Review: The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Written By: Kellie - Jul• 08•13

the shade of the moon

Series: The Last Survivors, #4
Publisher:  HMH Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: Ausgust 13th, 2013
Source: ARC

Rating: 2.5/5 – I’m still not entirely sure what I thought of this book. Some good, some awful.

About the book: It’s been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong? -Goodreads

Thoughts: This book hurt my soul. Definitely the biggest letdown of the season. Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but I had such high hopes and they were well and truly crushed. Book one of this series blew my freakin’ mind, but the series has gone progressively downhill since then. So you could still call book two a great book, but by book four you’re forced to wonder what happened to this wonderful series. What struck me about the first book was the bleak realism that went with the Evans’ family survival story, but The Shade of the Moon was difficult to enjoy.

Somewhere between where we left off with book three to the two years further into the timeline where book four picks up, the series has gone from post-apocalyptic to dystopian. Jon lives in the privledged enclave, while most of his family is struggling to make ends meet on the outside. Alright, fine. I can get behind that. Except somehow everyone inside the enclave have forgotten how to be human beings. Not only have their years of stuggle after an astroid hit the moon, but everything that made them decent human beings before that happened have been completely forgotten. These people are awful! And while I can believe these kind of characters in books like The Hunger Games where they have been raised to behave this way, in this context it just didn’t work.

I can appreciate that Susan Beth Pfeffer always goes for the stark reality of the end of the world, but having the privledged few be the rapists and slavers while everyone living in poverty are just good honest folk, trying to survive… well, I’m not buying it. Perhaps I’m naieve in thinking that a barebones society (no longer post-apocalypic mind you) made from people who are living right now in North America, would look like this.

Add to that, Jon fits right in with his new neighbors. This kid is an asshole and I just don’t believe his character growth by the end of the book redeems him, or that his actions are justified simply because his mom worked so hard to keep him alive above all else. It’s as though the first twelve years of his life counted for nothing, and all he took away from two years of struggling to stay alive was that he had a right to survive.

Also… instalove.

All that being said… it’s still an interesting story and really well written. Some of the plot twists were really well done, and I still have the utmost respect for Susan Beth Pfeffer’s writing and storytelling style. This story just went off the rails with plot and characterization. Personally, I’m a little shocked that this book is rater for 12+ as things get pretty gruesome, and there are some less than peaceful character deaths throughout the story.

Anyways, if this series continues, I’m honestly not sure what I’ll do. I wish I hadn’t picked up this book, but the damage is already done and I still love a lot of the surviving characters, so I’d like to see what happens to them. But can we please drop Jon down a large hole between this book and the next. Thanks.

Purchase The Shade of the Moon
@Amazon (US) @Amazon (CAN) @The Book Depository

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