The Wereling Trilogy, by Stephen Cole (Razorbill, 2005)

Book One: Wounded
When sixteen-year-old Tom Anderson runs afoul of an accident while on a vacation in the wilderness, he’s initially relieved to be rescued, until he realizes that the strange, reclusive family has something other than his best interests in mind. Rather, they engineered the whole thing to get him in their power, for their own selfish reasons. The Folans, it seems, are werewolves, interested in bringing some new blood into the family, and they’ve just finished turning Tom into a werewolf as well, all so he can help bring their daughter, Kate, into her full power. However, Tom and Kate have other plans, and very soon they’re on the run, traveling cross-country in a desperate attempt to reverse Tom’s condition and escape the insidious power of the world-wide hidden society of the werewolves. Unable to trust anyone, yet forced to trust each other and take chances on random strangers, Tom and Kate will go through a number of ordeals before reaching their destination: New Orleans, where a slim hope resides. But even if they make it that far, they’ll still find themselves up to their eyebrows in trouble and enemies, even as Tom discovers the true nature of his newly-acquired werewolf powers.

Wounded is the first part of the Wereling trilogy, so clearly the story’s nowhere near done. But it certainly does set out an interesting premise, gives us a fully-realized cast of characters (from the entirely normal Tom, to the cynical Kate, to the delightfully ambiguous Adam Blood), and keeps things moving as well as can be expected. Wounded is a strong start to a promising story, and I hope Cole can keep it up for two more books, since there really aren’t enough teen werewolf romance horror roadtrip stories out there.

Book Two: Prey
Book Three: Resurrection
Ever since Tom Anderson was kidnapped by a reclusive family of werewolves and transformed into one of them against his will, his life has been in shambles. Not only is he forever struggling against primal urges, but he and his new friend Kate Folan are in a race against time to find a cure for Tom’s condition. All they have going for them is Tom’s near-unique state as a wereling, someone capable of retaining his human nature and impulses even when in werewolf form. Against them is ranged a worldwide conspiracy of deadly werewolves ready to burst out of the shadows and reclaim the world they once stalked with impunity, with one of their deadliest enemies being Kate’s own mother.
Tom and Kate’s quest to find a mysterious medicine man reputed to be able to reverse the werewolf’s curse takes them across the country, forcing them to face off against many foes. Worse yet, they’ve stumbled across a plan of frightening scope and devastating results. In the second book in the trilogy, Prey, they come to New York, where they meet up with a group of street kids, and discover that the gangs of New York are being subverted by one ambitious group of werewolves intent on creating an army. In the final book of the trilogy, Resurrection, they travel to Chicago, for a final showdown with Marcie Folan, the twisted genius known as Takapa, and an ancient werewolf evil brought back from the dead. They’ll need all the allies they can get if they want to save the world from the werewolf threat, and that’s assuming Tom doesn’t succumb to the bloodlust lurking within his own soul.

Obviously, there’s a lot going on in these two books, with Kate and Tom always on the move, and enemies popping up all over the place, each one with a different evil plan. For what it’s worth, the Wereling trilogy is a fast-paced, highly enjoyable series with plenty of twists and turns and unexpected plot developments. Just when you think you know where it’s going, it surprises you. The addition of both new antagonists and new allies throughout the series keeps things lively without overburdening the cast or dragging down the plot. All in all, I was pretty pleased with the way this series turned out; it explores the werewolf mythos without being overly familiar or redundant.

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