Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause, was a book I worshipped in middle school. This book pretty much got me into my supernatural kick, which I have yet to escape from. It tells the story of Vivian Gandillon, a young werewolf who is both in love with her powerful wolf-form and disgusted by the traditions of her pack. She has trouble navigating the hierarchy and ancient customs of werewolf life but finds no more solace in her double life as a normal high school girl.
Vivian can’t feel completely at home with a pack that wants her to mate for life with the alpha male, nor can she manage to fit in as a human; she is too strong, too self-assured, too powerful. Her potential alpha mate turns out to be the commanding but intelligent lone wolf Gabriel, but she’s already fallen for innocent human Aiden. Torn between her dual lives, Vivian botches a change and ends up stuck in between wolf and human, unable to take either shape. But when brutal murders begin to spring up in the pack’s territory, her divided loyalties are put to the ultimate test.
My favorite part about Vivian is that while she loves her wolf form, she also finds value in normal human interaction and presents a pretty equal case for both sides. Plus, while she is valued as an attractive potential mate, she holds power within the pack as more than just a female. She isn’t a dominant woman, she’s just plain dominant. Faced with a choice that will make her unhappy either way, she struggles certainly but in the end she finds a way to accept all of herself: woman and wolf.
Another point in favor of this book is that for a supernatural/fantasy tale, it’s surprisingly realistic. All the characters have good and bad points, and there are no perfect white knights to be found. Furthermore, [SPOILER] when Vivian reveals her werewolf nature to Aiden, he freaks – even though he’s been obsessed with werewolf lore since he was young. I’m pretty sure that if your girlfriend turned into a wolf in front of you, your reaction would probably be just as horrified as poor Aiden’s, and I appreciate that while Vivian glories in the hunt and the kill as a wolf, not everyone would.
Blood and Chocolate is a pretty easy read with relatively tame subject material; at least for a book about werewolves. Recommended for intermediate readers, but don’t see the terrible movie. It is only loosely based on the novel, and its only saving grace is Hugh Dancy.