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Lunatic Fringe book cover

"Being a wolf is a kind of magic. You don’t force it. It’s part of you. It’s effortless. I want my gender to be the same way. A synergy, a harmony so tight you can’t even tell it’s a bunch of different notes smooshed together.”
Mitch

Tales of the Pack is a book series written by Allison Moon featuring a pack of lesbian werewolves.

Lunatic Fringe, the first book of the series, introduces the series protagonist Lexie Clarion as she enrolls in Milton College. She befriends a group of radical lesbian werewolf-hunters, and soon after, she falls for a mysterious woman who may be among the hunted.

Not to be confused with a certain WWE Superstar named Dean Ambrose who goes by the nickname of The Lunatic Fringe.

The second book, Hungry Ghost, had a successful crowdfunding campaign in late 2012 and was published in April 2013. The story continues to follow Lexie as she takes a leadership role in the Pack and leads a battle against Milton's violent pack of full-bloods.


Tropes:

  • Accidental Murder: Archer kills Hank, a hunter, accidentally when he gets knocked down by her as she's protecting Lexie and he strikes his head on a rock.
  • A-Cup Angst: Lexie dislikes the fact that she has an A cup, hoping eventually her breasts will get bigger.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Lexie's mom Summer called her Temes tumtum, which means “little heartbeat” in Chinook jargon, a pidgin language of the US Pacific Northwest.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Lexie starts as nineteen, while her second lover Randy is twenty years older than her at least from what's implied.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Pack is a group of women who turn out to be vigilantes as they hunt down the werewolves who attack women in the area.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Archer has a lean, muscular form which Lexie finds quite attractive, lovingly describing the stomach's abs when Archer's naked.
  • Asshole Victim: Brian, a Jerk Jock and rapist, is mauled to death by a werewolf, who eats his body.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Pack manages to defeat the evil Morloc werewolves with their allies, but lose one of their own in doing so.
  • Butch Lesbian:
    • Mitch is initially presented as a lesbian girl who dresses so masculine that Lexie mistakes her initially for a boy, while she's also fine being called he. Subverted however in Hungry Ghost when it turns out he's a trans man though.
    • Lexie is later drawn to Archer, a female carpenter and woodcutter who wears masculine clothes who's a lesbian as well.
    • In the sequel Hungry Ghost Randy is introduced, a lesbian with very short hair who likes to wear leather jackets, boots, flannel shirts and rides around on a motorcycle.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Most of the main characters in the series are lesbians. A trans man, a gay man and a bisexual woman are also among them.
  • Chick Magnet: Lexie is hit on and attractive to several lesbians she meets without doing anything.
  • Child by Rape: It's revealed that full-blood werewolves reproduce by raping women.
  • Closet Key: Lexie realizes she's a lesbian as a result of her attraction to Butch Lesbian Archer. She starts a relationship with Archer before long.
  • Daddy's Girl: Lexie was very close with her father growing up, especially since her mother was gone, doing lots of things boys might usually (like hunting) as a result.
  • Does Not Like Men: The alpha of the Pack, Blythe, clearly and proudly declares this.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: Renee casually asks Lexie if she wants to go into her room, with this being a clear proposition for sex. Lexie, being shy, refuses, though she is attracted to Renee.
  • Enchanted Weapon: The knife that Lexie got from her mother turns out to have several powers. She can tell if a person is a werewolf through looking at their reflection in the blade, make werewolves change forms by cutting them (aside from full-bloods as they don't shift) and keep her from turning on full moons as usual.
  • Family of Choice: The Pack all call each other sisters, with Lexie viewing them as adopted family. She still has a loving father however, so this is a supplement, not replacing her birth family.
  • First Kiss: Lexie has hers with Renee, which causes her to start questioning if she's a lesbian as it was so enjoyable.
  • Gaydar: The lesbians who Lexie meets are aware she is one too before she's realized it entirely.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Brian is into the idea of Lexie being with another woman, if he can participate at least. He just doesn't want her going full on lesbian.
  • Hairy Girl: Lexie and her lover Archer both have an unshaved pubic mound, as described when they have sex. Jerk Jock Brian also makes disparaging comments about the lesbian feminists from the Pack also being hairy, as a stereotype (it's uncertain if they are).
  • Hallucinations: Lexie, as she had just taken magic mushrooms, initially thinks her experience of turning into a wolf was just a hallucination. Then when she "hallucinates" very similar things, Lexie starts worrying if she may have inherited the schizophrenia her grandmother had. It soon turns out to be real, and Lexie wonders whether her grandmother was scizophrenic at all, since she spoke of similar things. It turns out that her grandmother too had seen real things, making this all subverted.
  • Has a Type: While she's attracted to other more feminine women as well, Lexie's love interests in the series, Archer and then Randy, are both butch lesbians, implying she's into them particularly.
  • Hidden Buxom: Mitch doesn't seem to have a large bust at first, but in Hungry Ghost Lexie sees him binding his chest using gauze (after he's come out as a trans man) and she's surprised by his breasts' being quite big. Until then he hid this through having a sports bra and undershirt on.
