Blood and Chocolate (novel)

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Blood and Chocolate
Blood and chocolate.jpg
First edition cover
Author Annette Curtis Klause
Cover artist Cliff Nielsen
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fantasy novel
Publisher Random House Inc.
Publication date
1997
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 264 pp
ISBN 0-440-22668-6
OCLC 42412510

Blood and Chocolate is a 1997 romantic supernatural werewolf novel for young adult readers by Annette Curtis Klause. It is set in the contemporary United States.

The Loups-garoux[edit]

In Klause's novel, the loups-garoux are a separate species from humans, referring to themselves as Homo lupus. Legend states that their ancestors were humans blessed by the moon goddess Selene with the power to shapeshift at will into wolves, and the urge to transform becomes painfully irresistible with the coming of a full moon. Loups-garoux are portrayed as glorious beasts who revel in their dual nature, but do not reveal this truth to humans at the risk of violent backlash. In keeping with the traditional werewolf lore, silver is poisonous when introduced into the bloodstream, often proving fatal, and death is a real danger in that "anything that will sever the spine will do".

Loup-garou is the French word for "werewolf". Its plural form is loups-garous. A faux-French plural could be loups-garoux.

Plot summary[edit]

Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf?

Plot Synopsis[edit]

The book starts out with a description from the main character Vivian, a sixteen-year-old loup-garoux. She explains about her father, the old leader of the pack, and her group of best friends, the Five. The Five consist of Rafe, Finn, Willem, Ulf, and Gregory. They are the only pack members of Vivian's age and their group used to include another boy called Axel. In their old town, the Five started to become more feral, using their wolf forms to scare humans. Vivian was afraid they might betray the pack's secret, but in the end it was Axel who lost control. Axel killed a human girl and someone saw him change back from his wolf form to human after he did it. When Axel was in prison, the Five killed another human to make it look like the "real" killer was still loose, and he was released. Vivian's father killed Axel for endangering the pack, but she pleaded with him to let the Five live. Not long after, a group of suspicious neighbors set fire to the pack's house. Vivian's father, Rafe's mother, and a few others were killed and the pack quickly had to relocate.

A year later, Vivian starts high school in the new town, where she has no friends because of her reserved and secretive nature. Many girls she attends school with find her intimidating and are jealous of her beauty. Yearning for acceptance, she goes after a boy named Aiden who wrote a poem about werewolves that was surprisingly accurate with regard to their transformation, when she uncovers his identity she suspects he might be one of them and finds him wearing a pentagram necklace. She soon figures out Aiden is fully human, but she is still attracted to him and pursues a relationship in spite of her mother Esmé's disapproval over her decision to date a human. Esme also warns Vivian about revealing the secret of the pack.

It becomes clear that the pack is restless in their new location. Rafe's father Lucien goes around getting drunk and the Five are growing out of control. To Vivian's embarrassment Esmé and another woman named Astrid, who is also Ulf's mother, are continuously fighting over a man named Gabriel, despite his being twenty-four while they're both in their forties with children. Vivian hates Gabriel because he seems the most likely candidate to take over her father's position as alpha male of the pack. In addition to that, Gabriel is attracted to her and doesn't bother to hide it or listen to her rejections. Despite this Gabriel continues to visit Esme with the intent of seeing Vivian and often checks in on her - actions that seem to drive Vivian closer to Aiden.

When Astrid, Lucien, and a few other pack members run around near the suburbs in their wolf skins, it becomes evident the pack badly needs a leader. Since there is no agreement over who it should be, it is decided to elect the leader in the Old Way. This involves a ceremony called the Ordeal, a free-for-all brawl where any male who is of age can participate. Anyone who has blood drawn is disqualified, the last two left standing can fight to the death if they wish or one can submit to the other; the winner automatically becomes Alpha. After he is declared, the pack females will participate in the Bitch's Dance, a fight to determine who will be the new leader's mate.

