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Literature / Blood and Chocolate

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Back in 1997, well before the world got its hands on Twilight, supernatural romances for teens were not really the biggest genre out there. One of the more notable of the titles was Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause, who also wrote a vampire novel before this one.

The novel revolved around 16-year-old Vivian Gandillon, pretty much a normal high school outsider... who happens to be a werewolf. Though her family once lived in a secluded town where they could all be themselves, they were forced to flee in exile when one of their pack accidentally murdered a human. It is the only rule they hold sacred, the rule that protects them from discovery and extinction. So now they are scattered across a small town, mingling with humanity. Vivian also lost her father in the move, and struggles to hold herself and her mother together.

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For the first time, she attends a normal school, and there she meets a human boy, Aiden. He is quirky, an outsider like her. And she finds his kindness a refreshing change of pace from her squabbling pack mates. Her family of werewolves is leaderless with her father dead, and the battle for succession is fearsome. Vivian finds herself unwittingly drawn into the center of the leadership quarrel, and in the sights of a werewolf who would like to call her his own.

Torn between the human world and that of the pack, Vivian struggles to find herself and where she belongs. What does she want more, blood or chocolate?

There was a film version released in theaters in 2007 that is unfortunately In Name Only. Not related to the Elvis Costello album of the same name.


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Tropes:

