Review: Overwinter by David Wellington

Review written by Jess Peacock
(Note: Reposted from Famous Monsters of Filmland)

With his latest novel Overwinter, David Wellington has continued to solidify his status as one of the most talented (and underrated) writers working within the horror genre today. With an oeuvre that spans the sodden trail of zombies, vampires, and werewolves, Wellington has consistently put an original spin on these classic monstrous icons, while creating vividly imagined worlds filled with rich characters that consistently live on long after the final page is dispatched.

The sequel to the stellar werewolf tale Frostbite (see review here), Overwinter continues the journey of newly turned lycanthrope Chey Clark as she struggles with not only her developing pedigree as a supernatural beast of legend, but also her increasingly complex attraction and dependence on Powell, the werewolf who killed her father and ultimately turned her.

Complicating matters is the appearance of Lucie, the twisted sociopath who sired Powell, as well as the brilliant hunter Varkanin who is seeking revenge against the werewolves. In addition to these substantial new wrinkles, Chey must contend with the horrible realization that with every metamorphosis, she surrenders more and more of her humanity to the beast within threatening to break free of her psyche once and for all.

While performing at less of a breakneck pace than its predecessor, Overwinter expands the origin of the Werewolf mythos, making excellent use of Inuit animism legends originally hinted at with the mysterious Dzo in Frostbite. In doing so, Wellington grounds the story firmly in the midst of the origin of mankind, giving the ensuing events an epic scope and resonance.
Prolific by any standard, Wellington’s novels (Overwinter being no exception) consistently succeed at avoiding the rushed and anemic narratives that many modern horror authors and publishers seem to be falling victim to. These are not stories written simply for leisure, immediately forgotten and discarded into the stacks. This is an author who writes stories of depth, emotion, and passion, ratcheting up the tension and horror by connecting with the reader on a visceral, deeply human level.

Lean, exciting, and filled with enough carnage to satisfy hardcore genre fans, Overwinter continues the author’s creative dominance (whether recognized or not) of the horror lists. If you’re not reading David Wellington, you are simply missing out on a writer at the top of his artistic game.