Always Gray in Winter: Action. Character. Quality Tale.
Not going to lie. I was a bit skeptical about reading a story about “werecats.” Seemed a little cheesy to me.
But Mark Engels writes with incredible clarity and skill, bringing life to characters with skill hard to match. And more importantly, he keeps the story barreling forward from the very first page, throwing readers into the action immediately.
But what’s even more impressive, Always Gray in Winter is fundamentally about family. These “werecats” are spread across the world and disconnected from one another, but they are fighting for each other. And they’re making new friends and forming new relationships too. The end of the book will leave you on a cliffhanger that ensures you’re drawn into the next tale.
I especially appreciated Engels incredible ability to ground this weird concept (werecats) within very technical and realistic military circumstances. If you’re going weird, throw the weird into something real, and the absurdity of it all turns into something spectacular.
Writing: 9/10. Definitely the strongest part of the book, Engels has fantastic prose.
Characters: 8/10. Well done, especially with Pawley and Lenny!
Setting: 8/10. As I said above, Engels injected this “werecat” concept into real-world organizations, resulting in an absurd but thought act of worldbuilding.
Plot: 7/10. Potentially the weakest aspect of the book, but not bad by any means! The story was so action driven, sometimes it felt a bit difficult to follow where the plot was going. But that’s just personal taste!
Overall: 8/10, earning Engels and Always Gray in Winter 4 stars!