Friday, November 19, 2010

Review: Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson

Genre: YA fantasy     Published: May 2010 by Simon Pulse
Page Count: 336 (hardcover)
Recommended for Fans of: Blood and Chocolate, die-hard werewolf fans only

Synopsis: Torn between two destinies?
Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and gorgeous Matthew keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she's the only girl there. But that night, she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: she's a werewolf.
As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she must deal not only with her changing identity, but also with a rogue werewolf who is putting everyone she knows in danger. Claire's new life threatens her blossoming romance with Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt. Now burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love, Claire is struggling to feel comfortable in either skin. With her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, she will make a choice that will change her forever.

Claire de Lune has a promising premise: an ordinary girl discovers on her sixteenth birthday that she is in fact part of a legacy of female werewolves and will soon make the transformation herself.  The cover is beautiful and the synopsis intriguing, except...except everything.  This is one of those YA books which was surrounded by lots of hub-bub when it was released, but after reading the book I'm forced to diagnosis it as: soulless.  Past the marketing appeal, we have a very typical coming-of-age story with a plot somewhat reminiscent of the werewolf classic Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause.  Claire de Lune is a sort of younger, empty-headed cousin of Blood and Chocolate, actually.

The main character Claire is a very typical sort of girl whose life seems consumed with crushing on Matthew, a very typical, soccer-playing heart-throb from her school.  The actual moment when Claire's mother tells her that the two of them are, 'in fact, werewolves, by the way', doesn't occur until perhaps 100 pages into the book.  This is a somewhat slow read, though that wasn't what made the book mediocre in my eyes.  Claire's reaction to this revelation that she and her mother are actually werewolves, hunted by society and part of a secret tribe, is exactly what you would expect: she freaks out.  Big-time.  And who wouldn't?  But I felt like I knew exactly what her next disbelieving exclamation would be.  And another thing-- how many times does the girl say 'freaking' over the course of the book?  Claire is sixteen-- I really think it is realistic to expect her to drop the f-bomb or at least a few minor curses during a moment of crisis.  I'm not saying she should have sworn like a sailor, only that it felt like the author was trying to hard to avoid cursing.
  I really dislike book-bashing, and I'm certainly not going to post twenty paragraphs about every little thing that was wrong with this book, so I'll just sum it up in a few words: predictable; mediocre at best.  I hear there is a sequel--Nocturne-- soon to be released, and already I can tell you this is one YA series I will not be continuing. I recommend reading Claire de Lune only if you feel you simply must, or if you're having a slow day at the library.
Overall Rating: 2/5


LupLun said...

I hear you, girl. I had high hopes for this one, and it let me down so hard. The most annoying part is, it didn't have to. It had a good enough core that it could have worked with a few more revisions. Too bad.

Ah, so you've read Blood and Chocolate. Old-school. ^_^ I have to get around to picking that one up one of these days. Is it any good?

Lupines and Lunatics

Kat said...

@LupLun-- Oh yeah, I'm very into old-school YA. :) Blood and Chocolate is possibly one of the greatest werewolf stories ever written-- you should definitely check it out. The movie ticked me off a little, but it wasn't bad over-all.

Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

Great review. I felt the same way.

Alison Can Read said...

I'm sorry you didn't like this one. I haven't read it although I'm interested in it.
It's so hard to do paranormals right. They all seem to have the same flaws - slow beginning, hard to believe plot arcs, etc.

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