Gabriel wins the Ordeal, and Astrid instantly attacks Esmé. Vivian is outraged as it becomes clear that Astrid is out to kill. Without realizing what she's doing, Vivian leaps in to save her mother's life. She seriously wounds Astrid and takes out one of her eyes. Once she has defeated Astrid, she is declared the Alpha female and Gabriel's mate. Horrified, Vivian then realizes that there were no others eligible to compete in the Dance and that she is now Alpha female, as all the other females of the pack submit to her. As Gabriel looks to her expectantly she runs away to her home, terrified of being both Alpha female and his mate. The next day Gabriel declares that he'll wait as long as Vivian needs, but eventually Vivian will belong to him and he won't give up on courting her.

The pack believes that Vivian will eventually come around, but Vivian becomes stubborn and keeps rejecting Gabriel while she pursues Aiden with even more effort. When she and Aiden start to get to the point where they might have sex, she decides she wants him to know the truth before they get intimate. When she reveals her beast form to Aiden, he crouches in a corner in fear and starts to throw things at her to chase her away. Hurt and afraid of losing her self-control, she jumps out of his window and into the night.

She wakes up in her own bed the next morning, with human blood on her nails and no memory of what happened after revealing herself to Aiden. Later on, watching the news, police describe the death of a man. It seems as though he was killed by a "wild animal." In the aftermath Vivian takes to experimenting with drinking, and in the following days at school she tries to get Aiden alone to explain what she is and ease his fears, but he does not give her a chance and uses his human friends as buffers or runs away from her. Vivian also notices he no longer writes the poetry he used to or wears the pentagram necklace. In an attempt to get Aiden back, she attends a concert that they had planned to attend together, however at the concert Aiden's friends confront her with the lies that Aiden told them were the reason he broke up with her. Shocked and hurt that he would say such awful things about her, Vivian breaks down and is about to flee from the concert when Gabriel suddenly appears and takes Vivian away. He takes her home and proceeds to comfort her, hinting that he had once revealed himself to a human and like her now regrets what he had done.

Another murder occurs and again Vivian wakes up with no memory of the incident but finds a human hand on the floor of her bedroom. Sure that she is the murderer, Vivian decides to commit suicide for the sake of the pack. She manages to douse herself in kerosene, but before she can light the match she is apprehended by Gabriel, Willem, and Ulf. Willem makes Ulf tell her that his mother, Astrid, and her new lover Rafe were setting her up for the murders. Astrid still carried a grudge against Vivian for winning Gabriel and ripping out her eye in the process, and Rafe was mad at her for acting like a human as well as dating one instead of him. They'd committed the murders and put blood on Vivian (knowing she was experiencing a large amount of stress from keeping her wolf nature controlled around Aiden) to make it look like she was the killer.

Aiden sends Vivian a note asking Vivian to meet him "for the sake of what we used to have." Remembering this, Vivian realizes that Astrid and Rafe must have found the note, which was carried by Aiden's friend and the two killers' latest victim. Vivian goes to meet Aiden and try to get him out of danger while Gabriel, Willem, and Ulf go to gather the pack so they can be there when Judgment is passed on Astrid. When Vivian gets to the meeting place, Aiden points a gun at her, explaining he has a silver bullet made from the pentagram that he had once given her. Vivian tries to explain she wasn't the killer, but since Aiden doesn't know there are other werewolves he refuses to believe her. Just as he's about to shoot her, Astrid and Rafe show up in their hybrid forms. Astrid says that they're going to kill both Aiden and Vivian and pretend they "did what they had to do." She also explains that it's mainly because of her grudge over Gabriel that she wanted to do this to Vivian. Rafe didn't realize she meant to kill Vivian and he's hurt when she mentions she wanted Gabriel, and the two of them start arguing. In the middle of it Vivian tells Aiden to shoot Rafe while she leaps for Astrid.

