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Literature / Red Moon Rising

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Just before humans split off from their hominid primate ancestors, two separate mutations occurred, resulting in three different species: H. sapiens, H. vampyros, and H. lupus. From a genetic viewpoint, humans, vampyres, and wulves are 99.6% identical. That four sixths of on percent makes all the difference in the world.
Dr. Kavita Singh, Critical Divergence: the Human, Vampyre, and Wulf Genomes, 2007

Red Moon Rising is a young adult paranormal novel by Peter Moore. It takes place in a world were humans, vamps, and wolves evolved and lived alongside each other all through civilization. Ever since the development of synthetic blood, vamps have become society’s elite, while wulves work menial jobs and live in bad neighbourhoods. Wulves are less than second class citizens - once a month they become inmates, forced to undergo their Change in dangerous government compounds.

The plot itself follows Dante "Danny" Grey, who is trying to navigate the intense specist turmoil that the world has been steeped in for centuries as he enters high school. Being only half-vamp in a high school like Carpathia Night usually makes you a whole loser, but Danny manages to escape the worst of the specists at his school. Thanks to genetic treatments he had as an infant, most people assume Danny's other half is human - which is a good thing. For Danny, living with his vamp mother and going to a school with a nearly all-vamp student body, it’s best to pretend his wulf half doesn’t even exist. His best friend Claire certainly doesn't care, and neither does his classmate and human friend Juliet.


But lately Danny's been having some weird symptoms — fantastic night vision; a keener-than-usual sense of smell; and headaches, right around the full moon. Even though it's easy to be in denial, it's hard to ignore evidence. There's only a month until the next full moon, and Danny's time is running out.

  • All Genes Are Co-Dominant: Played with.
    • Played straight with half-human vamps, who are fairly similar to both sides of their family tree and share the weaknesses of both species.
    • Subverted with any half-wulves, where the wulf genes are dominant and the person is considered either a full-wulf or not a wulf at all depending on whether their parents can afford gene-therapy to suppress the wolf side of their biology (and avert the Change).
    • Danny is a subversion. His gene therapy was incomplete, meaning his wulf genes were weakened but not suppressed and his vamp traits are constantly battling it out. At the beginning of the book he's not as stocky as a wulf but not as tall as a vamp. He has wulf hair colour, but vamp eyes and intelligence. As he comes closer to the Change he grows excessive body hair like a wulf, but the Change itself leaves him mostly cognizant when he should be feral, and doesn't alter his appearance as a normal wulf.
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  • Alternate History: Wulves and Vamps are genetic offshoots of humanity that have coexisted with us for centuries, leading to several different societal shifts to accommodate the needs of the other species and Vamps eventually becoming the majority leaders in politics.
  • Arc Symbol: A stylized black wolf head in a red moon, the tag all wulves are tattooed with at infancy that proves their species.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Near the end of the book, each member of Danny's family individually come to peace with what he's going through and show their love for him in different ways. The most blatant is Paige, who writes him a letter talking about how lame everything he's going through is and that she hopes he'll be okay.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Due to the alternate history of the book, several celebrities are either vampires or, rarely, wulves.
  • Body Horror: The Change, which is so bad that it can permanently disfigure wulves. The bones break and rearrange, the face splits open to handle the widening jaw, and the skull has to break and reform for the muzzle. Once a wulf changes back they often have scars and injuries on their faces, leading to the derogatory term "crumple-skull".
  • Capital Letters Are Magic: The Change and the Thirst.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Hoo boy. The basic treatment of wulves is quite similar to that of racial minorities in the modern world. The kennels are seen as internment camps by wulves and wulf-sympathizes, which isn't too far off since there were actual internment camps for wulves during WWII. The Change and stigma associated with it rings similarly to mental illness. Danny telling his mom about his wulf side surfacing is a lot like a Coming-Out Story, complete with him being temporarily kicked out.
  • Fantastic Drug: Real blood is this to vamps as it's highly addictive. Some vamps also use prescription blood thinners and coagulates to obtain a species-specific high.
  • Fantastic Racism: Wulves are on the bottom rung of society due to their appearance, temperament, and The Change.Gunther and his cronies are especially rude to the wulves, and eventually Danny, taunting them with specist slurs and trying to goad them into fighting so that they get expelled. Vampyres see themselves as superior to humans as well, but not to the point of hate crimes.
  • For Want of a Nail: Due to the presence of vamps and wulves in this worlds history, mainly wulf rights occurring at the same time and in a similar manner as other civil rights movements. "Ring Around the Rosie" is now about wolf hunting, Shakespeare wrote a play called "King Wain" that involves vamps and wulves, "Changes" is now about wulves, and several other celebrities have different names, biographies, and species.
  • Fur Against Fang: There are centuries of animosity between the socially elite Vampyres and lower-class Werewulves, though in the books setting it manifests as a class struggle rather than outright war.
  • Gay Best Friend: Claire for Danny.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: there are plenty of half-vamps and half-wulves, as well as hybrids of the other non-human species.
  • Hybrid Power: Danny doesn't bleed as much as a normal vampire, has heightened senses at all times, and can withstand sunlight due to both his hybrid status and his incomplete gene treatments.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Most of the worlds history is untouched. The world wars still occurred, the KKK and Nazis still held power, and most movies were still made (even if they had different names). Notably, the Fantastic Racism exists next to other stigmas against marginalized groups rather than outright replacing it.
  • Left Hanging: No resolutions are given with regards to the full effects of Danny's Change, his relationship with Juliet, or the assassination of Huey Seele. And it seems unlikely that the book will receive a sequel any time soon.
  • Muggles: Humans, who form the middle ground between vamps and wulves - not as smart or attractive as the former, but not as tough or stigmatized as the latter.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Averted - the Werewulf Jaegers were an actual branch of the SS in this timeline, and several vampire societies are descended from that - with just as much racism and specism as their forefathers.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Pure blood vampyres are platinum blonde, tall, attractive, highly intelligent, and have a Healing Factor known simply as regen. The only traditional weakness they retain from classic lore is sunlight, which will burn them easily and requires them to utilize Sol-Blok windows in their houses and cars. They also have the Thirst, which drives them into a bloodlust if they're around exposed blood for more than a few minutes, and bleed easily when cut. Their blood naturally lacks important nutrients and they have to replenish it by consuming more, but these days they have to stick to SynHeme, since real blood is highly addictive. Lastly, they cannot turn a human into a vampyre.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Actually quite close to the lore, aside from their lacking any traditional weaknesses. They're naturally short and stocky, and lack any healing abilities beyond a normal human. Like vampyres, they cannot make other wulves from humans.
  • Phantasy Spelling: Vampyres and Werewulves.
  • Transformation Trauma: The Change. The conditions it often has to occur under only add to the trauma.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Poachers hunt moon-runners (wulves who Change outside the compounds) without regards for who they are as people. There were also the werewulfjaegers, an extension of the SS that hunted werewolves and put them in separate concentration camps during the holocaust.

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