Like all genres, UF has varying degrees or classes of writers (or books). Whitfields main character, Lola, is a bareback (yes, I know there is a different meaning to that word) which means she is not a lune (werewolf). This allows Whitfield to actually look at the effects of such discrimination on people. Anita Blake, Elena, and Kitty are all non-human and are segregated out of the human society because of what they are, yet in their books we mostly see them functioning in a society where they are not the minority. In those novels, in terms of characters, strict humans are the minority, and very rarely do central characters behave as if they have been effected by an -ism; they might have to hide, but outright discrimination doesnt really seem to occur or should it, like in Kitty Takes a Holiday, it lacks depth. Benighted, Lola is part of the minority. What the reader gets, and this is what makes the book an uncomfortable read, is the effect of discrimination on the minority and the majority. While the minority in the book is based on a lack of transformation, Lola could be any minority in todays real world. Benighted is not an easy book, and it is true that Whitfields prose could be tighter in places, but it is a worthy, thought provoking book.
The tiny minority of non-lycanthropes are drafted into an organization that polices the rest of the population. The protagonist is a "non", and the book is not so much about werewolves as it is about her life experience as a member of this minority group.
The thing is pretending violence like that never happens would be naive, but this book looks at the long and short term trauma of being a survivor of it (also the way individual acts of violence are socially constructed). In short this book made me think, parts of the story had me on the edge of the seat desperate to read more (500+ pages seemed to turn themselves) and I liked many of the characters.
The main character is completely unlikable. She has a personality that she's on the righteous side of everything because she is a victim when the legal system she uses is completely idiotic and makes no sense given the fact the population is 99% werewolves. Society has been like this for so long and they haven't learned how to lock down their own homes that they need to run into shelters instead? The main character remains unlikable the entire way through. Almost the whole book is based on how the main character is persecuted for the fact.
The non's are required to belong to DORLA (Dept. The non's of DORLA also represent the werewolves who are caught (as quasi-attornies) and jail them.
Then some time later a lyco gets shot too, the thing that is similar to these two shootings is that the victims were both shot with silver bullets which are only used by DORLA operatives. Becca, then stays with her boyfriend Paul, who is a lyco. A couple days later her boyfriend Paul is arrested, because other DORLA agents think that he too is in cahoots with the killer. This story was not one of my favorites because a couple of times I had to reread thing to make sure what was going on.
Its protagonist and narrator is Lola Galley, a "bareback" in a world filled with lycanthropes. "Barebacks" (a derogatory term for non-lycanthropes), or nons, are conscripted at a young age into DORLA, the organization which runs the world during the full moon, and which handles crimes committed by people while they are transformed. What makes this book worth reading is its complete emotional realism.
In a world where werewolves - or lycos as they are called in this debut novel - are the norm and barebacks or nons (in other words people that do not turn at the full moon) are considered disabled or crippled, born with a birth defect that means they come out headfirst and different, Lola May is a social outcast.
Lola Galley is a veteran of the Department for the Ongoing Regulation of Lycanthropic Activities, an organization staffed by non-lunes that monitors the city during the full moon and is tasked with keeping order and capturing the lunes who break the law to roam free on full-moon nights. Benighted gives us Lola, who is part of a feared minority. Equally fascinating, Whitfields world setup puts non-lunes (barebacks as they are called) both into the role of oppressed minority, and into the role of a special police force, tasked with keeping order on the streets when lunes transform into wolves, and granted gestapo-level powers and almost no funding. Lola, as part of the bareback-only Department for the Ongoing Regulation of Lycanthropic Activities is both oppressed minority to be viewed with pity and disgust for her disabilityand the police force, facing a monthly deadly threat of violence on the city streets and facing charges of police brutality. (view spoiler)Throughout the pregnancy, the sister is defiant in the face of Lolas fears.