  • Holding Hands: Lexie does this with Archer at the Full Moon Tribe celebration as the first way which they act on their mutual attraction.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Lexie howls during the climax Archer gives her as she feels such intense pleasure from this.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Lexie realizes that Duane is into her. As a lesbian, she's unable to feel the same way, and gently tells him so. He accepts this and values her as a friend regardless. Jerk Jock Brian had also been into her, but Lexie found it disgusting and didn't mind saying so.
  • The Insomniac: Lexie has lots of trouble sleeping when the story begins, and also experiences frequent strange dreams which disturb her sleep.
  • Jerk Jock: Brian is an obnoxious athlete at the college who makes boorish remarks to Lexie every time they meet, usually about her being a lesbian (as he wants her). It soon turns out that he's worse than just a jerk, but a rapist too.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Lexie mistakes Mitch for a boy at first due to her very butch personal style. This may be taken as foreshadowing since Mitch later comes out as a trans man and starts transitioning.
  • Lesbian Jock: All of the lesbians from the Pack are into sports, though Hazel (soccer) and Mitch (hockey) are described as the most athletic. Mitch is later shown to be a trans man however.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Most of the lesbians who are in the Pack. They largely have long hair, dress in feminine styles, and have some typical interests.
  • Longing Look: Lexie stares at Renee and then Archer raptly because she's so attracted to them. It's a sign she's a lesbian before Lexie realizes the fact.
  • Love Confession: Archer tells Lexie she loves her after the two have begun a relationship, and Lexie says the same to her back.
  • Magical Native American: Lexie is a quarter Cree from her mom. It turns out that like her mom she's also what's called a peacespeaker, a rare werewolf. Her maternal Cree grandmother also had mystical insights which were labeled schizophrenia, and Lexie shares these too.
  • Masturbation Means Sexual Frustration:
    • After running away instead of having sex with Archer, Lexie's still very turned on by this idea, so she masturbates at home fantasizing about it.
    • In the sequel Hungry Ghost, Lexie masturbates while she listens to some of her friends having sex, while having no girlfriend at the time herself.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: In Lunatic Fringe Lexie gets involved with Archer. At first it just seems like an Age-Gap Romance, but Archer turns out to be a werewolf who is nearly two hundred.
  • Missing Mom:
    • Lexie's mom Summer abandoned her years ago, and hasn't been in contact with her since. It turns out she's dead later however.
    • Renee tells Lexie her own mom is dead too.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Archer is lovingly described as an Amazonian Beauty while she and Lexie have sex.
  • Nice Guy: Duane. Lexie says he's one of the kindest, gentlest men she's ever known.
  • No Bisexuals: Corwin tells the others in the Pack she wants to date and have sex with guys again, which causes dismay from her girlfriend especially. None ever uses the word bisexual for her, while Duana also asks Lexie if she's a "full on" lesbian.
  • No Full Name Given: In Hungry Ghost Professor Rindt's first name is never said.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted as Lexie unexpectedly getting hers is an annoyance and plot point. However, once she has become a werewolf, her period stops, replaced with her shifting under the full moon, along with the other half-blood werewolves in her pack, so for them it becomes true. Then it's partly averted once again when Lexie wears her knife, which stops her shapeshifting, while she gets her period after this.
  • Older Than They Look: Lexie is eighteen, though she looks much younger as a result of her small bust (which she dislikes), girlish hairstyle, thin build and freckled face. She isn't happy with this.
  • The One Guy: The Pack is presented as a group with all women in Lunatic Fringe. Later in Hungry Ghost Mitch reveals he's a trans man however.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Lexie's full name is Alexis. She's only called that a few times however.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different:
    • Some are purebloods, born to werewolf parents with an ability to change into any human or animal form they want, with the wolf form being default. Naturally hermaphrodites starting out, their sex shows up later. They can live for centuries. Purebloods can change at will too. They can also turn into other animals. In Hungry Ghost Sage, Archer's brother, repeatedly turns into a buffalo. Purebloods are also living aphrodisiacs who not only turns on everyone else by their presence, but also may take control as an alpha by this alone.
    • Half-bloods such as Lexie have one werewolf parent. If they drink water from a pool which contains a pureblood's pawprint, it will transform them, as Lexie experiences. They change during the full moon usually, or during intense emotion. In the case of cisgender female/AFAB half-blood werewolves, their period stops and they shift each month by the full moon instead. Male half-bloods frequently are very violent, especially to women, whom they often rape in human form. Those in the Pack manage to turn into more half-human/half-wolf forms. Half-bloods as well can heal fully and quickly while in their wolf forms.
