Get 50% off Catholic Books & eBooks

Discover the Next Tolkien & O'Connor

Join Here for FREE to Never Miss a Deal

Find new favorites & Support Catholic Authors

Genre

Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Audience

12-18

Author’s Worldview

Catholic

Year Published

2018

Themes

Friendship, human nature, animal nature, choice, discipline, self-control, genetic engineering, clones, genetic manipulation 

 

Reviewed by

M.S. Ocampo

In this unique pastoral fantasy, Mandy Lamb is a human-sheep hybrid who happens to be friends with a vampire and a werewolf. The themes of nature versus nurture are at play here as Mandy tries to fit in at school. For example, Mandy has a habit of eating flowers and gets in trouble for eating the principal’s garden. The theme of nature versus nurture also applies to Mandy’s closest friends: a vampire named Vincent and a werewolf named James.  

The overall story feels very “slice of life with fantasy creatures.” Mandy goes to a school with regular people—activities such as watching TV are mentioned. All the characters feel like they’re people you’d recognize from real life, people that you’d want to hang out with. Even though the characters are unusual, the setting feels quite grounded. James’s struggle with his predator instincts adds an authentic layer to his brooding personality, and Vincent is quite a friendly neighborhood vampire, who has a snarky sense of humor that is always fun to read. 

I really appreciate the dynamic that Mandy has with her friends. There’s no forced love triangle like other urban fantasy novels. Instead, the three of them are very supportive of each other, at least after James and Vincent get past their differences. The vampires versus werewolves trope is played with for an initial conflict, but Vincent’s motivation to protect Mandy is very understandable. The main conflict centers on Mandy being a supportive friend to James as he tries to control his inner demons, especially whenever there’s a full moon. 

I recommend this book for middle grade to younger YA readers as it’s very similar to more grounded modern fantasy/magical realism works such as Sandhya Menon’s Of Princes and Promises. The Catholic themes are pretty minor. Fr. Llewellyn is a very friendly supporting character, who discusses with Mandy about how God loves her in spite of the DNA meddling, and encourages James to become an altar server. Fr. Llewellyn reminds me of the friendly friars from Shakespeare’s plays. DNA meddling may be seen as wrong in this book, but it doesn’t invalidate Mandy, James, or Vincent’s existences.  

Get Catholic Books & eBooks for as little as $1 to FREE

Nun of My Business by Karina Fabian

When a nun hires Vern to prove that a new pop song is evil, the dragon suspects his new client might be hiding something.

Please Don’t Feed the Dinosaurs by Corinna Turner

A series of dino adventures that has been doing better what the mainstream Jurassic Park series only recently attempted.

Heaven’s Hunter By Marie C. Keiser

A man-hunt across space that forever changes both the criminal and the detective.

Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight by G.M. Baker

Dark psychological fairy tale in which the heroine slays her enchanter only to become possessed by his spirit

Markmaker by Mary Jessica Woods

Aboard a world-ship, in an alien society, one artist’s quest for truth will turn his whole society upside down.

Crusader St. Tommy NYPD Book 5 By: Declan Finn

Detective Nolan embarks on a Crusade against demonic sex traffickers trying to raise a demon.

Hussar by Declan Finn (St. Tommy NYPD Book 8)

It’s been a few years since St. Tommy saved the world. Now his son Jeremy and ward Lena have joined the fight.

Julia’s Gifts by Ellen Gable

A story of love and God’s providence in times of war.

Treelight by Colleen Drippe

When the planet of Treelight’s contract changes hands the Star Brothers send an agent to discover the corporation’s plans for the sleepy little space colony.

Gevaudan Project

This fun monster story takes themes of God, man, and environmentalism to places deeper than any newsroom can go.

Everything Old: Love in Anadauk Book 1 by Amanda Hamm

Two youth group leaders rekindle their friendship and find love with each other along the way.

Greater Treasures by Karina Fabian

Will Vern sacrifice the fate of two worlds for the life of his best friend?

Vigil by Russell Newquist

“Big Trouble in Little China” meets Saint George and the Dragon

A Very Jurassic Christmas by Corinna Turner

Christmas with Jurassic dinosaurs is often wild!

The Academy Saga: Book 1 By C.J. Daly  

A thrilling, yet clean, high school romance.

From the Shadows by Jacqueline Brown

In a broken world, Bria tries to unite a family even as she struggles to keep hope alive.

Through the Ashes by Jacqueline Brown

Fans of The 100 and Runaway’s and The Gifted will find this YA story riveting.

The Joining by J. H. Dierking

The aliens will surprise you and lead you into greater insight into how our own bodily design determines much of what is considered right and wrong.

Brother Wolf by Eleanor Bourg Nicholson

Swept into a werewolf hunt with two nuns, a dashing guardian and a jolly priest, Athene Howard applies her intellectual skills to unravel this mysterious new Papist world.

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

A young slave girl in ancient Korea investigates a murder & meets real life Korean Catholic saints