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The Theory of the Leisure Class (Modern Library Classics)
Thorstein Veblen, Alan Wolfe
The Tempering of Men - Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette In [b:Companion to Wolves|333356|A Companion to Wolves (Iskryne World, #1)|Sarah Monette|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1312035520s/333356.jpg|2703562], Bear and Monette presented a dark and grim twist on the classic fantasy trope of telepathic bonds with animals. Men were forced to give up their expected lives and occupations when one of the gigantic wolves chose them, and lived instead the fierce but short lives of troll-fighters. In [b:Companion to Wolves|333356|A Companion to Wolves (Iskryne World, #1)|Sarah Monette|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1312035520s/333356.jpg|2703562], the troll queen was finally destroyed, which will probably eradicate trolls from Iskyrne forever. In this sequel, the men are left with the question of what to do with themselves once their original reason for existing is gone. Even as they struggle with this question, a new threat appears: the endless armies of the Rhean.

The story is told through the eyes of Skjaldwulf and Vethulf, who must share both the title of wolf-jarl and Isoflr's bed. A completely boring subplot about the aelfs is told via Brokklfr, who never seems to do anything; even his romance with Kari goes nowhere. And really, that's the basic problem with this book: it's all either clean-up of problems from the last book or set-up for the next book. There are a couple skirmishes, but it's all pretty low-key. Even the emotions and characters feel tamped down. All the pov characters talked and thought in similar ways, so I had a hard time keeping Skjaldwulf and Vethulf apart, even though supposedly they're completely different. (My other character related problem was that the wolves and the humans have similar naming conventions, so it was sometimes hard to remember which species someone belonged to.) The only character I was interested in was Fargrimr, who was born female but raised to be the male heir. The idea of a "sworn-man" is intriguing, but Fargrimr himself felt a bit like Aragorn back when he was Strider, and I super loved him.

I'll read the next book in the series, because I'm already tense about the clash between the wolfthreats and the pseudo-Roman armies. But the characters and their interactions aren't interesting me; I hope Monette and Bear put a little more work into them.