Maggie Stiefvater, Sinner

Cole St. Clair is a rock star. Was a rock star – is about to be a rock star again. No one knows why he disappeared from public view, or exactly why his band dissolved (though the death of the bassist might have something to do with it). But he’s coming back, by starring in Baby North’s reality TV show – as himself. People expect to see yet another of Baby North’s trademark celebrity melt-downs, but that’s not what he really wants. Los Angeles also happens to be where Isabel Culpepper, his former girlfriend, lives, and he wants her back.

But she knows his secret. He is now a werewolf. A werewolf in LA.

It is odd, sometimes, what makes a story tick. On one level, this is another urban fantasy set in the world of Maggie Stiefvater’s Mercy Falls werewolf series, and in that context it serves to tie up a couple of loose ends, and give a two characters a chance to shine on their own. But there’s a deeper sense in which this novel is not a fantasy novel at all.

The only genre fantasy element at work in this story is the fact that Cole St. Clair is a werewolf. But turning into a werewolf only has one role in this story. It’s just another drug — a better drug than heroin or crack, but still fundamentally an addiction. What this story is really about is fame, or at least celebrity, and the point at which a performer starts wondering how much of his self is constructed – essentially, performance art – and whether there is anything authentic left that he can call his own.

In a sense, you could almost call this novel Vampires in LA — because the real theme is the parasitic nature of the entire culture.

This is a very good book and will be enjoyable both to general readers, who will enjoy its exploration of the pathologies of fame, not just to fans of the Mercy Falls series.

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