Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Review: Vulpi by Kate Gordon

Vulpi by Kate Gordon is the follow-up to Thyla, the story of a unique species of shapeshifters running wild in the Tasmanian bush. While Thyla centred around Tessa, a 200-year-old teenager with no memory, Vulpi shifts the focus to brand-new shapeshifter Cat, a minor (and not entirely likable) character from the first book. This was a risk on Gordon's part and, unfortunately, it didn't really pay off. I just wasn't invested in Cat's character or journey, and she didn't do anything in the first part of Vulpi to make me feel otherwise. While other characters said they found her witty, intelligent and, frankly, irresistible (at least three fell in love with her), nothing she said or did actually showed these qualities to the reader, other than the odd mention of literature. Note: referencing the classics does not a smart heroine make (I'm looking at you, Twilight/50 Shades of Grey).

The story itself was OK but, unlike Thyla, it wasn't enough to keep me compulsively turning the pages. The main conflict is around the increasing number of teens being murdered and the mysterious "Solution" the evil Diemans have been talking about. Not uninteresting, but still, this short, easy read took me three. Freaking. Weeks. As I mentioned in my DNF post, this wasn't entirely the book's fault - I've been crazy busy - but I also wasn't particularly compelled to pick it up.

What I did appreciate was the shift from second person narration in Thyla to first person in Vulpi. It just flowed more smoothly and was more consistent. The dialogue was also an improvement on Thyla, with less info dumps at inappropriate times (though there were still a few). However, the way a few characters spoke was still quite jarring to me. The worst offender was the eponymous vulpi, Archie, an English chap whose dialogue just didn't feel authentic. It pulled me out of the story rather than into it. Speaking of Archie - I also didn't really enjoy the insta-love and the, "oh god, swooooon, gasp, shudder, shiver, derrrrrrr" every time he so much as breathed in Cat's direction.

I feel bad for dissing the book because I really, really wanted to like Vulpi. I'm disappointed that I didn't. As I mentioned earlier, I really appreciate Gordon's unique take on the paranormal and the very Australian flavour she weaves into her work. But while I love the concept, I just didn't love the execution.

Rating: 2.5/5

Eye Candy
I imagined a ginger version of Claire Holt as Cat... 

As for Archie, Cat first meets him in vulpi from, and from the description all I could picture from then on was none other than the Fantastic Mr Fox himself...

 Seriously. Sexy, no? No.


  1. A 200-year-old teenager? How does that work? Why can't teens just be teens anymore. LOL

    First person narrative is always my preferred one. Glad to know this installment smoothed out by 'shifting' over to it. hehe

    And yes, Mr Fox is, well, fantastic.

    1. Lol. It's all these paranormal teens messing with the age thing. I do prefer first person and/or third person - second person would be my least fave, especially when it's not done well.

  2. Wonderful review Belle! I agree with the great "Australian flavour" of Kate Gordon's writing, but I wish it wasn't riddled with all those YA cliques you've picked out. But your review is so lovely it's making me want to pick this book up (I'm still undecided - Belle, maybe you roll the dice for me on this one)

    1. Thanks Shirley! Oh, the pressure! I can't make decisions for myself let alone other people. But I'd say even though the writing was better in Vulpi I didn't enjoy it as much as Thyla, and I know you weren't in love with that by the end - so maybe give this a miss for now?

  3. What a shame you didn't enjoy it all that much Belle - thanks for sharing your honest review

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

    1. I really wanted to, Shelleyrae! I think it's just not for me.