Beasthood by A.Z. Green (Book Review)

Beasthood by A.Z. Green can be best summarized like this:


“Stockholm syndrome with werewolves.”


There’s only one, big, HUGE problem.


The werewolves never f-ing show up!


Beasthood by A.Z. Green is the perfect, quintessential example of a bait and switch. The premise of this book led me to believe that our main character, Jaz, would be subjected to an impossible struggle between wanting to be human and having to embrace her inner beast. I was thinking werewolf transformation on prom night or something teen related.


Instead, the novel ended up being about Jaz getting kidnapped by her “Were” kind and ends up in an isolated forest where she learns how to live with the pack and their strange ways. The author constantly hints and teases that Jaz could turn into a werewolf at any moment, but she never does! The only thing that does transform is Jaz’s hand which becomes a claw. But I’m getting too ahead of myself, let’s explain why this book fell all the way down to the two stars.


My first problem with this book was the writing. The prose was terribly sloppy and confusing in a way that made it difficult to understand what the hell was going on and when. In the first couple of scenes we’re in Jaz’s head and she has this weird inner monologue exchange where she literally argues with herself. This isn’t the exact quote but it goes something like this.


We should follow them

No, don’t be an idiot.


You would think it was two separate people talking but it’s not. If it was supposed to imply that she was arguing with her inner monster then that wasn’t clear. Then, when Nik Driver shows up (terrible name) the author suddenly decides to abruptly cut into what he’s thinking and his POV in the middle of the scene. (Again these are not exact quotes from the book.)


Driver’s dark eyes seemed to pierce into my soul.

(Same scene, next line)

Jaz looked a lot like Lora, which made me miss her even more.

Super confusing and extremely amateur. There’s also way too much of -this- -included- -in- -every- -chapter- and the prose tells you everything without leaving anything for the imagination.


What Green did right was the descriptions of the werewolves when we actually get to see ONE or TWO in the book. In fact, the descriptions were so well done that I found myself even more disappointed when I realized that struggling with controlling transformations was not the focus of this book, nor isn’t even really about the animal side of the werewolves. It’s about living with people who can turn into wolves but never actually do so with rare exceptions.


Another stumbling block for this book was the character’s reactions to this extraordinary situation. First off, Jaz says a quote which continues the trend of confusion in this book. This one IS quoted directly from the novel, “I am not gonna be hairy for the rest of my life!” she vowed. This is in Chapter 12 of the book which is way before there’s any mention or talk of werewolves. Basically, a plot hole in terms of the character’s reaction and thoughts.


Once we get to Chapter 23 where Jaz actually finds out what she is, there’s no drama. There’s no, “WHAT THE F— AM I?” There’s no breaking down in tears realizing she was born a monster. Instead she says, “So, Driv–Nik… is what colour?” Meaning, what color fur he has when he turns into a werewolf. This is immediately after she finally discovers that everyone is a werewolf and there’s absolutely no reaction to this news, no emotion, no believability.


Then there were some really dumb things that Jaz would do which should have gotten her killed. Her pack tells her not to go out after 11 and what does she do? She goes out after 11. Why?


“The river. The thought came to her loud and clear from amongst her muddled, feverish thoughts and the images of drowning in hot air swiftly turned into leisurely paddling in a cool, refreshing pool. The fantasy of bathing in the soothing water was too alluring to resist.”


She basically wanted to cool down after having a fever. My thought was, “Why not take a cold shower?” And the reason why she skipped the shower was because she didn’t want to wake anyone up which is utter nonsense. Since when is anyone bothered by someone taking a shower, especially if she said she was having a fever?


It wasn’t until 61% in that a werewolf finally showed up in the book. 61% which is more than half! That’s like telling me there’s a female protagonist that turns into a superhero and saves the day, except she never turns into a superheroine until the book is 90% done. What a rip off!


Which is exactly how I felt. This book was truthfully a dark romance in disguise. I don’t have a problem with romance, more than happy to read it, but Beasthood is incredibly boring. From the super boring car ride where nothing happened to pointless and unnecessary things such as building a barbecue. None of this was interesting and the pacing was all wrong. The constant jumping back and forth between “A week earlier,” “The next morning,” “Two days before last night,” were frustrating to figure out.


You don’t get a sense of progression, place, or time because everything keeps jumping and cutting at all the wrong spots. There are terrible transitions and I know this is going to seem like a petty thing, but the chapter titles are awful. Titles such as “Restore,” “Burn,” “Change,” are unimaginative and not representative of the theme for each chapter. The author would have been better off just calling it ONE and be done with it.


However, there are some good things in this book and this is probably the only reason it never went down to one star for me. Jaz is an interesting main character who provides a refreshing take on a female protagonist. She’s definitely not a damsel in distress and though she makes some really bone-headed -I don’t deserve to live- decisions, she’s actually likeable and enjoyable to read. Unfortunately, that’s about it because the lack of werewolves absolutely ruined this book for me. There is a sequel to this book available for purchase but quite frankly I’m not interested in reading it. I’d rather get a rewrite in my hands than risk further disappointment with a sequel that might not deliver.


Two stars.

Wilmar Luna