Review: Luna: Wolf Moon

Posted: October 12, 2017 by in Books We Hate (1/5 single_star) Meta: Ian McDonald, Science Fiction

You may have already noticed, but there’s this little fever burning through the public at large right now concerning a certain speculative fiction series. Its novels are door-stoppers, its HBO episodes are reportedly hitting $15M a piece to produce, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (heh-heh) to realize that hitching your ride to such a wagon might not be the worst idea in the world if you’re looking to make a few bucks. It’s also available for attaching parallels that can instantly make a connection to the minds of many readers. So, seeing this book’s predecessor described as “A Game of Moons”, is sure to pull in more than a few readers, yeah? You’d think. But the difficult part in all of that would be the actual story, and whether it can stand up to such a comparison to a story that is loved by, literally, millions. Maybe you all can see where I’m going with this, and if you happen to remember my review of that last book, it’ll probably even be an easier line to pick up.

LUNA: WOLF MOON (Amazon) is the second novel in the LUNA series surrounding the five ruling families on the moon of Earth. The preceding novel, NEW MOON (EBR Review) was about a whole lot of hubbub surrounding the Corta family that ultimately was very little more than a mishmash of life spots for the various individuals within the Corta family and ultimately led us nowhere but did culminate in the assassination of the Corta matriarch. In a way, this book picks up on the tail of that conglomeration of life sketches, and gives us a few more glimpses into how the lives of the Cortas have changed in the wake of the hostile takeover following the assassination.

So, first the elephant in the room. Does “A Game of Moons” fit? Technically, yes. It’s about a number of families, all fighting for social and economic dominance in a violent and harsh world. In detail? Partially. This story, like that of the comparison, is intensely character centric. All of the story going on is about the characters. Intensely so. Just like in GoT, it’s ridiculously easy to get lost in the details of the character’s lives and lose the vision of what is going on at a larger level. WOLF MOON, however, for all of that microscopic life detail, has a surprising dearth of actual characterization. Even at the end of this second novel of the series, I still don’t know much about who each of the Cortas are. Lucasinho is a partier that doesn’t care about much of anything else, Lucas is a tough-as-nails hard-liner that is used to getting what he wants, and Wagner is bi-polar (which actually says nothing about “who” he is, only “what” he is). I’d be hard-pressed to come up with much about any of the other characters.

The stories about each of the characters as they are, avoid all of the interesting and/or important pieces of the story. Instead, we get to read a lot about Lucas training his body so he can travel to Earth rather than the reason he’s going there. We see Lucasinho as he jumps from room to room and obsessing over things like making cake. There is actually a solid 3-page treatise on the complexities and nuances of tasty cake. Cake! There’s some more of Marina Calzaghe, who was one of the better characters from NEW MOON. Only this time she’s 90% worry about making her decision to leave Ariel Corta’s employ because her point-of-no-return date is coming up fast and if she doesn’t quit and go back to Earth, she’ll never be able to. What does any of this have to do with the fight between the “Dragons” of the moon? Um. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Oh, but there is a Corta kid that does parkour across the tops of buildings like in Mirror’s Edge, which is an awesome video game, but as an inclusion is pretty pointless here. Cool, yes, but still pointless. And there’s a lot more sex. Ugh, this one got ridiculous with the sex. Hmm, which is still nothing to do with the fight between the “Dragons” blah, blah, blah.

It may have been picked up to be the next big TV series, but LUNA: NEW MOON may be one you pass on if you think like we do at EBR.

In fashion identical to the previous novel, the ending comes out of left-field and it’s quickly over. A few more people died. Oh well. Some places on the moon have been blown up. Why do I care? I was left wondering, again, why the book spent so much useless time trying to tell stories that have no point, no focus, and no drive. There’s no development of plot. No elucidated motivations. No tension. As I mentioned earlier, little to no characterization. It’s even lacking in any of the pieces that make a good science fiction story: grand new speculative ideas, a sense of wonder, or anything else for that matter.

There was so little about this book that I found even the remotest bit interesting or engaging. Given the previous book, I’m not all that surprised. Still, it would have been nice to see something that redeemed it just a little. A complete waste of reading time, even for lovers of science fiction.

  • Recommended Age: 18+
  • Language: Strong but fairly infrequent
  • Violence: Lots of death, little gore
  • Sex: Lots and lots of pointless examples


  • bormgans says:

    A bit harsh, but I get where you are coming from. The previous book was fresh – the world building excellent, the characters interesting. This doesn’t develop any of it, not the characters, nor the world.

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