I remember the day that I went to the library on the advice of one Mr. Stephen King and picked up a crazy little book called The Hunger Games. On that very same day, I also got a book called Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. I devoured both books and thought they were both pretty good. But I actually preferred Life As We Knew It. It was a great story with a strong, young heroine. An asteroid hits the moon, knocking it out of its place in orbit, bringing it much closer to the Earth. Millions die as the tides change and the coastlines are flooded. Crops stop growing, as survivors can’t predict sunlight and the seasons any longer. Volcanic activity is out of control, leading to ashy skies and poor air quality. Disease and hunger claim more of the original survivors, as they learn to live on their own, without electricity or any other comforts they are used to.
The heroine’s name was Miranda, and she told the story of her life in diary entries. She was a real character, who came alive on the page. I believed her teenage angst and admired her fight to survive with her family.
I guess the book was a success, as there have been 3 sequels so far. And now I’ve read them all. And each book was a little bit worse than the one that came before it.
This most recent book, the fourth in the series, was by far the worst. In fact, it was awful.
The Shade of the Moon is the story of Miranda’s youngest brother, Jon. He lives with his stepmother and half brother in an upscale town where the residents are treated like royalty. The population is made up of doctors, scientists, engineers, and other professionals who can help rebuild society. They get free housing, food, domestic staff, education, transportation, whatever they need.
And Miranda and the rest of her family? They don’t live there. They live in slums because they don’t have any of the necessary skills to be admitted to one of the “enclaves” where the higher echelons of society live.
Of course, there is a class war. Riots, violence, etc. And I didn’t care at all. Jon is the least sympathetic character I’ve come across in a while. His special skill is that he plays soccer.
Really? Yes, really.
And Jon falls in love with a kind-hearted girl who’s father is a doctor. Sarah and her father don’t see class or society lines like everyone else around them, and that makes them dangerous. So Jon has to pretend to hate her. Ugh.
Sadly, Miranda is sidelined to being an extremely minor character here. She was such a strong personality, I can hardly believe that this moron is her brother.
A disappointing entry into a once strong series. I’m hoping this is the end.