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Literature / Red Moon Rising (Moore)

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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 one percent makes all the difference in the world.

Red Moon Rising is a young adult Urban Fantasy novel by Peter Moore first published in 2011. It takes place in a world were humans, vamps, and wulves evolved and lived alongside each other all through civilization.

Vampyres are The Beautiful Elite; platinum blonde, tall, attractive, and highly intelligent. In contrast, Werewulves work work menial jobs and live in bad neighbourhoods. The main character is Dante "Danny" Grey, who has been raised as a half-vampyre, living with his mother and going to Carpathia Night, a high school for vamps. However, his father was wulf, not human, and despite the genetic treatments he had as an infant, Danny is going through some... changes.

Fortunately, he can rely on his best friend Claire, and classmate/friend Juliet. But there's only a month until the next full moon, and Danny's time is running out.

Not to be mistaken for Red Moon Rising (Holt), a Science Fiction book published in 2016, or Red Moon Rising, a Fantasy Steampunk webcomic started in 2009.

Red Moon Rising provides examples of:

  • All Genes Are Codominant:
    • 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-human 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 different subversion, because he is a half-wulf, half-vamp, and his gene therapy was incomplete. So 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.
  • 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.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Near the end of the book, each member of Danny's family individually comes 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: Several celebrities are either vampyres or, rarely, werewolves, in additional to the normal humans. They often have different names than in our timeline, such as vampyre rockstar David-bo E.
  • 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?: 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 highly addictive to vamps. 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.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: There are plenty of half-vamps and half-wulves, as well as hybrids of the two non-human species.
  • Hybrid Power: Danny is a half-vampyre and half-werewulf, though he's had genetic treatments to suppress his wulf side. Eventually it emerges, and he finds that he 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.
  • 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: Lacking the traditional weaknesses, these werewulves are naturally short and stocky, and lack any healing abilities beyond a normal human. Their bite does not transform humans into wulves, they only reproduce through offspring (although they are compatible with humans).
  • Phantasy Spelling:
  • Tagline: "You can't change who you are" — 2012 cover
  • Transformation Horror: The Change that werewolves go through involves multiple bones breaking, permanent disfigurement that lasts even into human form, and is incredibly painful. The fact that it takes place in strict and militant government compounds certainly doesn't help.
  • Transformation Trauma: The Change is traumatic, and the fact that it takes place in strict and militant government compounds certainly doesn't help.
  • 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 Werewulf Jaegers, an extension of the SS that hunted werewolves and put them in separate concentration camps during the holocaust.