Nathanael Myers's Reviews > Red Moon

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
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it was ok

This is the only book about werewolves I have ever read. It is the best book about werewolves I have ever read. It is the worst book about werewolves I have ever read. The writing, the sentences are well crafted. The plot, however, doesn't withstand the slightest probing. One of the major female characters is introduced, underdeveloped, and pretty much disappears. And I am left wondering, what was the point? The pimply high school neo-nazis-in-training Max and his friends go from a disaffected, angry youth group meeting in basements to a crack special ops unit in about six months? Patrick is never wholly believable. Claire isn't either. Why does she become involved with a group of Mexican immigrants? Nothing really comes of that. Half a dozen characters are introduced only to kill them off two or three pages later. Plot oddities after plot oddities.

Two other things bothered me about this book. First, the book would be strengthened without the "scientific" explanation of the lobos virus/prions. Werewolves transform from normal human to wolfish shape in a matter of seconds. Jaws elongate, as do limbs and claws. Hair grows instantaneously. Then, the werewolf changes back to human as quickly. It's completely irrational. It cannot happen. Organic physical structures cannot change so drastically, so quickly. It's absurd. It's monstrous. It's magic. Creating a pseudo-scientific medical reason that attempts to rationalize how such a creature might exist makes the story less believable. It just does't work. It's like the Force becoming nothing more than an elevated metachlorian (sp?) count. Blech.

Second, the book too closely mirrors our present day America. This, too, doesn't make sense. If werewolves had been a real part of world history for several hundred years, the world, and America, would be fundamentally different. I understand that the novel is attempting to create a parallel or a metaphor about this country's reaction to 9/11, but the metaphor is too, too close. One cannot simply exchange all of the major civil rights events of the past sixty years with werewolves. Metaphor is a bridge on which meaning travels both ways. Real historical events are thinly disguised in the novel, but would these events have happened if the major forces behind those events were so different? No. They certainly wouldn't have been so similar or happen in the same time.

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Reading Progress

April 8, 2013 – Started Reading
April 8, 2013 – Shelved
April 13, 2013 – Finished Reading

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Jess "One cannot simply exchange all of the major civil rights events of the past sixty years with werewolves." A great point, and one that makes me leery to keep reading this book. I'm reminded of Octavia Butler's being told that there didn't need to be black people in sci-fi, because all issues of race could be handled by including aliens instead.

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