Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Posted March 11, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

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Blood and Chocolate

Blood and Chocolate

by Annette Curtis Klause

Publisher: Delacorte Press on August 11, 1997
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Lycanthropes, Romance, Supernatural
Target Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: ★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf?

Then Vivian falls in love with a human, a meat-boy. Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He’s fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would.

Vivian’s divided loyalties are strained further when a brutal murder threatens to expose the pack. Moving between two worlds, she does not seem to belong in either. What is she really—human or beast? Which tastes sweeter—blood or chocolate?

 

Ahhhh Blood and Chocolate.  This … is a weird book for me.  It’s one of my oldest, in that, I’ve been carrying the mass market paperback with me since I was in high school.  It’s been lent out to friends and the spine is cracked beyond recognition.  We’ve been through many life changes, this book and I.

But until now, I’ve only read it once.  I remember having mixed feelings about it even back then.  I didn’t hate it, but the obsessive romance frustrated me.  Vivian’s possessiveness and Aiden’s fickleness was felt unnecessarily dramatic when I was fifteen, and now that I’m 30, I find all the romantic relationships in the book unsettling.  There’s a 24-year-old courting a 17-year-old.  There’s another teen dating one of his friend’s mom’s.  And it’s… weird.

Annette Curtis Klause gives us a reason why this is acceptable in their community – they’re werewolves, and the relationships of animals are not like those of humans.  The loup garou are somewhere in-between, but it’s still… a little too sexualized for my tastes.  But I have to acknowledge it may just be my taste.  In fact, I’m often surprised there is less sexuality in YA because when I was a high schooler, that was super forefront in my mind.  There was a lot of pressure, you know?  But anyway, that’s something I’ve never loved about this book and even coming back to it later, it felt a bit cringey.

If I can set aside that feeling, the way Gabriel constantly calls Vivian “baby”, then… this book is actually better than I remembered.  Despite feeling certain that I was casually reading it “because it was in my TBR jar,” I was impressed with how engaged I was.  The story flowed very easily, and it felt different than other books I have read.  Maybe it’s just because I haven’t read a good magical creature book in a while.  I’ve always loved werewolf books and I have quite a few on my shelf (including some I haven’t read yet), and Blood and Chocolate is one of the first I think of when I think of my early exposure to lycanthropes.

The characters are fairly simple – they are made mostly of passion and lust and hunger.  This is one of those books, like Paperquake, where the needs of the characters are on the surface and if there are layers to peel back, we never get to see them.  And it’s a short book, so it doesn’t make the story less interesting.  But Vivian, Aiden, Gabriel each have maybe a handful of facts to give their characters a little background.  The others blend together.

What more is there to say?  Blood and Chocolate will pull you in, whether you want it to or not.  The mythology is incredibly well-done, and the werewolves believable, even if you’re left a bit wanting for more depth.  Upon finishing, I wasn’t left aching for more story, or a sequel.  It was a book that I enjoyed when I held it in my hands, and forgot about when it was out of sight.

Still, I hesitate to recommend it because I see some uncomfortable levels of intimacy and behavior between certain members of the wolf pack.  There’s also some violence in the middle of the book, and the implication of a lot more.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it while I was reading it.  But I’m not sure how many others would love it as well.  And I didn’t love it.  I liked it.  Enough.

Like I said, this one is a bit complicated for me.  Read at your own risk.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★
Writing: ★★★ 1.2
Pacing: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★

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Blood and chocolate stays on my shelf

Nobody is more surprised about this than I am.

Despite some sentimentality I have for this book, I really thought it would end up on the giveaway pile. It’s not a remarkable story, and I didn’t enjoy the bits and pieces I remembered about it.  And the biggest thing I remembered was that it’s nothing like the movie (this is still true).

Still.

What I discovered upon revisiting is that this book was entertaining and made me want to write about werewolves.  It’s probably not one I’ll pick up often, but honestly… I’ll read it again.  And I want to keep it.

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How do you feel about werewolves?  As I mentioned in the review, I tend to really enjoy werewolf books!  If you have any recommendations, please let me know in the comments!

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