families?
In the first book, The Mating, she explores pack life, and alliances between packs. Pack structure is also well explained and interaction between members is explored as well, giving a background structure for the subsequent books. Some of the characters are followed through the series, sometimes playing a major role and at other times being merely a reference point.
The picture of pack life is painted as groups of families living together on a large compound, just as human families might do. The weres, though, live in more remote areas, and keep to themselves to avoid being discovered for what they are. This, even though they spend the majority of their time in human form, even holding jobs outside the compound.
Past prejudices nearly wiped out the species, and there are strict laws in place to manage self-preservation. They are not depicted as bloodthirsty killers, but rather as a separate species who enjoys shifting into their wolfen forms more on a recreational basis for a romp through the woods.
What Would Happen if They Were Discovered?
In the next book, The Keeping, we find the law that determines what happens if the human population finds out about the pack. Rather than being brought in, questioned, possibly tortured or used in laboratory experiments, they will quietly disappear. How? You’ll have to read the book. No spoilers here!
Do any humans even know about them? Some do--a very few carefully selected and trusted individuals. But the packs have their own medical clinics and practitioners, as their unique physiology cannot be allowed to be seen by standard medics.
This is a strong species with amazing healing and restorative powers in any case, and their ability to heal from even fairly serious wounds in short order would surely have human doctors buzzing, and before long, they would no doubt be hunted down for laboratory study. That cannot be allowed to happen.
Are Any Weres Unaware of Who They Are?
Sometimes there are lone wolves who may or may not know their heritage. In most such cases, they are depicted as having been adopted or found, and raised with humans. At a certain age, their wolf sides begin to emerge, and they may be confused and scared.
In The Finding, the next book in the series, this entire scenario is explored in great depth, and again features characters familiar from the first two books, Kane, the Alpha of one of the packs, features prominently, as does a turncoat within their midst.
Again there is a set of carefully prescribed protocols in place for dealing with these unfortunates, helping them to adapt and understand their unique biology.
What Happens if a Wolf Sours?
If some circumstances cause an individual to turn his back on the group, and go off on his own as a lone wolf, he is known as a Rogue Wolf, and is considered dangerous both to the surrounding community and to the survival of the pack, lest he cause them to be discovered.
Very complex actions are set in place to find this individual, and that is explored in the next book, Betrayed: Days of the Rogue.
Within this volume are hinted at other species of creatures that normally blend in with the human populations, mainly the Fae. I have to wonder if Ms. Charles is contemplating a new series dealing with them.
Just One Warning:
I must caution you, however: this is adult reading material.
While there are precious few incidents of blood and gore within the entire series, there are numerous very steamy, erotic and graphically described encounters between the characters.
Is There More?
You bet there is! I’ve provided only teasers here; a brief overview. The characters are all complex and well-developed, and the story lines are engrossing. These are books that are hard to put down until read through to the end; real page-turners.
Collectively, the series is subtitled “Law of the Lycans,” for Lycans are what werewolves call themselves, and all of them are available for e-book readers, and some of the titles are also to be had in hardcover and paperback.
By the end of the series, the reader is almost disappointed that these characters are products of the author’s vivid imagination. She makes them seem like folks you’d want to meet.
History and Misconceptions That May Have Given Rise to the Legend
A fascinating, yet poignant true story of Julia Pastrana, known in her day as 'the ugliest woman in the world,' is told by fellow author Nell Rose.
Werewolves, or shape-shifting man-wolves, have a long history, and it was not always associated with the full moon.
© 2014 Liz Elias
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on August 26, 2015:
Yes, indeed; the portrayal by Ms. Charles is so far from the Hollywood stereotype as to barely be in the same genre at all. In fact, I would not put it there; these are not horror stories at all.
And while the full moon does play a role in these books, but it is not an overriding theme by any means.
Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the books.
temptor94 on August 26, 2015:
Cool review of the books! I will definitely check out the series. Werewolves are fascinating creatures, though fictional. I wish they were real, not in a killer wolf sort-of-way, but more like the semi humans that have the freedom of turning into their howling frolicking animal form. I think the full moon association is more to do with bringing out our animal instincts, as the moon does seem to have an impact on our mental states.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on October 09, 2014:
Hi there, colorfulone ,
Thanks very much. I'm sure you will enjoy this series, should you decide to read it.
