Written by: Kit Whitfield
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
The premise: it's world that's almost exactly like our own, with one major difference: ninety-nine percent of the population is lycanthropic, which means on full moon nights, they fur up, go beastly, and cannot be reasoned with or tamed. The other one percent, who can't fur up and therefore are considered disabled, are called barebacks, and when the moon's full, it's the barebacks who are responsible for keeping the peace when certain lunes decide they don't want to spend the full moon nights cooped up in their own homes and go roaming.
Lola Galley is a bareback, and even though she's not even in her thirties yet, she's a veteran of the Department for the Ongoing regulation of Lycanthropic Activity. She's got the scars to prove it. Some of her co-workers have much worse. When one of them is mauled and loses his hand, Lola starts an investigation that takes her places she'd never imagined, especially when that friend ends up murdered. This isn't your typical werewolf story. Heck, it's not even your typical UF.
Must Have: especially for those of you who love werewolf stories of any kind and/or who really want something DIFFERENT out of a werewolf book. It's not something I fell head-over-heels in love with, but the writing, the characterization, and the world-building, all of it is solid and the book gives you so much to think about in terms of larger issues. This isn't the kind of urban/dark fantasy that's meant to be addictive. In the end, it's going to make you think, whether you want it to or not. It'll surprise you, anger you, break your heart, and make you laugh. Whitfield takes the real world and splashes it all over these pages in all of its very ugly glory: she just makes the majority of humans lycos, and that creates an interesting and poignant tale. There's a part of me that hopes she might write another book in this world, maybe even featuring the main character as well, but then there's a part of me that hopes she does. This book is more than enough, even though I'm so invested I just want more and more details. No doubt, Whitfield is an author I'll keep an eye on in the future, no matter what she writes. I'm just glad I stumbled upon this one.
The full review, complete with spoilers and cover art commentary, may be found in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.
REVIEW: Kit Whitfield's BENIGHTED
Happy Reading! :)