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Monday, 28 March 2011

Irena's Review: Low Red Moon

Author: Ivy Devlin

Release date: 7th Feb 2011 UK
Genre: paranormal romance/mystery/urban fantasy
Target audience: 12+
UK Publisher: Bloomsbury


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.

Irena’s Review:

Low Red Moon is a wonderful, intense mixture of a murder mystery, the paranormal and romance. Perhaps I am going a bit far with this comparison, but this novel did strike me as a dark spin-off of Red Riding Hood, as it features a young girl whose last name is Hood, a wolf (or rather, werewolf), a grandmother, a man posing as the woodcutter and last, but not least, a forest.

Avery Hood lived a great, albeit slightly sheltered life with her parents out in the woods until a tragedy happened. Her parents were brutally murdered and the only thing Avery remembers is silver, the thing that killed them and shocked her memory into shutting down. Now, she must deal with the tragedy and with the fact that home as she knew it is no more. She has to live with her estranged grandmother, Renee, who fell out with Avery’s father years ago. Things begin to look up when a new boy, Ben, moves to the town. He also lost his family and now lives with his uncle, who was once the Hoods’ neighbour. But there is more to Ben than meets the eye. His eyes flash like silver and suddenly, as if not being able to remember the tragic night isn’t enough, Avery finds herself torn between desire and doubt.

I absolutely loved the setting and the theme of the novel. I am mentioning them together because they go hand in hand. Avery lives in a small town that is on the brink of succumbing to urbanization. On the one hand, there are the woods that are deep, thick and filled with legends related to humans who are wolves inside. On the other hand, there is the need to update the town and make it an urban paradise. Avery’s parents were fierce environmentalists and raised Avery that way. Although the murder mystery and the romance are very strong in the novel, the author managed to raise the issue of environmentalism and urbanization, adding a nice, slightly didactic touch to the novel.

The woods are very important in the novel. They are a living entity and Avery is special because she is deeply connected to the forest; so much so that the forest projects its grief through her physically. I really enjoyed the notion of a human being becoming so connected to nature. The connection is magical, but behind it lurks a bit of the issue of environmentalism I have mentioned before. It’s a very enjoyable combination.

Avery is a great heroine. She has a strong voice and an interesting background. She was raised in the woods, removed from society, home-schooled, which makes her slightly naïve and innocent, but also very intuitive. Although she is very confused in the novel, what with the recent tragedy of her parents’ murder, she never forgets that she must find out the truth. Her connection with Ben is strong, but it does not make her forget who she is and who her parents were. She has her head – and heart – in the right place. Ben is enigmatic, but his character could have been elaborated on. Not much is told about him and I would have liked to know more about him, as he did seem to be an interesting character that could have a great background.

The romance is very intense and passionate. The connection between Avery and Ben is instant and deep, but while I enjoyed their romantic moments, I think the instant-connection issue was not explained well enough. There is a reason for this connection, but it is vaguely described and I did not entirely understand it. However, putting the instant connection aside, as well as the fact that the words ‘I love you’ come out too easily (which is a ‘flaw’ of the majority of paranormal romances), Avery and Ben’s relationship was very deep and soulful and once it began to evolve, I truly enjoyed reading about their moments.

The murder mystery is suspenseful, but I suspected the killer and guessed at their identity. Still, it was shocking to know what someone would do to achieve an objective. The why behind the murder tragedy is the important part of the mystery and it is quite shocking. I really liked this bit of the novel.

The narrative is beautiful, very lyrical and it flows smoothly, pulling the reader in. The colour red – the colour of blood (as well as of grief, as described in the novel) – appears on the pages of the novel. There are pictures of trees in red ink in the bottom corners of the book and the word moon is always printed in red font. That was interesting and made the novel visually appealing as well.

I must not forget the supernatural aspect – they are very present and mostly well explained. I liked the handling of werewolves (quite close to the traditional werewolf lore), but I mostly enjoyed Avery’s special power, so to say. As I’ve said, I really liked Avery’s connection to the woods.

All in all, this was a great, intense read, featuring elements of romance, the paranormal, mystery and a pinch of food for thought. Lovers of paranormal romance and urban fantasy will surely enjoy the book.

Becky says: I really like the sound of this one. I love the sound of the setting. The contrast between the woods and the town. I want to read this now. Great review Irena!
Both our thanks go to Bloomsbury Books for sending the book for review.


Amber Griffiths said...

Wonderful review, Irena! I've heard such mixed things about this book, so I've been holding off from buying a finished copy. Luckily, I won an ARC a few months ago!
I love books that are murder mysteries, so I'm hoping I'll like this one.

Books of Amber

Bookworm1858 said...

What a beautiful review; I personally didn't really like this book but then I'm not a big fan of paranormal. I thought the killer was quite frightening though in the final showdown-so vicious!

Fiona said...

Gosh. I so want to read this.

Phanee said...

What a lovely review, Irena! It seems as though you enjoyed this book very much. I have read on quite a few blogs that the so-called 'insta-romances' (a word I really don't like), are considered a flaw in books and I can see their point. But sometimes there is a reason this happens, as you said is the case with this book. It is a pity you don't think it has been described fully, though.

It was very interesting, hearing your thoughts on this one! You have definitely made me want to try it for myself! :)

Nikki-ann said...

Great review! This sounds like one for me, thanks :)