Susie Lehto from Minnesota on October 08, 2014:
Dzy, this is a compelling book review right to the end. I do like great stories with werewolves sometimes. Sounds interesting.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on September 17, 2014:
Hello, AliciaC - I'm pleased you enjoyed this overview review. Do look up these books; they are quite delightful. Thanks so very much.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 16, 2014:
Thanks for the overview of this book series. The stories certainly sound like the types that I enjoy. The plot summaries are very interesting.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on September 16, 2014:
@ nightcats - Thank you very much. I would not have previously thought I would read this genre, either; I stumbled across the first book when I was broke, and searching for under $1 or free books to download to my Nook. ;-) I was pleasantly surprised, for it did not at all fit the usual stereotype. Then, I was hooked. ;-)
@ MizBejabbers - I don't know; I have not watched that show. I've seen only snatches of it if hubby was watching, but it's not really his thing, either. I rather doubt a connection, for even the little bits I've seen of that show seem to be done in that dark lighting, hard-to-see action of which Hollywood seems so fond when presenting "spooky" themes. I'm delighted you enjoyed the review, and I hope you might give the books a try. ;-)
@ RonElFran - I agree; Ms. Charles has done a superb job of imagining and inventing such a complex thing as an entire society with rules, laws and protocols.
And yes, the movies always portray lone, bloodthirsty killers, and these books have precious little of that, and what there is, is either justified, or the weres involved are operating outside the law, and being hunted down for questioning in front of their High Council, and probable imprisonment.
Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on September 16, 2014:
Interesting subject. I never considered the social life of werewolves. I guess that's because in the movies they always seemed lone individuals. It's impressive that Nicky Charles has been able to imagine in detail what a society of werewolves might be like.
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on September 16, 2014:
I probably would be scared witless. LOL I used to love werewolf stories and probably would enjoy these book. Are her books any connection to the TV shows about the Lycans on the syfy channel? I really like your review and think that anyone planning to read these books can use it to organize the reading order.
June Campbell from North Vancouver on September 16, 2014:
You have done an excellent job of this review. This is not the genre that I read, but your review is outstanding,
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on September 15, 2014:
Hi there, WiccanSage,
This is a very enjoyable series. I'm nearly finished reading the last book, and I'm sad there are no others (dare I say 'yet' ??) I'm hopeful the author will produce more of these.
I'm most pleased you enjoyed the review, and I hope you enjoy the books as well. Thanks so much!
Mackenzie Sage Wright on September 15, 2014:
Sounds awesome, I definitely have to look into these, MsLizzy! I love books that seem to transcend genre and just tell a good story. Sounds like they'll be a great read for October!
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on September 15, 2014:
Thanks--I'm glad you enjoyed the review, and the spin I gave. It is a little tricky to review an entire series. I wrote a similar review of Anne McCaffrey's Dragons of Pern series a year or so ago.
I hope you will try these stories; you may be surprised at how enjoyable they are. A lot of the time, they read more like mysteries or romances than the traditional Hollywood version of werewolf tales.
Rachael O'Halloran from United States on September 15, 2014:
Well, you certainly have given the format of book reviews a new spin! I wasn't prepared for the introduction of books, and before I knew it, I was reading about book 3. lol
Although I don't read fantasy, vampire or werewolves types of stories, I do like some paranormal. Because of the way you wrote about them, I just may give these books a whirl.
Thanks for the honest review. The books look great.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on September 15, 2014:
@ billybuc - I'm delighted you enjoyed this review, and I thank you for such high praise! This seems to be one area where I got away with a 'hook' catchy title that also showed up in searches of "the Big G." ;-)
@ Nell Rose- Oh, good! I hoped you would enjoy this, known as you are for finding similar topics on which to report. The capsules only indicate Kindle availability, but these books are also available on the Nook platform, as that is what I have, and how I became acquainted with the series. I have no problem with you including a link on your hub about Julia; in fact, I thank you. Cheers!
Nell Rose from England on September 15, 2014:
Hi Lizzy, this is just my kind of reading! I have lots of werewolf stories, mainly for teens but they are really good, so yes I would love this! Great hub, and thanks so much for the link! I will put yours on my Julia hub too, if that's okay?
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 15, 2014:
What a clever book review. You grabbed me with the title and then led me through the review totally interested. Well done!