Wolfsong

by TJ Klune

Hardcover, 2022

Status

Available

Call number

813.6

Publication

Tor (2022), Edition: Main Market, 592 pages

Description

Ox Matheson was twelve when his father taught him a lesson: Ox wasn't worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.Ox was sixteen when the energetic Bennett family moved in next door, harbouring a secret that would change him forever. For the family are shapeshifters, who can transform into wolves at will. Drawn to their magic, loyalty and enduring friendships, Ox feels a gulf between this extraordinary new world and the quiet life he's known. He also finds an ally in Joe, the youngest Bennett boy. Joe is charming and handsome, but haunted by scars he cannot heal.Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town, and tore a hole in his heart. Violence flared, tragedy split the pack and Joe left town, leaving Ox behind. Three years later, the boy is back. Except now he's a man - and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.Wolfsong is the first book in the Green Creek series by bestselling author TJ Klune. Continue the journey with Ravensong.Praise for TJ Klune:'Like being wrapped up in a big gay blanket' - V. E. Schwab'A whimsical, warm-hearted fantasy'- The Guardian'A radiant treat' - Locus Magazine… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member SerenaYates
There are a lot of shifter books, and I try to read as many of them as I can fit into my reading schedule without neglecting any of the other favorite genres I have, but ‘Wolfsong’ is special. Not just does it have a mythology nearly all its own, it also has characters who touched my heart
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deeply. The emotional torment Ox goes through, the discoveries he makes as he grows up, and the revelations he finds once he knows where to look are amazing. He describes everything that happens in such simple, straightforward terms that I couldn’t help but be pulled in. Both Ox and Joe are fascinating, complicated, flawed, and “real” characters and bring this story to life in a way that had me spellbound.

Ox tells the story in first person, and while he has very low self-confidence in the beginning – he's been told he is stupid and slow by his father who then abandoned Ox and his mother – he grows into an amazingly strong man who does things no human is supposed to be able to do.

Joe, the “boy” who fascinates Ox is the local alpha's son and next in line to become alpha. He has already lived through hell once when he was less than ten years old. Then he finds Ox, his mate, only to lose everything again when the villain returns to kill Joe's father and Joe feels he has to avenge him. Long years of separation follow, before they ever actually mate, and both characters grow tremendously, but the pain of separation is a constant companion.

Ox and Joe’s romance, as you may have realized from the description above, is not an easy one. The seven-year age difference alone makes things interesting – Joe is only eleven when he meets Ox. Joe may know that Ox is his mate, but Ox is clueless for the longest time. I was still able to feel they were meant for each other, but it was romance/friendship without any sexual feelings at that point. Just as they finally begin to date all hell breaks loose, and they are physically separated. The three years of separation and the internal and external battles they have to fight once they are reunited are gripping. It’s almost like a second courtship when they finally physically come together and made the emotional payoff all the better.

If you’re interested in character-driven stories, werewolves, and extra-long novels with gripping story arcs, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. The combination of fantastic characters and the unique werewolf/supernatural world T.J. Klune has developed is wrapped in a breathtaking, emotionally exhausting novel and makes this a very satisfying read.


NOTE: This book was provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.
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LibraryThing member krau0098
Series Info/Source: This is the first book in the Green Creek series. I got an eGalley of this through NetGalley to review.

Thoughts: I really loved the first part of this book, thought the middle was slow, but enjoyed the ending. Prior to read this I had read a number of Klune's other books. I
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really loved "The House in the Cerulean Sea", "Under the Whispering Door", and "The Lightning-Struck Heart". I liked, but didn't love, "In the Lives of Puppets". I have not read his The Extraordinaries series. For some reason I had no idea that the Green Creek series existed until I saw it up for review on NetGalley.

This story is told from Ox's POV. Ox is a bit slow and has had a tough upbringing, but all that changes when the Bennett family moves in next door and Joe (the youngest Bennet) chooses Ox as his. Ox doesn't know that the Bennetts are shapeshifters but he does know he is finally finding the family he never knew he needed. Years pass, Ox's feelings towards Joe start to become more, then violence strikes and Joe leaves town...leaving Ox to protect the territory and fight through trouble that plagues Green Creek...that is until Joe comes back.

