Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy © 2013, Grand Central

It’s a werewolf love story, better at the beginning and end than in the middle.  Let’s start with Percy’s werewolf world concept, which was interesting.  A certain percentage of folks everywhere are werewolves, or lycans, the result of infection.  They can infect normal people by biting them, but rarely do.  You are more likely to be bitten by a shark in Percy’s world.  Lycans live normal lives alongside regular folks and can take drugs to limit their need to go all wolf-y, or simply resist the urge, which the majority do.  Still, a segment of normal society is prejudiced against lycans, and therefore some lycans live in their own republic, which is near Finland, and guarded/protected by U.S. military.  A few bad-apple lycans think their race should stop at nothing, including terrorism, to end their second class citizenship.

The story begins with the first of the lycan terrorist attacks, which was a bit campy, and had me worried, but the book quickly improved.  The first third or so is about Claire and Patrick, teenagers who want no part of the lycan political controversy, but get drawn into it anyway and eventually drawn to each other.  Claire is lycan, but Patrick is not.  This was the best part of the book.  I was emotionally connected to both characters.  I felt sorry for them and wanted them to succeed.  The emotional connection ramped up when Claire was put in mortal danger, and Patrick had to come to her rescue.  I was primed to see them forge a “bi-racial” relationship in difficult times.

Unfortunately, Percy then chose to split up Claire and Patrick and spend the middle portion of the book going global.  The story focused on conditions in the Lycan Republic, the spread of lycan terrorism in the U.S., and the rise of an anti-lycan presidential candidate with a big secret.  The middle portion did reveal more about Claire and Patrick’s pasts, and helped give them reasons for becoming personally involved in the lycan political controversy, but I lost the emotional connection, here.  Claire and Patrick didn’t seem to miss each other.

The final third of the book went apocalyptic, with lycan terrorists gaining a foothold on a portion of the U.S.  Patrick and Claire are now both headlong into the lycan political problem, trying to improve the situation in different ways.  The apocalyptic setting Percy draws up is kind of cool, but not much different than all the other apocalypses out there now.  Fortunately, Claire and Patrick reunite.  Unfortunately, plot-wise, they reunite by chance, but at any rate the old flame rekindles, and I again had two characters to care about, which was more fun to care about than the fate of a fictional society.

Red Moon gets a howl for an imaginative setting, a great beginning, and a pretty good end.  It gets a whimper for letting what should have been back story dominate the middle.  Overall, though, it was worth reading and can stay on my shelf.  Stay, boy, stay!  Good wolf.

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