Book Review: Teddy Jacob’s Wicked Hunger

Wicked HungryWicked Hungry by Teddy Jacobs
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Wicked Hungry is about a boy (Stanley) coming to terms with a sport’s injury that has taken away his ability to compete as a runner. The need to run gets worse as full moon draws near and a terrible gnawing hunger that his vegan diet can never satiate has him salivating over forbidden BK Whoppers. Then a former best-friend offers him a wonder cure made from completely natural sources that promises to fix his knee and allow him to run again. The pill works as promised, but the craving for meat and the need to run, grows ever more stronger. Then there is all the coarse hair growing all over his body. But that isn’t the worst of his problems. His girlfriend is turning into a vampire, his best friend into a jaguar and he himself is getting the urge to throw his head back and howl like a wolf!

The cover is a rather obvious choice for a book about a teenage werewolf but I suppose it does what it says on the tin.

The writing is good to start off with but as the plot becomes more convoluted and unwieldy, the dialogue becomes awkward and unnatural, for example, an ancient fairy knight speaks colloquial American English rather than archaic English.

There’s a lot of good ideas here, but the problem is that they don’t all mesh well. The first quarter of the book deals with the main character trying to cope with the changes his body is going through, kind of harking back to werewolf stories of the late 80s and early 90s, such as Teenwolf, An American Werewolf in London and Wolf. Then Jacobs throws in the vampire girlfriend, which also creates an interesting dynamic (but not fully developed or fleshed out), before muddying the waters with another potential girlfriend. Quite frankly, it isn’t the most original plot element now that we are in the post-Twilight period. But then Jacobs introduces Stanley’s friends, Enrique and Johnson, supporting their own variety of mutation. Enrique is a were-jaguar(?), inspired by the Incas (I’m guessing) and Jonathon who has become a Manga version of a were-fox(?), which is strange considering he is black, despite his fascination with Manga and Japanese culture. This part of the book kind of resonates with the cult movie, Monster Squad, which again would have been an interesting story on its own if the relationships had been fully fleshed out, but the plot moves on quickly at this point to introduce a coven of witches, vampires, a pack of werewolves, teenagers turning into zombies and ghouls, and if that wasn’t enough, an extra layering of demons and the Seelie and Unseelie courts. The only writer I’ve encountered who has successfully incorporated all these elements is Tim Waggoner with his Nekroplis books. In Wicked Hungry, it just makes everything seem that much more ridiculous and comedic.

This is an ambitious work by a talented author with some good ideas, but too many extras bolted on. What this book needed was to be paired back a little and paced better. Its a good effort and perhaps future titles by Jacobs will improve with maturity, but for now Wicked Hungry merits just 2 stars.

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