I finally finished this sucker. Far from being a page turner, I found it tedious. For me the novel has four big problems: the writing is bad, okay it’s pulpy, it hasn’t dated well, the main character who tells the story from a first person perspective is a fool that we NEVER sympathize with, and lycanthropy is my least favorite horror trope, so it already had a poor chance to do more than show with me.
As far as being dated one might say “it is of its time.” but so is The Colour Out of Space but we don’t feel that about the story while reading it. It doesn’t overwhelm the other factors in favor of it. The writing is pulp bad, ’nuff said. Barbee is just a pitiful character from a characterization standpoint, a fool and a wimp. He is so unbelievably gullible for an otherwise intelligent guy it goes beyond our suspension of disbelief.
Lastly, let’s just say it: I hate werewolves. Werewolves and shape-shifters just don’t work for me, never have. You are already on the wrong foot with me. At best they are actually pitiable imprisoned beings that just don’t frighten and there are so many things you have to put aside to believe them it just becomes too self-conscious for me. Just my personal bias.
In the end I just cannot find that much to say good about this. I have never read anything else by Williamson (maybe that’s a blessing), but he is certainly venerated within the sf community. Maybe if I was a kid in about 1947 reading this in my tree house with nothing to compare it to, I might like it, but that doesn’t say much now.