  • Accidental Murder: Gabriel's friend Bucky accidentally goes into a bloodlust and kills another member of the pack during the fight to determine the new alpha.
  • Age Lift: Gabriel is a middle-aged man, and the father of Vivian's cousin in the film. Obviously, this makes his interest in her a lot less healthy and sympathetic.
  • The Alcoholic: Rafe's father Lucian, especially after his wife dies in the same attack that kills Vivian's father.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Downplayed, upon finding out that Vivian knows the Five, Aidan's female friends (save for Kelly, who makes a biting remark about them) admit to finding them cute, although they never formally meet or interact later on.
  • Alpha Bitch: Kelly, is a Goth version, having a Girl Posse of "gigglers" and is even described as the "head bitch" in Vivian's, internal monologues (based on pack mentality). Her behavior towards Vivian could also be called condescending at best.
  • Always A Child To The Parent: Vivian notes that, despite all the Goth trappings in Kelly's room, her mom still makes her bed with pink sheets.
  • Always Identical Twins: Willem and Finn Wagner, in the book.
  • Arranged Marriage: Of a sort. The female werewolf who wins the 'Bitches Dance' (a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown) becomes the new Alpha's mate. Most female werewolves knowingly enter the fight in the hopes of becoming the Alpha's mate; however Vivian accidentally wins the fight when she unthinkingly steps in to protect her mother from Astrid. To her horror, she is announced to be Gabriel's (the new pack leader) mate. In the end Vivian falls for Gabriel and happily accepts becoming his mate.
  • Betty and Veronica: Aiden and Gabriel, respectively, for Vivian. Gabriel is the front runner for Alpha of the pack, and a bit of a tough guy, while Aidan is a more sensitive poet. In the book, a Betty and Veronica Switch comes into play When Aiden's racism comes into play, and Gabriel turns out to have a more caring side.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: A major theme/plot point is Vivian learning to come to terms with her dual nature and finding out who she truly is.
  • Cool Old Guy: Orland Griffin, the eldest werewolf in the pack, and one of the more level-headed ones.
  • Cool Uncle: Vivian's uncle helped the pack evacuate the burning ranch and relocate, sheltering them in the aftermath. The pack actually wants him to be the new alpha out of gratitude, but he'd rather someone else have the job.
  • The Corruptor: In retrospect Rafe was the one who get the rest of The Five to kill a girl in order to give their friend Axel an alibi, and later on he's willing to commit a lot more murders, while one of his friends is horrified after finding out.
  • Creepy Child: Vivian finds Gabriel's triplet little sisters to be a little unnerving.
  • Daddy's Girl: Vivian.
  • Dirty Cop: The local sheriff covered up the arson that killed Vivian's father, Rafe's mother and several others (which was set by friends of his). The pack is bitter about this, but acknowledge that it also eliminates any complications towards them getting the insurance money for the ranch.
  • Driven to Suicide: Vivian briefly intends to kill herself due to believing she had killed several humans. Luckily, the truth behind the murders and the real culprit comes out before she can go through with it.
  • Embarrassing Cover-Up: When the police arrive to question Vivian as a suspect in vandalizing Kelly's room (and possibly a murder that happened a few streets away) Gabriel claims that Vivian was at his place, having sex and they kept Bucky up with the noise.
  • Eye Scream: During the Bitch's Dance, Vivian tears out one of Astrid's eyes.
  • Frame-Up: Rafe and Astrid try to frame Vivian for killing several humans.
  • A House Divided: Vivian's pack is not of one mind on whether to seek revenge against the humans or simply accept their losses and move on.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: More pointedly present in the movie, as it becomes tradition instead of a forbidden practice.
  • In Name Only: The film adaptation has nothing to do with the novel, save for werewolves, some of the characters' names and the title (which doesn't even make sense anymore because of how much they changed the film's ending from the book).
  • Interspecies Romance: Between Aiden, a human, and Vivian, a werewolf. It's hinted and eventually confirmed that Gabriel was once in a relationship with a human girl, which ended very badly.
  • Literary Allusion Title: To Steppenwolf.
  • The Lost Lenore: Gabriel's human girlfriend. He accidentally killed her after inadvertently transforming in front of her, causing them both to panic.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Vivian wrestles with her affection for Aiden and her growing appreciation for Gabriel; meanwhile, her childhood friend Rafe is in love with her, but willing to settle for the crazy and reckless Astrid, who has her sights on Gabriel so she can be the new alpha's consort.
  • Malicious Slander: Aidan uses a lot of this to turn their mutual friends against Vivian once they break up after he finds out she's a werewolf.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Vivian means "lively". In addition to the obvious, another female protagonist's name means "(eternal) life"...
    • Vivian’s surname, Gandillon, refers to a historical case of a French family accused of and executed for lycanthropy in the 1500s. Considering that Vivian’s family has French roots and were said to have fled to America during a period of “werewolf hysteria,” it’s entirely possible the author intended to imply the survivors were her ancestors.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Alpha fights: widely announced, pretty standard dominance fare. Alpha mate fights: no warning, no challenge, straight to No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Notably, males must be at least twenty one years of age to engage in the Ordeal. Females, on the other hand, only need to be sixteen...
  • Muggle-and-Magical Love Triangle: Vivian has to choose between Gabriel (werewolf) and Aiden (human). In the end she chooses Gabriel...partly because Aiden freaked out and tried to kill her when he learned she's a werewolf.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Rafe hopes to kill Aiden, though whether it's because he wants Vivian or because his relationship with Astrid has driven him to it is left unclear.
  • Neck Snap: How Gabriel kills Astrid as punishment for her crimes in the end.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Averted with Aiden, who admires Vivian and even calls her an Amazon. It never comes up with Gabriel.
  • Non Human Lover Reveal: Vivian eventually reveals her true form to Aiden. He doesn't take it well.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The werewolves of the novel are their own species, separate from humanity. They call themselves homo lupus. The mystics in the pack believe they are children of a moon goddess, while the more scientific-minded believe they split from humanity millions of years ago, perhaps evolving from a mutant strain of small mammals. The full moon forces them to transform into their wolf form, whether they want to or not... But otherwise, they can change forms at will.
  • The Power of Love: A kiss from Gabriel is what it takes to break Vivian's Shape Shifter Mode Lock.
  • Rejected Marriage Proposal: A bizarre inversion of sorts, combined with Accidental Proposal. Vivian inadvertently wins the Bitches Dance, a fight between the females of the pack where the victor becomes the new pack leader's mate. Vivian wasn't actually participating and only gets involved to protect her mother, but as a result she's declared the winner. The pack leader, Gabriel, is fine with it as he's in love with Vivian, but Vivian herself is horrified and refuses to become his mate, not least because she's already got a boyfriend, Aiden. However, she eventually comes around and they up being happy together.
  • Shape Shifter Mode Lock: Towards the end of the book, Vivian gets stuck halfway between wolf and human form, a symbol of her still feeling stuck between her human and werewolf sides.
  • Ship Sinking: The Aiden and Vivian ship. Trying to murder your girlfriend simply for being a werewolf, even after she tried to protect you, tends to do that.
  • Silver Bullet: Aiden melts down a pentacle necklace into silver bullets to kill Vivian after he discovers her secret.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Aiden after learning the truth about his girlfriend, culminating in him attempting to murder her.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Rafe at least sees himself like this.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Vivian's father was killed when a human mob set the pack's home on fire. Aiden tries to kill Vivian after learning she's a werewolf, viewing her as dangerous and evil. In fairness, both he and initially Vivian herself had believed she was responsible for killing several humans, though Aiden barely even gives Vivian a chance to explain the truth.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Ulf tells Vivian and the others when he finds out what his mother and best friend are doing, even though doing so will ensure their executions, when he could have stayed quiet and allowed them to continue killing, while using Vivian as The Scapegoat.
  • Woman Scorned: After Aidan finds out that Vivian is a werewolf and possible a murderer, the next day, she sees him on on a date with a girl named Kelly. Vivian ends up angrily going to Kelly's house and trashing her room.

Alternative Title(s): Blood And Chocolate

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