Science fiction and fantasy
The Killing Moon
by Rod Glenn
One thing that stands out about this book is its sheer violence. Trigger-happy soldiers, warring gangs, hideous diseases and mutated "crazies" abound. Whether it's death, scenes of violations or fruity language, Rod Glenn doesn't hold anything back. It's full of the kind of casual violence that the prudish, the easily offended, very young children and those with high blood pressure or a heart condition should avoid. Consult your doctor before reading this novel.
The trouble with this kind of full-on action goes deeper than a feeling of "won't anyone think of the children!" It gets in the way of the suspense. The threat of impending violence is usually more potent than actual violence. But in The Killing Moon the characters get beaten up, shot at or blown up so often that there's little opportunity to worry about what's around the corner for them. There may be monsters galore, but the monster you don't see is always far, far more terrifying than the one you do.
Another problem with the high body count is that it means the introduction of a lot of secondary characters who we meet briefly, only for them never to return again. Kyle, Ritchie, Rob, Joe and Paul are central to the story, but they don't even appear in the first 60 pages. They are the most engaging characters, so it's a shame they're not around more. Rob and Joe are particularly likeable, with their reckless enthusiasm for life and their fascination for aircraft.
One thing that bears mentioning is the proofreading, or rather the lack of it. If you're the kind of reader who notices typos you may find the high number of them distracting. Even though this is unrelated to the story it can break your immersion in it.*
The good news is, The Killing Moon tends to improve as it progresses. Descriptions of the Black City aka Middlesbrough, and the decaying wastelands of the north are detailed and atmospheric. The importance of friendship is brought to the fore as the characters endure separation and hardship, and the main characters grow more rounded with time. It's a vicious and action-heavy narrative, but it's not without redeeming features.
*This comment on proofreading applies to the first edition.
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