    • Full-bloods don't turn at all, they are basically wolves who have human intelligence and are much more vicious than normal wolves, attacking humans frequently, while they reproduce by raping women. Like the purebloods, full-bloods can live for centuries. They are born as wolves.
    • One rare kind are peacespeakers, who negotiate between packs to make peace, and they can identify werewolves when in human form. A normal werewolf ever having sex with one is taboo in their culture. They can be purebloods or half-bloods.
    • All werewolves can speak in wolf tongue with each other, which just sounds like animal sounds to most humans. They're also equipped with the strong sense of smell normal wolves have, and can easily tell humans apart from traces left behind this way. Purebloods and half-bloods have this in human form too. They can all be harmed using ordinary weapons. Usually they look identical to real wolves.
  • Polyamory: Lexie is surprised to see Blythe kissing Renee since she knows Blythe's dating Mitch. Blythe indicates they have an open relationship in response, and that it's standard for the Pack, a group they're both part of. Sharm and Corwin also have an open relationship. However, it really gets Sharm down whenever Corwin is with someone else, so it's for her benefit rather than mutually wanted. She's particularly unhappy after Corwin wants to date and have sex with men again.
  • Rape and Revenge: The Pack, under Blythe's leadership, became a Vigilante Militia who hunted and killed male werewolves who'd raped numerous women (this included several of their members) as revenge along with stopping them doing this ever again.
  • Rape as Backstory: Corwin and several other women in the Pack were raped before joining, it turns out.
  • Rape as Drama: Many women at Milton College have been raped, Blythe reveals to Lexie, and says it's due to many men there secretly being werewolves, therefore more aggressive than normal human men. Anna later is raped by Brian and a guy from his fraternity, leaving as the administration doesn't help. It is the motive for the Pack to go hunt down the male werewolves then kill them so this stops.
  • Really Gets Around: Renee it turns out has already had sex with every women in the Pack.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Archer is described as looking like maybe twenty years or so older than Lexie, who's nineteen. However, it turns out she's a werewolf and nearly two hundred.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Duane is left with trauma after seeing his friends mauled to death by wolves, and this triggers him multiple times.
  • Shrinking Violet: Lexie is pretty shy starting out and thus hesitant about acting on her feelings for other women, despite their encouragement, partly because this is all so new to her.
  • Slut-Shaming: Brian makes frequent remarks on Lexie supposedly being promiscuous, as bad jokes. It turns out he did this with Anna too, before raping her. Both are not actually promiscuous-this is clearly just a mark of his misogyny.
  • Soapbox Sadie:
    • Blythe is a committed feminist and egalitarian in general, lecturing anyone who will listen on these subjects. Lexie is taken aback somewhat initially by this and doesn't understand all the terms which Blythe uses in her speechifying.
    • Renee also likes to do this, but not as much, along with the others. There are several conversations that the Pack have about what would be the right course based on their beliefs in social justice.
  • Straw Feminist: Blythe is a vocal feminist who never ceases to lecture others about it. Despite this, she is revealed as very controlling of the Pack and pretty abusive, in a way that feminists condemn. In the series however this is not used against feminism overall, as it's made clear this was a personal failing of Blythe's, and not the philosophy. The Pack members continue to uphold feminism, but not in a hypocritical way like her.
  • Straw Vegetarian: Kal, Lexie's lab partner in biology, is a vegan who's opposed to vivisecting a rat (not fatally, for an experiment). Lexie finds his beliefs annoying, rejecting his arguments and saying he's a hypocrite because Kal's used products tested on animals himself.
  • Token Minority: Duane appears to be the only black man at Milton College.
  • Tomboyish Name:
    • Mitch is initially presented as a Butch Lesbian, and later comes out as a trans man.
    • Wes, a butch woman Lexie knew years before, went by this instead of Leslie.
    • Archer is a Butch Lesbian who soon becomes Lexie's girlfriend.
    • Randy is a new Butch Lesbian introduced in the sequel Hungry Ghost and Lexie's new Love Interest.
  • Twofer Token Minority: The Pack, a group of lesbian college students, are mostly white. However, they have two women of color in their membership, who are also the only two explicity ones mentioned at all (Lexie is a quarter Cree, but passed for white easily and didn't claim the heritage initially).
    • Renee is mixed race, with a Jewish Uruguayan father and Barbadian mother.
    • Sharmalee is from India originally.
  • Vigilante Militia: The Pack turn out to be a group of vigilantes who hunt down and kill the werewolves who commit violent crimes against women (while not in their wolf forms).
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Pureblood werewolves, like Archer, are adept at changing their form at will. Eventually the half-bloods of the Pack also learn how to do this too, with greater difficulty.
  • Wall Bang Her: After they've transformed into wolf form, Lexie and Archer have passionate sex, partly up against the tree of Archer's treehouse.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Lexie is drawn to Archer first by her heterochromia, as she has blue and amber eyes which she feels are exotic.
  • Youthful Freckles: Lexie has many freckles over her face which make her look younger, which she's not happy with.

Alternative Title(s): Lunatic Fringe

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