Mini-review: Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow

Toby Barlow’s Sharp TeethSo I finished reading Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow last week, haven’t been reading much recently – but I started this book and pretty much had to get through the whole thing. Saw this thing on the EOS blog and y’know.. Werewolves in Los Angeles sounds good and then the reader reviews on Amazon sealed the deal.

I was surprised at how immediately the book hooked me. Written in verse form, I wasn’t sure I’d like it – but something about the freedom from formal prose seems to agree with the story. Now I ain’t got no schoolin’ in the writing, but something seemed very doggish about it – each line focussed on a single key thought. The slowly unveiled social structure of the lycanthropes was really interesting and the interaction of the dogs within the packs and the packs with other packs was amazing.

Toby completely succeeds in implying an incredible backstory of werewolves, complete with mythology and intrigue – without ever monologuing about it. I hope he writes more in the same universe because I’d love to revisit this world (even if it is LA…)

In my opinion the first half of the book was perfect. It felt completely fresh – a brand new take on one of the original bad boys, not something easily done. The second half of the book wasn’t as good – things came together interestingly but some of it felt a little forced, some of it not in the sheer awesomeosity that I had grown accustomed to in the earlier half. If the whole thing had been as good as the second half, it would still be a book well, well worth reading – but with it’s amazing start, if you ever thought you might like to read words in english, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It even has it’s own website if you’re inclined to check it out.

OH! and the dust jacketless cover treatment is totally cool. And inside the covers is really nice, too.

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