I met John Urbancik at the 2007 World Horror Convention in Toronto and he gave me this novella.
Wings of the Butterfly tells the story of a pack of three shapeshifters: Nicole, a butterfly, Garrett, a rat, and Erik, a wolf. Nicole and Garrett live in fear of the controlling pack leader, Erik. When a new shapeshifter comes to town, Erik thinks it is his duty to protect the pack by killing him. But Nicole sees him as her chance to escape Erik's clutches and fall in love.
The plot is unique from other shapeshifter/werewolf stories. Instead of being about murder or anything frightening, it's about love and independence. The focus of the narrative is on the pack mentality. I almost wouldn't classify it as a horror novella, but it does have a bit of murder gore, although it's not the heart of the story.
The pace is fast, due to the fact that there's not much description, just action. The novella is only 87 pages, but I wish it was longer. I think this would have made an interesting novel.
The characters are stereotypes and not developed well enough for me to love them, but well enough for me to relate to them. But occasionally Nicole's weakness and neediness irritated me, and Garrett and Erik were overall unlikable, despicable characters.
Although I didn't care for the characters, I would still recommend Wings of the Butterfly because of its unique plot and exciting pace.