I really loved the beginning of this book. Ox is a bit slow and the story is told in a very lyrical but stylistic way that echos Ox thinking. We find that it's not really that Ox is slow, he just thinks through things a bit differently than others. I enjoyed the writing style and found it very engaging and unique. There is a ton of humor as well, which had me laughing out loud numerous times. In fact I really enjoyed a lot about this book until Joe leaves. Then things just slow down a lot. There are some good action scenes but you really feel the loneliness and ennui that Ox is experiencing and it went on for too long for the reader. It just gets too serious and too slow.

Things pick up again once Joe returns and I enjoyed watching Ox, Joe, and Joe's family navigate through all the of the issues that were created both by Joe's leaving and by the evil werewolf and mage Joe is trying to hunt down.

I know that there have been complaints about the weirdness in the age gap between Ox and Joe. The age gap is really only 5 years, which isn't that big. The fact that Joe identifies Ox as his true love at the age of 10 is a bit weird, but not that weird considering the supernatural/paranormal aspects involved. Additionally, they end up being just very close trusting friends at this point. A point is made that Ox is a bit developmentally slow and Joe has had to grow up way too fast, so that evens the mental playing field some. Also, Ox and Joe aren't romantically involved until Joe is in his upper teens and Ox is in his low 20's. Even then it's mostly fooling around and not anything beyond kissing. They don't really get serious until both characters are in their 20's...so I guess I don't see the issue here. I mean my grandparents were 10 years apart in age and they did fine...5 years is nothing.

My biggest issue with the book was how much re-hashing of emotions there are throughout the story; this needs some editing to take out a lot of repetitive angsting over the same issues again and again. This book is a couple hundred pages longer than it actually needs to be. I ended up skimming a lot of parts where Ox was rehashing the same issues over and over in his head. Additionally, a lot of the plot hinges on the fact that Joe leaves, and Joe's decision to leave seemed a bit contrived to me and never made sense.

I did enjoy the complex characters and the way Ox finds a new family with the Bennetts. I also enjoyed Ox's friendship with the local car mechanics. The different aspects around the Alpha magic were very intriguing and the issues this created when Joe returned were also well done. This is definitely an adult book, there is gruesome violence and very detailed male/male sex scenes in here. Will I read the rest of the series? Not sure right now. I liked a lot of this but also felt like it was just too wordy and repetitive at points.

My Summary (4/5): Overall I enjoyed most of this book but thought the middle portion was too slow and depressing. The beginning of the book was fantastic with a lot of humor, intriguing characters, and a unique writing style that was engaging and fun to read. The book then got too serious and slow for me. There are some great action scenes in here and I enjoyed the plot around the evil werewolf/mage. I also really enjoyed the Bennett family and how they interacted with each other. I would recommend this to paranormal/werewolf story fans who don't mind a romance heavy story with some very explicit male/male sex. I am on the fence about whether or not I want to continue it.
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LibraryThing member LocoLibros
T.J. Klune is one of my favorite authors, and he delivers a stunning paranormal, wolf-shifter “romance” that draws characters, supernatural elements, and relationship angst vividly on the page. While Klune normally writes extraordinarily humorous and snarky contemporary gay romance, he brings
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similar but serious rattling, prattling, rapid-fire character thoughts and attitudes to this rather angst-filled and dramatic coming-of-age romance. The paranormal elements were compelling and the setting interesting, and eventhough many of the themes could apply to less magical environments, there is quite a novel development that brings a fresh and sometimes dramatic theme and challenge concerning a human protagonist not found in other paranormal stories.

Ox’s struggle with his sometimes dim view of himself is challenged dramatically by the events, thrusting him into positions and decisions that force him to choose just what kind of person, partner, friend, lover, and family member he wants to be. The tapestry surrounding the protagonist’s struggle is deep and rich for fans of paranormal and extended family settings, intriguingly framing personal growth and coming of age themes with supernatural and relationship struggles.

