Sunday, January 30, 2011

Review - RED MOON RISING (real link, I promise!)

Red Moon Rising - Peter Moore
Genre: YA Paranormal
# of pages:
Recommended for: Upper MS & Beyond
Publisher: Hyperion Teen
Publication Date: February 8, 2011

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 inmates, forced 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.

I can literally count the number of vampire books/series I've read on one finger, and the number of werewolf books I've read on the other. I just don't read all that many vampire/werewolf books for some reason, so I was more than intrigued with Red Moon Rising's premise, and I jumped at the chance to review it.
I genuinely enjoyed this book. First of all, it completely satisfied the Necessary Likable Narrator category. YA books with guy narrators are still in the minority compared to girl-narrated books, and RMR was written in a fine, authentic voice. Dante (Danny) Gray is the kind of guy you just can't help but root for: wisecracking and a great sense of humor, not an idiot, and a heart of gold. You'll definitely sympathize with Danny's life when you take a look at his dysfunctional family: it's like the parents came out of either "The Addams Family" or "Arrested Development," and the sisters came out of "Gossip Girl" or any other fluffy CW show. And his friends came out of a Nickelodeon sitcom (here's my thing with Nickelodeon shows: I kind of love them. I never outgrew them). I know that we've all read books with endearing, cheer-worthy characters before, so now let me tell you something about Red Moon Rising, that I think is pretty unique: the paranormal world Peter Moore created is, I'm sure, unlike anything you've read before. At least, it's probably unlike any vampire/werewulf book you've ever read before. The level of detail in the storyworld is absolutely superb. From what I gathered, the story is set in a kind of alternate-world United States, where as the first page tells you, humans, vampires, and "werewulves" have splintered off from each other genetically. It's a world where the development of Synthetic Blood has allowed vampires to rise to a kind of bourgeois class, while werewulves wallow in a kind of second-class existence. I swear, the political and social commentaries were brilliant and kind of tongue-in-cheek. Loved it! To be sure, some of the made-up references sounded just a tad too similar to their real-life counterparts, which was a little goofy...
But what really made Red Moon Rising a truly original story for me was the amount of medical information presented in the story. Author Peter Moore takes two popular paranormal creatures and gives them biological and anatomical validity. For example: did you know there's a medical procedure a wulf can go through that suppresses his genetic characteristics? There's more than that. Way more.
The only thing that could have been better, for me, was the ending. The book starts out with lots of story ideas going on, but as the focus turns more and more to the inevitability of Danny's werewulf transformation, it's like other plot points start to diminish. By the story's end, you're left wondering "What happened to So-and-So? What happened with ____?" I'm curious to know if there will be a sequel... Also, some of the supporting characters were a little one-dimensional for me, like the love interest and the main villain, who's little more than a prejudicial high school jock. I had a really hard time believing how he could go to such extreme lengths just because he didn't like wulves. That was a kind of a stretch for me.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed Red Moon Rising, and I'm hoping that when it releases, you'll give it a try. My guess is that you'll be more than a little intrigued with the story's premise, Danny's wry voice, and the drama of a vampire-wulf hybrid who's just trying to figure out where he belongs.

Final Rating:

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