Horrific and heartbreaking in equal measure, and for the same reasons. Every one of the characters has seen so much and been through so much, and there is more than one kind of monster, sometimes in the same person. The werewolf—or really, the transformed monster—mythos is played very differently here, both in its cultural place and in its management, but the monstrous drive, and the flipside of human horror and remorse, is very familiar. Ultimately, the psychology of loss and guilt and defensiveness and addiction can drive us to act more monstrously than nature ever could.
I thought I knew where this story was going, based on a fairly extensive knowledge of genre tropes, but I didn’t, and that delighted me. It wasn’t so far afield that I could characterise it as shocking or revolutionary, but the horror—as it were—didn’t come from any kind of malevolence on the part of the mystery, but from within an otherwise gentle and sympathetic protagonist. The horror is knowing what is inside of us and what we are capable of, and in knowing that others know it. I confess to being a little bit unsatisfied by the ending, but then that lingering sense of unfinishedness and friction is part of what makes the rest of the story effective.