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Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

October 7, 2010

Obligatory description and book cover:

The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver—deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can’t, and there’s nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school—Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she’s ever experienced. When Ben reveals he’s a werewolf, Avery still trusts him—at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she’s not the only one who can’t remember the night her parents died.Part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance, Low Red Moon is a must-read for teen paranormal fans. As breathless as Twilight and as spooky as Shiver, this is a book to be devoured in one sitting—by an acclaimed YA author making her paranormal debut under the pseudonym Ivy Devlin.

Well. This was not my favorite book. For one thing, it was incredibly rushed. Though the book clocks in at 244 pages, they are pages with fairly large print, wide margins and double-spacing. It’s basically a short story in hardcover, a la Linda Howard’s Ice. It’s got a pretty cover, though. All red and shiny.

Low Red Moon tells the story of Avery Hood, a seventeen year-old girl whose parents have just been murdered. Although Avery was found at the crime scene by a deputy, she doesn’t remember the events of the night her parents died. Except for a disturbing flash of silver. The flash of silver is both ominous and repetitive. Although I guess it makes sense that Avery would cling to the only memory she has of that night. Still, it’s drummed into our heads again and again and again and–okay, I’ll stop. Anyway, Avery returns to school immediately after her parents’ deaths. That’s weird but necessary to the plot: it means she gets to meet the mysterious, hot new boy. Who rocks a really awesome pair of moccasins. No, seriously. Just how are moccasins sexy, exactly? Yeah, I don’t know, either.

The new boy’s name is Ben. Avery experiences the inevitable instant attraction to Ben. He feels it too. At first, he tries to push her away. Then he can no longer deny the attraction or the special connection between them. This is a theme that is repeated often these days, especially in Teen fiction. It’s one that I can get behind. The special connection angle works for me in Maggie Steifvater’s Lament and Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments Series. But Avery and Ben’s “connection” alternately bored me and made me want to roll my eyes. It was also, due to the short length, terribly rushed. I don’t like Romance novels where the hero and heroine jump into bed together within a few short pages of meeting each other. Avery and Ben do the teenage equivalent. You blink and they’re making out. With heavy petting. Hee, that’s funny, given this is a werewolf story.

The major thing that Low Red Moon suffers from is a lack of characterization. We never learn much about Avery, Ben, or Avery’s grandmother, Renee. Avery falls into “I read some stuff on the internet and now I understand everything” trap. Not to mention the utter and COMPLETE stupidity she exhibits near end of the novel. If Ben weren’t so lame himself, I’d say she didn’t deserve him. As it is, I think they’ll be very happy together. After all, yearning after Avery seems to be Ben’s only skill. I give them a couple of decades, at least. Sadly, even Avery’s parents suffer from one dimensionalism. They come off as your standard, every day neo-hippies. Renee is…I’m not even sure. She can build a porch, though. Her past, which is meant to be mysterious, isn’t. What is a mystery is what really drives Renee. Why did she make the decisions she did? What, exactly, happened between Renee and Avery’s father? I can’t help thinking he hated her because she married his father because he was the easy choice. That’s simply speculation, though, as motivation is lacking in this novel. Central to the plot of this book is who killed Avery’s parents. I figured out who it was mainly by process of elimination and an unsuccessful red herring. What I still don’t understand is, why? I mean, Devlin tells us, but I don’t buy it. It comes off as lame and unconvincing.

What I really didn’t like, though, was how many things were left unexplained. All we learn about Devlin’s werewolves is brought up and dismissed in a few lines. Then there’s Avery’s sort of friend, Krista, who is so incredibly insignificant that I’m not sure how she made it into the story at all. Ben and Avery’s mystical connection is neither fully explored nor explained. Neither is Avery’s mother’s nervousness on the night she was killed. When I closed Low Red Moon, all I could think was, “Wait–what?”

I haven’t heard anything, but I suppose the unanswered questions could be because the author intends to make this into a series. Too bad that the plot, the writing, and characterization are all so uninspiring, that I definitely won’t be buying any potential sequels.


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