This book... I made myself read it, because I read The wolf gift, and there are very few series that I will stop in the middle of. This may join the elite group that I give up on, along with the 50 shades atrocities. For some reason, when I read books, I like them to include some narrative tension, which was almost entirely absent in this book. It felt like someone was playing the Sims, and had been given the cheat code that gives you as much money as you want. You're able to build a house that's as rich and fancy as you want, and you can make alĺ the characters beautiful. The only difference is that in the Sims the characters have some autonomy, so things don't always turn out the way you want.Reuben, the main character, gives me the opportunity to describe someone with a word I have always wanted to use, but have never had the opportunity: milksop. He's so full of awe and wonder, so in love with EVERYONE he meets (only a slight exaggeration), that it gets incredibly tiresome. That leads me to a slightly unrelated question, but why doesn't Anne Rice write in the first person as Reuben. The story focuses almost entirely on him, and never wanders away from what he knows, but it's still written in the 3rd person. Anyway, Reuben is so in love with Laura, even though he is worried about what she will become now that she has accepted the Chrism, blah blah blah. He will always love Marchent, whom he knew for all of a week, who left him her palatial estate, and whose tormented spirit now haunts him, kind of. He loves Felix and Margon and Stuart and Sergei and Frank and on and on and on. He seems almost like he's mentally deficient, but that can't be the case because he's familiar with the Venerable Bede! Name dropping like that annoys me, especially because Bede was an Anglo-Saxon prat, with a lot less talent for entertaining than Isidore of Seville. But I digress.Rice seems to be at her most content when she is describing the Christmas festival in the little town of Nideck, as well as the Yuletide Ball at Nideck Hall. Her loving description of the marble creche figures would be well-suited to some bodice-ripper set during the holiday season. Frankly, I wish that that was what she had written, and just left the damned werewolves out of it. These were some of the least interesting supernatural creatures I have ever read about, and I feel like she's unwilling to make her Ageless Ones capable of evil. The only ones who approach it are quickly killed. All they do is protect the innocent, and kill the bad bad men. And it's always men who are bad.There's a subplot with Reuben's brother Jim, the priest, who is tortured by his past and now weighed down by Reuben's secret. The whole thing seems like an excuse for Anne Rice to create her ideal version of a Catholic priest. Someone who is troubled, but still good, someone who wants to serve others, but may be stifled by the institution.I probably won't make any friends with this review, but this book isn't really worth the time for any but the die-hard Anne Rice fan. I gave it two stars rather than one because the writing isn't bad, and I wouldn't mind going to the Christmas gala that she describes, though I don't think that I would weep when the choir sings the Hallelujah, as everyone in the book does.If you're looking for a sexy werewolf thriller, stick with Glen Duncan's The last werewolf, or the sequel, Tallulah rising. They're not the best books in the world, but at least something happens.