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.