& Review: Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy. Fiction. Publisher: Grand Central Publishing May 2013

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy. Fiction. Publisher: Grand Central Publishing May 2013

The Book Itself: I like the red-tinged forest coming through the words, but overall the cover is pretty lackluster… I’m sure the Stephen King quote really lures people in though.

My Review: They live among us.

They are our neighbors, our mothers, our lovers.

They change.

When government agents kick down Claire Forrester’s front door and murder her parents, Claire realizes just how different she is.

Patrick Gamble was nothing special until the day he got on a plane and hours later stepped off it, the only passenger left alive, a hero.

Chase Williams has sworn to protect the people of the United States from the menace in their midst, but he is becoming the very thing he has promised to destroy.

So far, the threat has been controlled by laws and violence and drugs. But the night of the red moon is coming, when an unrecognizable world will emerge…and the battle for humanity will begin.

I am almost done reviewing the books that I finished at the end of 2015. Whoops – a little behind here! And apparently I was into a theme – using the mistreatment of a mythical creature in the modern world to illustrate some very real prejudices people enact on other races every day. Menagerie did this with creatures of all kinds. Red Moon focuses on werewolves.

There is a thin veil between the events of this book and the events in the real world it is trying to parallel. A terrorist act on an airplane, perpetrated by a werewolf part of an extremist group inspires mass persecution and prejudice against all werewolf kind. This prejudice spreads like wildfire, until the world resembles more of an apocalyptic version of itself, with barren wastelands and war breaking out all over the world. In this way it serves as a warning: hey, let’s not treat other people like these fictional Americans treated werewolves, okay?

Very strong political and social commentary overtones aside, Red Moon is very Stephen King-esque. It’s incredibly action packed and to-the-point. It’s a brick of a book – my mass market paperback was a solid 600+ pages. And while the plot tends to meander, the prose is quick, almost terse in the way cop drama TV shows can feel.

And it’s good. But not great. The beginning felt scattered, as we were getting to know our large cast of characters. The sex and nudity is gratuitous – it kind of feels like “hey, no one’s been naked in a while, let’s have a skeevy politician get a ‘massage.’” And quite often action packed scenes fade to black, only to be picked up in summarization elsewhere.

And the ending is wrapped up all neat and tight, with a final chapter that ruins everything the book worked towards, hinting at a possible sequel. How mean.  It made me frustrated that I had traveled all through those almost-700-pages, just to be told that all was in vain, maybe next time things will be resolved. And as far as I know, there is not a sequel, nor is there one in the works? Which makes that unraveling ending that much more frustrating.

Overall, I think there are other, better social commentary/mythical creature fictions out there. This one tried to encompass the scale of an epic, but tended to lose its story threads.

My Grade: C-


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