Book Review: Red Moon

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

They live among us.

They are our neighbors, our mothers, our lovers.

They change.

When government agents kick down Claire Forrester's front door and murder her parents, Claire realizes just how different she is. Patrick Gamble was nothing special until the day he got on a plane and hours later stepped off it, the only passenger left alive, a hero. Chase Williams has sworn to protect the people of the United States from the menace in their midst, but he is becoming the very thing he has promised to destroy. So far, the threat has been controlled by laws and violence and drugs. But the night of the red moon is coming, when an unrecognizable world will emerge...and the battle for humanity will begin.

There are a lot of books that have vampires, take twilight for example, but there are few books that have as the lead the another creature popular in various urban fantasy books. Werewolves. They are shown as ruthless creatures when transformed, no form of reasoning available much like the Hulk. But think just what if. What if, they lived amongst us, hidden, biding their times, being your friends, being an every threat to humankind? This is exactly the vision that Benjamin Percy shows in Red Moon. Where being a werewolf is considered a disease that is tightly controlled by medication and various laws. This can only be kept at bay for a certain time, something has to give... 

Benjamin Percy really knows how to kick off his story. Imagine an airplane, packed full and one person going to the bathroom and returning changed. This is precisely the scenario that Patrick Gamble faces, he is on board an airplane when a werewolf decides to change and run rampant, only by playing smart does he manage to survive. These few sentence don't come near to describe what all went down but trust that there are a lot of emotions involved and quite a few bloody scenes. Red Moon couldn't have started better. Afterwards Patrick is changed by the events that he has witnessed. Patrick's only makes up one third of the book, a second story that you follow is that of Claire, a young girl and infected with lobos, that that causes you be a werewolf. One day when she is at home, government officials come to her house to take her away. As a last resort she feels the officials and now has to navigate her own way through a most hostile world. But luckily she isn't alone and soon finds shelter with her aunt Miriam who is also a lycan and was part of the lycan resistance movement. There is more to the story of Patrick and Claire as there lives get mixed together into a complex love story. The last perspective of the story if offered through the eyes of Chase Williams an politician who is running for candidacy. Chase is heavily convinced that the lycanthropy is a disease that should be exterminated and all his statements are bolstered by this, he is against everything that has to do with the werewolves, his hate has left him with a lot of followers though. But just as the lives of Claire and Patrick, Chase's life is about to change, to something that he hadn't dared to imagine, Chase gets bitten. And not by a mosquito, no, he gets infected. So you can see that the three different storylines that make up Red Moon be it that they are connected and individual make up for a very nice promise. 

As I already said the introduction with the airplane scene is very catchy and this is continued all throughout the book. Benjamin Percy really shows that he knows how to write a story. What you often see when werewolves are used is a book more hinted towards fantasy, Red Moon is something else it's a hard hitting horror and thriller story at it's core. You have to take it seriously. It's first shown by how the characters act and react that there is a specific level of reality given and secondly by Benjamin Percy all shows. There is a high level of attention given to several elements in the book (I will get to this in a bit). This level of attention when it comes down to writing thrillers is a must, I read a few books by a different Hodder and Stoughton author, Scott Sigler with his Infected series which showed the same level. Working out the tech and science behind it really works to produce the right mood. 

So what does Benjamin Percy do exactly? He has created lobos. The contagion that produces lycanthropy or in simpler terms which causes you to become a werewolf. I liked this level of detail a lot. We all know that it is tranferred by getting bitten but that is it, something obscure. Benjamin Percy given the full medical record of lobos, hang on to your seats please. It's not a virus, it's not a fungi and it is not a bacteria, so what possible options are left? Mycoplasm? or a worm parasite? Well both cases are wrong. Lobos is a prion. For those who are unfamiliar with it, prions are also the reason of mad cow disease. It's a misfolded prion, which act in the central nervous system of most mammals, prions of a specific proteins act in a dominant way causing all other healthy proteins to become folded into the wrong state as well. Ok enough science for now, but trust me it's pretty awesome. And for me made a whole lot of sense, finally an explanation. I really liked how Benjamin Percy had thought this through. 

This above and the individual stories and combined stories of the characters make that the world of Red Moon is in constant motion and that you never know what might happen next. In the end, what happens when you tightly control people is that they start to revolt and this is precisely what the lycan movement has in mind. The lycans are tightly controlled by the normal humans, they are the minority here and are subjected to tighr regulations, they can control their changings but to be sure they all have to take the drug Volpexx which suppress changing. Lycans also have to be registered and are subjected to mandatory bloodtests, and again they are looked upon and despised. If you wold be given such a hate treatment wouldn't you revolt? Red Moon is in constant motion, and Benjamin Percy has created a very explosive and dangerous world. 

Red Moon is a nail bitting and hard hitting thriller story. The detail given to world building and the threat that the lycans offer combined with the personal stories of the different characters make this great read. There are some twists that you could have seen coming but there is one at the end that you won't the ending of the book is something that made me grin. As a final resort what can you do? Red Moon shows a much, much darker side to lycanthropy in full color. 


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