Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blog Tour Review: Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

Tags: YA, paranormal romance, murder, mystery, werewolves


Avery Hood remembers almost nothing about the night her parents were murdered and she was found sitting by their bodies, covered in their blood. As she adjusts to her new life with her grandmother and being avoided by her classmates, she meets—and is instantly attracted to—Ben, a new boy at school. She can hardly believe the flashes of silver she sees in her eyes, silver that reminds her of the mysterious something she saw the night of her parents’ death. Avery finds herself unable to stay away from Ben, despite the fact that he may be keeping a secret that is related to the thing that killed her parents…


I should’ve known better. I’ve grown more and more wary (no, not quite weary) of paranormal romances, because so many of them use the exact same formulae, with the same underwhelming results. LOW RED MOON may be an interesting enough read for the eternally paranormal romance-happy, but the number of conventions it uses unfortunately did not win me over.

Is it really even necessary to talk about the many paranormal romance conventions that appear in this book? I will just start listing them in question form: How is Ben attractive aside from his beauty and the inexplicable allure that Avery feels towards him? Why does Avery seem like she would not exist outside the mystery behind her parents’ death and her attraction to Ben, i.e. why does she not have interests, passions, hobbies, and worries outside of the usual “I wish things could go back to how they used to be”?

Also, why do people believe that as long as they don’t mention what, exactly, the type of supernatural creature in the story is, that this makes the story all the more credible? Here, let me explain it to you, in a way that Avery, for some reason, refuses to: IT’S A WEREWOLF ROMANCE. Does thinking that she might be dealing with a werewolf make Avery less credible, when within the first few pages of meeting Ben, she already tells him that she knows there is something unusual about him?

LOW RED MOON’s writing is reminiscent of any number of those paranormal romance visual franchises (Twilight, The Vampire Diaries) that make so much money nowadays. The dialogue is always being spoken at either a fearful, hissy whisper or in the literary equivalent of Kristen Stewart’s expressionless monotone. Ben behaves only like he is always on the verge of breaking down over his concern (or, I suppose, luuuv) for Avery, telling her in panicky voices to leave him alone, go away, save herself, stay away from him. And of course Avery has a one-track mind and cannot. Stay. Away. Of course.

The prose is what I think I’ll call “melodramatic teen prose” from now on: there are a lot of repetitions, repetitions that one seems to think will make the story seem cool, cool or otherworldly, otherworldly in a highbrow manner, and oh—how I love the dashes that appear everywhere—to indicate the dropping off of thought—interruptions because—gasp!—IT CONTRIBUTES TO THE PARANORMAL ROMANCE MELODRAMA, DAMNIT.

Reading this is kind of like how I imagine reading a screenplay of The Vampire Diaries would look like, which was one of the biggest reasons why I stopped reading L. J. Smith.

A sadly great number of recent paranormal romances out there make Twilight look good in comparison, and I’m sorry to say that LOW RED MOON was no exception. If the promise of a low-key supernatural murder mystery intrigues you and you are supremely devoted to paranormal romances so that conventions don’t bother you, then you could give this a try. Otherwise, I would honestly say that you should stay away, or else you’ll end up like me, writing this sort of review in order to expression the frustration that this book manages to eloquently wrap up all that is cliché about YA paranormal romances.

Similar Authors
Maggie Stiefvater
L. J. Smith
Lauren Kate
Stephenie Meyer

Writing: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Plot: 2/5

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5

Cover discussion: 2 out of 5 - Apparently it looks pretty neat in person, with foil and embossing and all that, and the inside is two-toned, but, while I like the redness (it's a color that hasn't been used much for paranormal romance covers yet), it didn't tell me much except to expect a werewolf love story.

Bloomsbury / Sept. 14, 2010 / Hardcover / 256pp. / $16.99

ARC sent by publisher for blog tour. Sorry.


  1. I didnt like this one either. I had high hopes and it failed me.

  2. STEPH! I completely agree with you about a paranormal romance. Wow, is this a first?!

    I gave it 2/5 too. I had such a hard time reading it, which is unusual for me.

  3. I felt very similarly about this book (though I think I gave it a 3/5). It was just a bit too cliche and flat for me.

  4. Sorry to hear you didn't like the book. I tend to shy away from paranormal romances too because the romance is always the same. I heard great reviews about this but I'm not sure if I'm going to read it.

  5. Goodness, this is such a coincidence, because I finished this as part of an ARC tour last night and had almost all of the same feelings. Like you, I would give it a 2 or 2.5 at most.

    Here's to hoping whatever book we read next is better for both of us.


  6. Hi Steph. I'm on the tour too and have to post a review on Friday. I felt exactly the same way as you and am dreading reviewing the book. I would give it even less--maybe 1.5 stars tops! I hate this trend in YA to have two characters fall madly in love after they see each other one time too. It drives me crazy!

  7. I agree; the number of paranormal romances in YA novels has skyrocketed lately and they're al sadly the same.
    I'm expecting this book in the mail soon from an ARC tour, so I guess I'll get to see how bad it is pretty soon.

  8. Hey Steph. Thanks for this review. It's really hard to write reviews like this, but honesty is so much appreciated. You did a great job of explaining why you didn't like it without making it sound like you were just trashing it.

  9. I've seen mixed reviews on this book. I'd be interested to know if those that really liked it tend to be paranormal romance lovers by nature. Thank you for your honest review and participating in the tour!

  10. I like a touch of romance in my paranormal, but certainly not if it's cliched and unfortunately a lot of them are. In my novel Lethal Inheritance, it's not love at first sight but 'ouch'.

  11. Ohhh. I wasn't feeling that psyched to read this anyway, but now I'm pretty sure it's not the book for me. Your review was awesome to read though!

  12. Thanks Steph for the review. I'm featuring this book on my blog this week as part of Monday Madness and I feel the same way. This is a first for me. I had high hopes for this book too and it fell flat.

    Re:Michelle - My blog is all about paranormal and this one didn't do it for me. So I'm just as curious to see how others feel.

  13. “Melodramatic teen prose” is the perfect way to describe this type of writing! It's boring, easy, and not original. It can really ruin a good story! Although in this case, it sounds like a story we've already see too much. I like paranormal stories, but the romances are beginning to feel a bit heavy for me. Great review Steph!

  14. Ouch. I've never been a big paranormal fan in the first now I am kind of apprehensive!


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