The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Challenge 22 ~ “A book that scares you.”

(Because, honestly, if this is what happens to society after a global calamity, I have lost all faith in humanity.)


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

I read the Last Survivors trilogy around five years ago, so was extremely surprised when I discovered there was, in fact, a fourth book in the series. My immediate thoughts jumped to suspicions of Pfeffer (or the publisher) milking the series for all it was worth, or one of these ‘between the numbers’ books that I’ve always had my reservations about. Nevertheless, I was interested to see how things continued in this dystopian world, because I’d particularly enjoyed the previous three.

Once I’d begun reading, there was no doubt that this was a deserved part of the trilogy (or, rather, series now). The plot was its own story, and like the others told from a different perspective – this time, Jon, who I’d never really thought about much in the previous stories. The time jump (to four years ahead of the previous novel) was a useful tool, and Pfeffer used it effectively to create an engaging and novel book, which stood alone from the rest of the series. Having read the others such a while back, it did take me a little time to get reacquainted with the characters and their respective relationships, but I managed to find my feet before I was a quarter of the way through.

As I have continually found, it is both Pfeffer’s writing style and the engaging plot that keeps the pages turning with the book, and as ever this was complimented by an incredible range of well-executed literary techniques. I find when starting one of the Last Survivor books, you only know one thing for sure – something bad is going to happen – and The Shade of the Moon was no exception. Pfeffer kept the plot twisting and unravelling like a ribbon, before stepping back at the end of the novel to reveal the perfectly tied bow of a truly fitting ending.

I am not afraid to say I will be one of the first to question when a series becomes elongated out of the blue, and all of a sudden there’s another story to be told. Even with the best series, there is a right place to end. Despite my hesitance, however, I am pleased to say that The Shade of the Moon was not just a book to take a series too far – it was a well-written and rightly judged novel that, for me, seems to mark a sensible end to an incredible series. Plus, with all of this talk of comets in the news right now, it seems a fitting time to tell you: if you haven’t read the series, read it. Now. You may just need some of the lessons you’ll learn in a few years time!

Recommended for fans of:

  • The Withern Rise Trilogy by Michael Lawrence
  • Titanic 2020 by Colin Bateman
  • The Enemy Series by Charlie Higson

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