Book Review: Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

08Apr16

 

redmoon

This review was first published on my Goodreads account over here.

So I read this a few months ago and my memories are fuzzy, but here goes…

This book was good. Really, really good. On a number of levels. The plot is good, the characters are great, and it brings up a number of themes that are relevant to modern-day America. It’s not a science fiction story that takes place in its own world, it can travel between the boundaries of fiction and real life and make you think about what the hell is going on.

The world in the book posits a world in which werewolves (called lycans in the book) are real and known, and the balance between non-lycan humans and lycan humans is tenuous and marked by violence and fear. The book primarily follows three people: Claire (a teenage lycan), Patrick (a teenage survivor of a lycan terrorist attack) and Chase (a politician who uses people’s fear of lycans to gain power and popularity), along with some other folks connected to the three main ones (Chase’s campaign manager, Claire’s aunt, Patrick’s dad, people like that).

One reason I liked this book is because it doesn’t take so many of the easy outs that a lot of genre fiction takes. The lycans aren’t all bad, but neither are they all good. Same with non-lycan humans. I can’t remember exactly how the book ended anymore, but I remember thinking that Percy had kind of written himself into a corner with his unsolvable primary dilemma.

The book was written in 2013, and I saw some reviews online accusing it of being heavy-handed with the Lycans-as-Muslims metaphor, but I didn’t read it that way. Like the X-Men, lycans can be read for a lot of oppressed people in American history (I remember feeling funny about Percy re-writing events in American Civil Rights history and making them apply to his fictional Lycan Civil Rights movement), from Muslims to African-Americans to LGBTQ folk and people with AIDS.

I also found myself fascinated by Chase Williams, the politician character. The book was published in 2013, and I read it in the fall of 2015, and was forcibly reminded of nobody more than Donald Trump (again, your own casting of Chase-Williams-as-metaphor may vary), currently running for president.

So yeah. Totally worth reading. Takes and re-casts our own world into a different, but still recognizable, setting. Recommended. (I recommend his other novel <i>Dead Lands</i> as well, though for different reasons that I may talk about some other time.)

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