My one critique would be the couples’ relationship was a bit more angst-filled and the protagonist’s anger a bit over-the-top from my perspective, but it did make for a rather atypical and fresh approach to potential shifter mates.
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LibraryThing member samnreader
I'm a cat person
LibraryThing member Tip44
The first part was probably as close to Nikki Kirki Hoffman, but moved to more of a standard urban fantasy/romance by the end.
LibraryThing member electrascaife
Ox has been told his whole life that he was big and dumb and slow and wouldn't amount to anything. And he essentially believes this. And then he meets Joe, who thinks Ox is Everything. And, as it turns out, Ox *is* pretty special, and so is Joe, both of them in ways that Ox could never have
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expected.

This one belongs to the paranormal romance subgenre dealing with wolves and alphas and omegas and betas and all the intricacies of relationships within those categories. I admittedly don't know much about the genre, but this feels like a solid entry. I loved the story and all of the characters tons and tons, but my one criticism is that in the second half Klune would have benefited from a much harsher editor. He has his characters go on and on, at length and repeatedly, about their feelings, and it's the same feelings every time. It almost reads as if he wrote several versions of the same scene, occasionally changing characters and settings, and then forgot to cut the extras. But, I pushed through the repetitive bits and came out the other side still loving the story as a whole.
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LibraryThing member AKBouterse
I really liked this! not quite a five star one for me but upper four star territory, maybe 4.5.

This was a lot more emotional than I was expecting. I had heard of this book a lot and knew a ton of people liked it and there were werewolves. Beyond that I actually knew very little. I picked this up
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as a distraction from election returns and it ended up being pretty angsty lol. I think this is a romance but the relationship between Joe and Ox is not the only important part of this book. This book really centers around all sorts of relationships. Family, friends, partners, and everything else. Klune's ability to show the importance of a community is outstanding in this book. It really raises the stakes because you know how much these people care about each other.

I thought everyone was so fully realized in this book. I especially liked the characterization of Ox. He was made to be a special and strong character without it ever seeming unrealistic or that he was overly special. The amount other around him cared about him was so special. It was part of why I really appreciated the small town setting of this book. I don't think the ending would have worked if we didn't have a sense that this was a very tight-knit community. It really created excellent worldbuilding. I also commend Klune for making me feel like there were real stakes in this story and that our characters could be in real danger. The werewolf construction was so super interesting and very different from other shifter-type books I've read.

I definitely want to continue on with this series. It really was such a strong book that evoked so many strong emotions in me while I was reading. I would not recommend using this as a lighthearted distraction because it definitely isn't but I would recommend that people pick it up.
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LibraryThing member NannyOgg13
My 2nd re-read and I still love this book so much and it still hurts so good.
LibraryThing member Castlelass
Paranormal romance? Not my thing. I mistook this book for another, but instead of returning it, decided to give it a try. The primary relationship element is between two young men, one human and the other a werewolf. Although I will not be making it a new habit, I cannot deny I felt a certain
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affinity with these werewolves. The “pack” dynamics are well crafted. Each pack has a witch and an alpha. Some packs represent good and others evil. The dark scenes were too gruesome for me, and I did not expect the explicit sex (probably should have but did not vet the book beforehand). I very much liked the themes, which include acceptance of differences and protecting loved ones. I am sure regular readers of the genre will enjoy it even more than I did.
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LibraryThing member tuusannuuska
2021/03
I've decided to finally read past the first book in the series, but I had to re-read Wolfsong again to bring the story back to the forefront once more. And once again it was one hell of a ride. I laughed, I cried, I was anxious, I was heartsick, and I cried some more. I also stayed up
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reading til five am, even though nothing came as a surprise. It just pushes all my buttons so spectacularly, each and every time. There are things about the writing that I sometimes find a bit too much, but even those mostly just make me fond.

I've been pushing off picking up Ravensong for literal years at this point. For many reasons, not the least because I know it (as well as the rest of the books) will be such anxiety inducing angst fests that I fear I'll have a hard time functioning as a person while reading it. But the time has come for me to be strong and persevere, because I refuse to believe there isn't an eventual happy ending looming in the horizon (well, at least after Brothersong), if I just keep going.
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2019/08
This still devastated me, and I once again fell in love with the characters and the world.
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2016/06
I bought the book expecting a fluffy piece of m/m romance (my guilty pleasure) and instead got a buttload of the feels. I stayed up reading till four am, crying ugly, snotty tears for a good portion of the story. I also smiled, and laughed, and feared, and got mad, and frustrated, and had hearts in my eyes. Just wow.

