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Annette Curtis Klause

Paula's Young Adult Literature Website

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Blood and Chocolate
 
Klause, Annette Curtis. 1997. BLOOD AND CHOCOLATENew York: Laurel-Leaf Books. ISBN: 0440226686.
 
 

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause is an intriguing fantasy story that will capture the reader’s interest from the beginning.  Kirkus Reviews refers to the book as, “… a fierce, suspenseful chiller.”  Klause superbly weaves a story that involves, romance, horror, the complexities of a relationship, and accepting one’s own self.    Told through third person narration we are introduced to the beautiful and strong Vivian Gandillon.  Vivian is not your typical teenage girl; she is a werewolf, or a loup garou.  Vivian has the power to transform into a wolf like creature, and as it gets closer to a full moon the process becomes easier.  On the night of the full moon, the change becomes inevitable.  The loup garou can hold off the change for a few minutes, but not without nausea and fatigue.  If these creatures reveal themselves, they risk extinction.

 

The story takes place in the suburbs of Maryland as the clan struggles to find a permanent home and choose a new pack leader. Vivian has no friends and feels extremely out of place.  She stills misses her dead father, the pack leader, whom died in a fire that also killed many other clan members and has left them displaced and homeless.  She is struggling with the political division of her wolfpack and the typical pressures of being a teenager.  Vivian now finds herself falling in love with Aiden, a “meat-boy,” a human.  For what first began as an innocent flirtation, has now turned into an intense relationship and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him.   Now, she is torn between two worlds and does not feel she belongs in either of them. “What is she really--human or beast? Which tastes sweeter--blood or chocolate?” 

 

Vivian decides to reveal herself to Aiden with the thought that he would surely understand and appreciate her dual nature.  As Klause describes Vivian’s change Booklist states that, “Klause’s imagery is magnetic, and her language fierce, rich, and beautiful.”  “The change came fast then.  Her arms lengthened, her legs shortened, her joints reformed.  She uttered a guttural cry of pleasure as her spine extended into tail, the bone quickly wrapping itself with flesh, then fur.  She felt the creaking, crunching as her jaw extended, and her eyes now saw the rainbows around each candle flame.  …Aiden’s face was white in the flickering candlelight, his eyes large.  He drew his limbs close to his body.  …His mouth opened in a gash and from it came a hideous whining sound.  Naked and wormlike, he cowered on the bed like a nightmare view of an asylum inmate. (P.168)

 

Aiden is horrified by Vivian’s transformation and she flees through the window.  Revealing herself had proven to be a horrible mistake and has put her clan in serious danger.  Vivian is tormented by murders that are occurring in their community.  She thinks to herself, “ I tried to be what I wasn’t, and now I can’t even be what I should.  I’m a freak! … and now because of me a boy is dead.”  (P. 254)  Eventually, Vivian discovers her place and realizes that her loyalties lied with her pack and that she was most complete when she was with her own kind.

    

Parts of the book are somewhat graphic and there is quite a bit of sexual content.  However, Klause has done a superb job of creating a plot line with all of the characteristics that create a suspenseful and powerful novel.  Booklist states, “This violent, sexy novel is a seamless, totally convincing blend of fantasy and reality that can be read as feminist fiction, as smoldering romance, as a rites of passage novel, or as a piercing reflection on human nature.” 

 

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