Red Moon

Benjamin Percy

Summer Fiction, Summer Not

Red Moon

by Benjamin Percy
Grand Central Publishing, 544 pp., $25.99

A heady mix of political allegory and urban fantasy, Red Moon depicts a world in which a portion of the world's population is infected with the lobos virus, giving them the ability to transform into werewolves, or lycans. Kept at bay from their urges by strict laws and a mandatory drug called Lupex, the lycan community are oppressed, second-class citizens. While the majority of lycans are law-abiding and living peacefully among us, a group of extremists seek to free their kind from the shackles of government control.

After a set of airplane attacks plunge the U.S. into a war with the Lupine Republic (somewhere between Finland and Russia), Patrick Gamble's father gets sent to the front lines, leaving the human teen to go live with his estranged mother in Oregon. He soon falls in with a lycan hate group that goes around town terrorizing suspected werewolves. He also meets Claire Forrester, a lycan who's on the run after her Weather Underground-like parents are gunned down by the government in cold blood. When Patrick's father goes missing, he enlists in the war, leaving Claire to traverse the hidden caves where lycan terrorists seek to escalate their aggression. Also in the mix is Chase Williams, a charismatic, right-wing presidential candidate campaigning on a rigorous anti-lycan platform, who, after an attack leaves him infected, must go to great lengths to conceal his werewolf tendencies.

Percy is a skilled writer, able to sympathetically portray both sides of this conflict, never resorting to a good-vs.-evil delineation. His novel examines the themes of race, religion, social injustice, and the war on terror while also providing a provocative update on the werewolf mythos. It's a shame, then, that the last third of the book is hampered by convoluted, blatant positioning that sees every major character converging together for a climax that is lackluster, especially given all that's come before. Still, those looking for some contemporary politics mixed in with their modern horror will definitely find something to sink their teeth into.

  • Summer Fiction, Summer Not

    Six new releases to kick back with this season
  • Life After Life

    Atkinson treats her interesting narratives with a light but steady hand

    The Science Delusion

    White takes aim at the bold targets of Richard Dawkins and Jonah Lehrer and their ilk

    The Son

    Imagine an aerial view of Texas, in which hidden elements of a huge, breathtaking landscape are suddenly made clear
  • You

    Follow along with a group of kids maturing along with the tech and gaming industry of the Eighties and Nineties

    And the Mountains Echoed

    Khaled Hosseini's third novel resonates to the core
READ MORE
More Book Reviews
Local Flavor
Paleo French Cuisine
The 10,000-year-old diet gets a French makeover

Anna Toon, June 14, 2013

Summer Fiction
The Age of Miracles
Apocalypse Wow: 'The Age of Miracles'

Kimberley Jones, June 15, 2012

More by Josh Kupecki
Australia's Lost Gold: The Legend of Lasseter
One man; one mystery; two latter-day explorers; no gold

May 27, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse
Another bloated spectacle that serves neither the fans nor the story

May 27, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Red Moon, summer fun, werewolves, Benjamin Percy, politics, religion, war on terror

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)