This book was so beautifully written (especially considering how cringe-worthy some of the "romance literature" out there is). The world-building was exemplary, the pacing amazing and the characters so whole and real. It was so gorgeous, and it's such a shame that so many people will miss out on this story because on the surface it's about werewolves (and not even straight ones).

The world and character dynamics were so well thought out that mostly I forgot that there are no such things as werewolves in real life. In reality, this was more a story of what family and friendship means, and how big of an impact the words you are subjected to as a child have on you through out your life. This was a story about loyalty and love and I have just added everything else Klune has published on my to-read list, because just, wow.
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LibraryThing member lycomayflower
I have some minor quibbles (I feel the book could be pared down just a smidge), but other than that this was an amazing read. Wonderful (and wonderfully drawn) characters, excellent found family stuff, good worldbuilding, nice plot, queer love story, told in a compelling voice. A "clutch it to my
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chest" read.
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LibraryThing member jmchshannon
There is a recent trend in publishing wherein an author becomes popular after publishing their third, fourth, or fifth book. To capitalize on that popularity, publishers will rerelease the author's previous books, repackaging them and minimizing the fact that they are part of the author's backlist.
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It used to irk me until this trend swept up two authors with whom I have fallen completely and utterly in love with their work. Since I will gladly read anything these two authors write, I have no problems checking out their earlier novels. T. J. Klune is one of those authors, and Wolfsong is one of those novels.

Wolfsong was, by far, the best book I read this month and will be among my favorites for the year. It is so beautiful. The writing is spectacular, and the characters...oh my. The characters, particularly Ox, will tear out your heart, stomp on it, and tear it to pieces.

You can't do much better for a main character than Ox. He is capable, loyal, sensitive, insecure, and so full of love. Mr. Klune captures each aspect of his character to perfection. The supporting cast is equally loving and supportive. Seriously, I want the type of family Mr. Klune creates in each of his novels.

It doesn't hurt that Wolfsong has werewolves, witches, and perhaps other things that go bump in the night. As in Mr. Klune's other novels, he gets the supernatural element just right. They aren't cheesy or too over-the-top horrific. They are just what they are. For the wolves, they are nothing worse than their animal counterparts. As for the bonds between the witches and the wolves, it adds a unique layer of complication and intrigue.

Wolfsong is a gorgeous book. I will be raving about it for a long time. It is poetic, emotional, and dark but still hopeful. I swooned, worried to the point of nausea, became obsessed, and loved every word. I am so grateful that the publishers decided to rerelease this series. T. J. Klune fans who have not had the privilege of reading it are going to love it.
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LibraryThing member zjakkelien
Lovely. It starts out warm and fuzzy, and then it becomes an emotional rollercoaster that doesn't really let up until the end.
Perhaps there are other books I've given 5 stars to that are better books, but T.J. Klune sure does know how to write emotions. And I love the emotions that he picks. Yes,
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these are werewolves, but there's no dominance bullshit. There's no condescension. There's no arrogance.
There is support. There is love. And yes, also pain. But mostly there is acceptance and praise and trust. Even when it has to be rewon.
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LibraryThing member krizia_lazaro
I guess it is a nice found family story but sad to say it was not for me. The story revolves around Ox who is a big guy but as his father said, a bit dumb. He gets to meet the Bennet family who now lives at the house at the end of Ox’s lane. It’s not TJ Klune’s best that’s for sure. I did
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not like the repetitive writing. I did not like how long it was. This needs to be edited. I love “In The Lives of Puppets” and when I mean love, I LOVEEEEEEED IT but this was not it for me.

Thank you Netgalley and Tor Books for the ARC copy.
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Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

2016-06-20

Physical description

592 p.; 9.61 inches

ISBN

1035002132 / 9781035002139
Page: 0.6184 seconds