Aiden's shot works and Rafe falls dead. Just as Vivian and Astrid's fight start to get serious, Gabriel steps in and two other pack members apprehend Astrid. Gabriel explains that they have no prisons and no jailers, there is only one sentence for endangering the pack. He then steps forward and snaps Astrid's neck, killing her. Aiden is terrified from seeing so many werewolves and shoots at Gabriel but Vivian leaps in front to take the bullet. After a furious threat from Gabriel to never come into contact with Vivian or any other pack member again, and that he will be watched for the rest of his life to ensure he never tells anyone about the pack, Aiden runs away in terror. The pack's healer manages to get the bullet out, but Vivian ends up stuck in her hybrid form, neither human nor wolf and unable to fully change into either one.

Two weeks later, Gabriel enters Vivian's bedroom, where she is mourning about being trapped between forms as well as her heartache. He then finally tells her his story - that he had once loved a human woman and like Vivian had been convinced that she would accept and love him regardless of what he was. He admits that when he had been making love to the human woman he had to suppress the urge to shift and admits that it is not just simply advised not to get romantically involved with humans, but that due to their dual natures it is impossible and dangerous. Gabriel's story ends with him revealing that he had accidentally shifted before his girlfriend and in both their combined panic had killed her. Gabriel's raw sadness and honesty makes Vivian realize how she had been in love with the idea of Aiden's acceptance of her, and not because he was the mate that she needed.

Vivian and Gabriel share a kiss, and Vivian is finally able to transform again. The novel ends with Gabriel taking Vivian outside for the first time in days and they both run off into the woods together in their wolf forms - a black and silver wolf respectively. Vivian runs with him, finally accepting her place in the pack as Alpha female and Gabriel's mate, and reflects on the joy she has in being a werewolf and having someone who now finally and completely understands her.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Blood and Chocolate won the 1998 YALSA Award for Best Books for Young Adults.[1]

Film adaptation[edit]

The novel was adapted into a film in 2007 and released January 26th. By the end of its run, a little over two months later, the film had grossed $3,526,847 domestically and $2,784,270 overseas for a worldwide total of $6,311,117.[2] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an 11% rating based on 63 reviews.[3] On Metacritic, the film has a 33 out of 100 rating from 16 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[4]

Very little of Klause's original storyline, characters and plot points are maintained in the adaptation. This has often led to criticism from the fans of the novel that the film's director and production team took too many artistic liberties with the source material.

Variation From Novel[edit]

The film adaptation is significantly different from the book in many aspects. All characters are portrayed as older than the novel versions, Vivian and Aiden are scaled up to be 19 years old and Gabriel is portrayed to be in his late 30's. In the film Vivian's background story is drastically changed including the death of her family, in the film Esmé does not appear. Rafe is also made to be Gabriel's and Astrid's son rather than the temporary love interest of Astrid.

Both Gabriel and the pack as a whole are portrayed drastically different. Gabriel is depicted as a cruel, harsh and aggressive alpha of the pack who as set his sights on Vivian as his next "mate" according to a tradition in the pack for the leader to take a new mate every few years. Reasons behind this change were not explained. In the film Gabriel is the main antagonist who delights in directing his pack to ritualistically hunt down and kill humans every full moon - he orders Aiden to be hunted by the pack for having a relationship with Vivian.

Additionally in the movie the relationship between Aiden and Vivian has a drastically different outcome. Instead Aiden discovers the existence of werewolves from Rafe, not Vivian and he does not reject her or what she is. After rescuing Aiden from being hunted by the pack they take off to hide, heal Vivian from the silver poison and escape the city as well as the pack and start a life together elsewhere. In the end of the film Aiden and Vivian end up together after killing Gabriel together and flee the city - the future of the pair and whether Vivian takes place as alpha is hinted at but uncertain.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE". American Library Association. Archived from the original on 2006-12-04. Retrieved 2006-12-28. 
  2. ^ "Blood and Chocolate (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. March 30, 2007. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Blood & Chocolate". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Blood and Chocolate". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 8, 2015.