Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Source: ARC provided by the publisher (thanks Hyperion!)
Cover: This isn't a cover that makes me need this novel. I'd certainly pick it up and read the back but I don't need the book based on the cover alone. I will say that this cover is amazing because a guy can pick it up and carry it around without fear of ridicule so kudos for that!
First Sentence: "Feeling like you fir in as a freshman in high school is tough enough, but it really sucks when you're only half-vampyre."
Mini-Review: Finally, a YA book geared for guys with a main character a guy can actually relate to!
Being only half-vamp in a high school like Carpathia Night makes you awhole 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.
Red Moon Rising is what it promises to be from the very cover. It's a guy book written from a realistic point of view. There is no faking from page one. Danny is a dude and you know it. Moore excels at crafting a realistic male protagonist that both guys and girls can fall in love with and puts him into a world that is uniquely his own. While the ending falls drastically short of my expectations, the ride was so pleasant that I almost didn't realize I'd gotten there.
This novel is all about the voice. Danny's alive from the very beginning. What I loved about Danny's voice was he's funny in that charming way that girls love to read about in novels but he's also got some rough edges. Moore isn't trying to make Danny overly gross to prove his manhood but Danny's not overly sensitive either. He's normal which is something we don't find to often in YA lit. I laughed at his jokes and clueless-ness when it came to girls and stood tall with him when he was standing up for himself. I really enjoyed being in Danny's head as he went from being oblivious to his wulf half and the problems they faced to having to learn to cope with them.
Throwing this type of character into a world so divided and bigoted is the perfect mixture for an explosive atmosphere. See, Danny's half vamp which in that world is all good but he's also half wulf which means that he's also partly a second class citizen. The rising tension with the wulf rights activists always present made for a great plot thread and really helped showcase how much Danny actually grew. The wulf rights were just one part of the world that Moore built. Vamps are "outed" because a synthetic blood drink allows them to quench their thirst and not attack humans. They've now got night school, sun blocking beds, windows and clothing and are pretty much on top of the social ladder thanks to their vamp gifts of being super cunning. I liked being immersed in that world though all of the different type of blood drinks and medical talk did get a bit convoluted.
I loved Danny's best friend Claire. The dialog between Danny and Claire was often times the best and they worked well to balance each other out. I was also really glad to see an openly lesbian character who just was. She worked well to parallel Danny's half wulf side. There is a discussion in a cafe where Danny asks Claire why she is the way she is and she merely answers that she is, just as he is half wulf.The relationship between Danny and his sister Jessica was also really great. They fought and genuinely hated each other but when they time comes down to it, they both really do care. I liked how Jessica didn't so much as change her demeanor, she still regarded Danny as an annoying nuisance, but that he became more aware that she put up a front to stay tough. Great stuff.
I've been hearing a lot of complaints about parents being absent in YA lit. Another of this novel's strongest points is the relationship Danny has with his parents. His mother is snobbish and overbearing at first but we find she is much more complex than she first appears.What I loved even more than that was the intricate relationship Danny had with his dear old dad. It really shows what an asset a good set of parents can be for a novel.
Unfortunately, this novel wasn't without a few flaws. The beginning dragged a bit. I kept finding myself wondering when the action and conflict were going to start. When it did, it was explosive but up until then I was left waiting. Another major thing was the ending. I didn't feel fulfilled. I'm not sure if there is going to be another one of these or not but I know that either way, I needed a little bit more than what I ended up with. I wanted a few more things explained and I wanted to see things a bit more concluded.
Overall, Red Moon Rising is a great read and a welcome addition to the YA world. With a strong male protagonist that both male and female readers can get behind, a great supporting cast and an interesting plot, I'd say this is one to pick up. I'm definitely glad I read this one.