I love a good Werewolf story, especially one in which entrails are spilt at regular intervals and bones shift into place with a vicious cracking as the wolf comes to the fore. In this tale of the hunters becoming the hunted, Matt Serafini certainly does deliver the gore and the wicked transformations in style.
Devil’s Row cold fit into a couple of different genre categories. It definitely has its moments of horror; it’s a werewolf novel, so obviously. And yet, it also has a strong fantasy feel to it due to its time and location. I’ve got to be honest, I’m not a big fantasy fan and I found this tale set in days of old when knights were bold to be a little slow now and then, much more in keeping with the fantasy genre where world building is king, sometimes at the expense of the story’s pacing. Devil’s Row isn’t 500+ pages long like every fantasy novel seems to be these days, but I just felt things could’ve been a little tighter here and there.
This was probably my only real gripe with the book. The opening to the story is superb and Serafini’s writing is really good; Matt paints a vivid image of a bloody and carnage-filled landscape where bodies are strewn across the ground, torn and bleeding. Elizabeth is a shapeshifter, a sleek, brutal killing machine and the opening exchanges with her and her brood as they fight to the death against a group of hunters sent by the Vatican is tremendous. What follows is Elizabeth’s quest for vengeance against those that slaughtered her kin and her lover. A quest begins…
I was pleasantly surprised to find that werewolves aren’t the only classic monsters lurking within this tale: Vampires and witches both feature making the story much more engaging and overall I enjoyed this lycanthropic tale of blood, love and revenge.
Devil’s Row is a prequel. It was published after Serafini’s other werewolf novel, Feral, yet it stands perfectly well on its own. If you like your werewolf horror with a little bit of historical fantasy thrown into the mix, Devil’s Row is the book for you.
3.5/5 sharpened silver blades from the Grim Reader.
Pick up a copy from here.