Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and gorgeous Matthew keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she's the only girl there. But that night, she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: she's a werewolf. As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she must deal not only with her changing identity, but also with a rogue werewolf who is putting everyone she knows in danger. Claire's new life threatens her blossoming romance with Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt. Now burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love, Claire is struggling to feel comfortable in either skin. With her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, she will make a choice that will change her forever?
In the last few weeks, I have read a total of four books on werewolves. Like each of the previous books, Christina Johnson’s Claire de Lune offers something original not only her in werewolf mythology, but her plot as well.
There are several elements in Johnson’s book that I liked. I was impressed by the idea that her werewolves were female and that they had to mate with human men. I was also impressed how she carried this through by providing background on how pregnant werewolves could only go full term if the baby was a girl. It was also interesting how she showed the pack’s devotion to the goddess and to tradition.
Johnson skillfully maintains tension throughout the story by weaving several different conflicts. First, there is the budding romance of Claire and Matthew. The romance itself was tense because it is Claire first crush, and she is shy and unsure of herself. Johnson adds to this tension by creating further conflict between Claire’s mother and Matthew’s father, Dr. Engle, who has a drug that supposedly cures lycanthropy. In addition to the romance, when Claire finds out she is a werewolf she must deal not only the knowledge, but also the secrecy that comes with it. Finally, there is a renegade werewolf killing humans, whose existence is threatening the pack’s safety. Needless to say, these conflicts add up to a compelling story that kept me engaged.
The only element that I found less than perfect was the characterization especially of Claire. Johnson went out of her way to portray Claire as sheltered. Her mother was away a lot and because of this Claire has as au pair, so yes, I could understand her being naïve. However, Claire all too quickly begins taking risks that I found hard to believe her capable of, such as going out alone and practicing her transformation, meeting Matthew, after being told not to see him, and lying a lot. I just had trouble accepting all these changes occurring in such a sort period of time. I also felt that much of the dialogue seemed forced and that the relationship between Claire and her best-friend was more contrived than real. Finally, Matthew was just so so, which made the romance so so, too.
Christine Johnson definitely has created a good first novel, that more than adequately shows her potential as a writer. I did enjoy Claire de Lune and will certainly read more from this new author.