It goes by many, many names—names designed to strike terror into the hearts of those who’ve had the displeasure of meeting it, “but fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony” (Morpheus said that…not me). Meet Dancy Flammarion, your average southern teenage girl, except that she’s an albino and she’s followed/protected by a terrifying Seraph, that lays waste to all that intend to do the girl harm, and yes… she’s the living, breathing incarnation of Death.
Dancy Flammarion may look like a frail teenage girl, but her journey through the swamps and byways of the American South brings her into battle with werewolves, monsters, and grotesque secrets, armed only with a knife and a mission to destroy the deadly creatures that lurk in shadow.
It goes without saying that storyteller Caitlin R. Kiernan‘s voice in Alabaster Wolves is strongly reminiscent of her work with author Neil Gaiman‘s series, The Sandman (1996-2001). From page one on, fans of The Sandman series are going to love the neo-gothic nature of Alabaster Wolves. Even the illustrations by Steve Lieber (Dark Horse Presents) look a bit like The Sandman’s Sam Kieth‘s work, but what is it they say…imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and nowhere is that more evident than in this gripping supernatural thriller. The post-apocalyptic grittiness of this superstitious southern backdrop is the perfect setting for all sorts of unearthly happenings. The levels to Dancy’s story, as well as those she’s been in charge of destroying, are colorful and deep. Our hero’s strength is often times circumvented by her naivety to who she is and what her role is in this new and fucked up world, but her journey is interesting and filled with some amazing back story. Course, we all know that Werewolves are the new Vampires, but I was pleasantly surprised by the addition of other mythical beasts in this story, some of which are even fairy tale based.
Alabaster’s villains do lack a bit of the eloquence found in Caitlin’s previous writings, but it more than makes up for it in fast-paced action. The story never drags or gets too convoluted in details; instead it tends to focus heavily on the issues at hand and how they affect our hero. It’s an authors dream to find a hero whom you can place in any scenario and somehow they fit, and Dancy, in her role as the proverbial pale rider, is that hero/anti hero. It’s going to be interesting seeing what happens to this girl gifted with the duties of duties. Alabaster Wolves is a much welcomed return for this amazing writer and I, for one, can say that she’s cleverly and meticulously punching holes in the neo-gothic genre once again.