Fantasy Review: ‘The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf’ by Martin Millar

The Anxiety of Kalix the WerewolfI first came to Martin Millar due to a horrible search and request function from my old library. I honestly thought I was requesting a Neil Gaiman book; instead they had mislabeled Good Fairies of New York because Gaiman had provided an introduction.  Best mistake since bread was left near the petri dish.

Millar has a style that is completely unique.  Rapid fire chapters and absurd characters that somehow still bring out the emotion, multiple plot lines being twisted around each other so many times it mind boggling that they can all be resolved- let alone tied together at the end.  He is often funny; relying on the interactions of the characters for humor rather than a string of dated in jokes or puns.  The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf (last time I am writing that title out in full, from now on this book will be referred to as Kalix, kay?) continues in the same style.  This book completely relies on knowing what happened in the first two so from here on out there could be spoilers of the earlier books.   So go ahead and catch up with the series before reading any more of this review, we will wait.

Done yet?  No?  Its ok, we all got Flappy Bird before it was pulled, we can wait for you.  (Talk about easily dated in jokes, ya?)

Ok, moving on.

Once again there is so much going on it should be impossible to track.  Kalix has set up a self-improvement plan for herself.  The fire queen has consolidated her power after the civil war and can once again focus on the more important world of fashion; her new goal is to be shown in Vogue’s style pages.  The crowded flat that Kalix lives in is full of people going to college and actually showing some responsibility; Moonglow makes a harsh, but fair, task master and has them all working and doing chores.  In Scotland the fight for Thane is settled and Marcus is no longer facing resistance.  And of course everything is about to blow up.

The guild of werewolf hunters have stepped up their efforts, leaving their old ways and modernizing with better security and tactics borrowed from the Special Forces.  They also have some help from an odd ally, the new empress Kabachetka, Malvaria’s rival in fashion and war in the fire realm.  Holy mother of god, enough details, I am out of breath and hardly got started.  Once again, SO many plot lines!  So many names!  Each character is so unique (in part because of their over the top, quirky natures) that I have no trouble remember who is who, even with a two year layoff since reading the last book.

If anyone is like me and already hooked they should love this book.  I am not sure it matches Lonely Werewolf Girl, in part because it will never feel quite as fresh as it did the first time, but it comes close and exceeds Curse of the Wolf Girl in my mind.  While it still has its share of angst and shows signs of darkness like the first two it has an altogether more hopeful tone; both in the beginning and right through the end.  Kalix in particular finally is starting to realize some of the good things she has; it is not suddenly sunshine and lollypops but it isn’t always doom and gloom anymore.  Hell the ending is downright cheerful compared to the first two outings.

If there is something to complain about it is clear that that this is now a series without a clearly defined end and as such no longer wraps up all of its plotlines within one volume.  Thrix in particular goes through some changes that affect her on the most fundamental level; and we never see her get any closure.  On the other hand there is a malevolent fairy on the loose that should provide us with a lot of entertainment if another book makes its way out into the world.

Another solid entry from one of the most underrated authors out there.  Please do yourself a favor and pick up any of his books.  If you do I have a strong feeling you will make your way to this one eventually.

4 Stars

Review copy provided by the publisher.

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