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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore

Red Moon Rising
by Peter Moore 

from Goodreads

Being only half-vamp in a high school like Carpathia Night makes you a whole loser. But Danny Gray manages to escape the worst of the specists at his school. Thanks to genetic treatments he had as an infant, most people assume Danny's other half is human. Which is a good thing.
Ever since the development of synthetic blood – SynHeme – vamps have become society’s elite, while wulves like his father work menial jobs and live in bad neighborhoods. Wulves are less than second class citizens; once a month they become inmatesforced to undergo their Change in dangerous government compounds.
For Danny, living with his vamp mother and going to a school with a nearly all-vamp student body, it’s best to pretend his wulf half doesn’t even exist. But lately Danny's been having some weird symptoms — fantastic night vision; a keener-than-usual sense of smell; and headaches, right around the full moon.
Even though it's easy to be in denial, it's hard to ignore evidence. There's only a month until the next few moon, and Danny's time is running out.

Red Moon Rising was far more enjoyable than I anticipated it being (and I know that sounds weird -- why read a book you don't anticipate enjoying?).  I found myself fairly immersed in it whenever I would sit down to read it, and Danny's voice felt authentic and engaging most of the time.  There were some issues at play, and some really interesting dynamics that I enjoyed exploring with Danny, and all in all, I would have given the book a fairly hearty recommendation -- if it weren't for a few things that really nagged at me.

1) I had some trouble swallowing the worldbuilding.  I mean, the idea of having this level of paranormal racism and tension is really appealing, and I could see how, if such beings existed and were out in the open, there would be a real issue here.  But the getting there was a little strained to me.  Some things fit so perfectly, like the fact that wulves are ugly and deformed from changing, and this is of course used as proof of their inferiority and beastliness.  This makes perfect sense in that scary way humans have of justifying the worst in humanity.  But some things -- like the fact that vampires are insanely smarter for no apparent reason, or that they were feared and reviled until about 80 years ago, and are now society's elite -- these things didn't make sense to me, and they distracted me from the story in a jarring way.  I had trouble just buying it, or reconciling the feeling that there was some legitimate reason for the separatism the story revolves around.  It would have been so much more complex and believable if there was no real reason for the specism -- if it was on a level of modern-day and/or historical good ole-fashioned racism, where there's no real reason genetically for the racism.  It would have been more interesting to me if there wasn't a reason beyond the physicality and the lifestyles to lead to the racism -- if it was just like now, when people really have no reason beyond what they see and what they're taught.

2) But even bigger than that, and really, this is kind of stupid, but it drove me NUTS, there was this issue with trying to make things -- I dunno, current?  Pop-culturey?  -- that rang so false, and was done in such an off-putting way.  Basically, it was almost like some weird comedy sketch, where the comedian doesn't want to be sued for a parody, so they slightly change the names of the subjects used.  So, instead of saying David Bowie, Moore would say David Bo-E (<--- real example).  An iPod was an iPoddMaxx.  What is the point of this?  Why change something in such a teeny, tiny way that is only going to irritate, and most likely make your teenage audience think you're some weird old guy trying to look in-touch?   I really, really didn't get the motivation behind this.  If it was a half-assed attempt to change real names to keep from dealing with legal repercussions, just make up your own goddamn name and be done with it; if it's going to be so thinly veiled, why not just say what you fucking mean?  (Sorry, got a little carried away there.  But I said it irritated me.)  What it felt like, was someone told Moore (or he got it in his head all by himself) that he needed to drop some names that would help anchor his story in the real world, and help the book seem more, I dunno, something.  I can't really say 'hip' or 'current' if he's going with David Bowie references.  I doubt most teens reading this book would even know who that is. 

And honestly, it's a shame.  Other than these two things, I really did like this book, and probably would have recommended it a lot more than I now would consider.  I don't like recommending a book and feeling like I've got to give warnings, or say "You'll like this but..."  
That being said, I do think you'll like this.

*Please note: I read an ARC of Red Moon Rising, and there could have been significant changes made in the final version.
Disclosure: I received this book for review from Disney Hyperion.


  1. I enjoyed your review. Even the parts where you were irritated. I've only ever read a synopsis of this book so I'm glad to know what it's about. Your irritations wouldn't bother me unless it's done a lot so I think I'll put this on my TBR list. Thanks for the review!


  2. Ha! I loved your rant =)
    And yeah, why in the world reference Bowie?? I mean he's cool and all but just seems an odd choice.
    Like Ke$ha kicking em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger.

  3. I always like your review, because you are very specific about what did and what didn't work for you, and I like specifics. :D


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