The Shade of the Moon
by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 8/13/13 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
1 out of 5 stars
I read the first three books in this series by Susan Pfeffer about the catastrophic events that occur after an asteroid strikes the moon and knocks it off its orbit. In book one (which I gave 3.5 stars), we met Miranda and her family, who had to survive all kinds of natural disasters while their food supply grew lower and lower. In book two (which I gave three stars), Pfeffer wrote about the same events from a different perspective; this time focusing on Alex and his sisters, who had to survive all kinds of natural disasters while their food supply grew lower and lower. In book three (which I gave two stars), Alex and Miranda meet each other (and of course, fall in love), all the while surviving natural disasters while their food supply grew lower and lower.
Enter book four, which focuses on Miranda's little brother Jon. The one good thing I can say about this book is that the plot changes. After the same thing happened again and again and again in the first three books, there was nothing left to tell with that storyline. So I'm glad that Pfeffer decided to switch gears for this final book. (I am assuming this is the final book!!)
Except that I'm not glad, because I really did not like the plot line of this book. At all. I kind of wish I could have just kept reading about more natural disasters and starvation. It might have been less torturous than reading this story. In The Shade of the Moon, two years after the moon was struck by the asteroid, the world has stabilized somewhat, and natural disasters and food shortages no longer seem to be a problem. Jon is now living in a safe town, called an enclave, where only the privileged are allowed. As a claver, someone who lives in an enclave, Jon has greenhouses to provide food as well as a nicer home, air purifiers, a good school, a soccer team and many things that resemble life before the asteroid. Only those with special privileges can live in the enclaves. Everyone else must live in "grub" towns, and they are treated as second class citizens and live in much worse conditions. This book focuses mostly on the class wars between the clavers and the grubs.
This storyline and setting just did not feel believable to me. It has only been two years since the asteroid struck, and in such a short time, every person in society has completely changed the way they think about class and prejudice. I could see a system like this developing over time, but two years does not seem like enough time for this whole new way of living to have developed. Maybe natural disasters will make people do crazy things, but I wasn't buying this story.
My greatest complaint about the book is the characters and their (lack of) development. I did not like Jon, and I didn't really care what happened to him. All of the characters were one dimensional and boring. The dialogue was not impressive, and I just didn't feel connected to anyone. Miranda and Alex did not even seem like the same characters that we read about in the first three books.
I really think it would have been better for Pfeffer to have just stopped writing after the third book. This fourth book was not necessary, and I don't feel like it added anything to the overall story. I hope this is really the end of the series now. If more books are written, I don't think I will read them.