Reviewed by Candace Cunard for TeensReadToo.com
The first thing that hit me about this book was the richness of backstory and the sheer size of the cast of characters.
Although the plot centers around the titular lonely teen werewolf, Kalix MacRinnalch, she lives in a rich world populated with numerous other characters whose actions interfere with or drive important developments in the story. Fifteen-year-old Kalix is the youngest daughter of the Thane of the MacRinnalch Clan of werewolves. She's strong and she knows it, and she doesn't get along well with others--she escapes from the clan stronghold in Scotland and makes her way to London after almost killing her father in a fight. Addicted to laudanum and in poor shape, she is set upon by members of her own Clan who think she should pay for what she did to her father. Her older sister and London-based fashion designer, Thrix, helps her as best she can, but when Kalix sells the protective amulet Thrix gave her, she's easily discovered by other werewolves trying to hunt her down.
Kalix's attempts to escape the members of her clan who are trying to kill her lands her squarely in the path of Daniel, a normal university student in London who's never thought about anything like werewolves before. He and his roommate, Moonglow, do their best to protect Kalix and convince her that there are things worth living for, but outside forces intervene and place Kalix directly in the middle of MacRinnalch Clan politics.
This sprawling narrative can be unwieldy at times, and the large numbers of characters and situations initially may seem disjointed, but when the plots begin to intertwine and work together, the many different storylines coalesce into a whole that is better than the sum of its parts.
The beginning of the novel works to set up all of the information necessary for the reader to understand the world that Kalix and her friends and enemies move in, preparing the reader for the meatier middle scenes. The occasional rapid-fire scene shifts and point of view shifts were initially difficult, but these problems ironed themselves out as the ook progressed.
I was really impressed by the different characters portrayed throughout. Kalix is by no means the only one with depth; some of the other werewolves, paranormal creatures, and humans that she runs into are equally well-drawn, with their little quirks and amusing habits. Thrix, Kalix's older sister, is the werewolf enchantress, and yet she enjoys designing clothing, some of which appeals to buyers from alternate dimensions. Malveria, one of these customers, begins as what appears to be a comic character but ends up having a real impact on the plot later on. The politics of the MacRinnalch Clan are carried out by a large array of characters, each with their own distinct motivations and machinations.
LONELY WEREWOLF GIRL is not a simple read, but the complexity is part of the pleasure of reading this book.
I really liked this modern werewolf story. And it was rather refreshing for it to be a werewolf story that didn't even peripherally include vampires. I liked the mix of fashion, violence and great humour. It was well-written, original and a lot of fun to read. The ending was a little loose, and I hope that there may someday be a sequel or something else set in this alternate London/Scotland.