Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Series: The Last Survivors/Life As We Knew It series (bk. 4)
Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi
Subjects: survival, natural disasters, post-apocalyptic, social classes, family, societies, Tennessee
Age/Grade Level: Teen
Length: 288 pgs.
HC/PB: Hardcover
List Price: $17.99
Publisher: HMH: Harcourt
Summary/ product description: “The eagerly awaited addition to the series begun with the New York Times best-seller Life As We Knew It, in which a meteor knocks the moon off its orbit and the world changes forever.
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?”

My Review: This book takes place about 3 years after the events of This World We Live In, and 4 after Life As We Knew It and The Dead And The Gone. It’s told from the 3rd person perspective of Jon, Miranda’s younger brother. There are a lot of events we missed out on in-between the 3rd book and this book. I think I would of preferred the 4th book to be set right after the 3rd book, and maybe this could have been book 5. I’m a bit disappointed.
This book is very different from the other three because the characters are all in Sexton, Tennessee living in or near an enclave. Clavers and Grubs. Jon’s a Claver because he has Julie pass (Alex’s sister, she died in book 3). Grubs are laborers. Clavers are kind of jerks to the grub. It seems kind of extreme that grub would be treated so poorly after only less that four years since the enclaves were set up. Can society really change so fast? I guess in order to survive they do what they have to, but why treat White Pines like it’s the wrong side of the tracks? It just seems to soon for these social classes to develop. Or maybe it’s just a Tennessee town folk thing.
I don’t like that this book is from John perspective. Living in Sexton has spoiled him and turned him to a bit of a jerk. He goes to the high school, and plays soccer. He doesn’t work hard or fight for survival like he did in Life As We Knew It. I miss Miranda’s perspective/diary. In this book she’s apparently married to Alex and pregnant. I know that didn’t happen in book 3, and I still hate that this is years later.
Despite all of that, this book wasn’t boring. The writing is good and descriptive. It all flows well. The world building is okay. It’s not as thrilling or scary as the 1st two books were. There aren’t any more natural disasters. The sun is still blocked out by ash, but thing have settled down. There’s a lot more focus on how society is surviving and getting along. There’s still sickness, and it’s kind of like they reverted back to the 1800s. But, they do have air purification systems in Claver homes, and they build greenhouses and have food. The world is far from perfect, but people are living.
There was a little bit of romance between Jon and a girl named Sarah, but not much. The book didn’t become truly exciting or thrilling until part three of the book. That’s when Jon leaves Sexton, but that’s all I’ll tell you. I really made up for the slowness of the first half. So, Life As We Knew It fans, hang in there!
I recommend this book and series if you liked Ashfall by Mike Mullin. Yellowstone did blow up because of the moon in this book series, so there were a lot of similar events. Also, if you liked The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch, or any other dystopian book, really. I loved Life As We Knew It, so start with that book. I read it before I ever heard of the dystopian genera (I just called it post apocalyptic), back when it first came out. It’s a good book with great characters. The 2nd book has a different set of character, and the 3rd book merges both sets of characters. This book took those characters further into the future, and continued their story. There’s no doubt in my mind that there will be a 5th book.
Cover Art Review: I love the colors on this cover. There’s a moon on it like all the other books, and it’s embossed. The photo of the town looks kind of like an old black and white photograph. The resolution on it doesn’t look so great. But the cover overall is great.

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