Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book Review: Silver Moon by Catherine Lundoff

'Lo People,

I am so overdue for this review. You ever read a book or watch a movie where you were yelling at the main character? Grrl what are you doing? Yup. Becca Thornton did that me. I remember hearing about the book from the author. I'm definitely in the target audience being perimenopausal, a female, and a fang-carrying, lifelong member of the shifter tribe. I am down with the Werefolk. And I'm heteroflexible enough that I can enjoy lesbian characters discovering themselves. Her Tangh-i-ness's motto is be who you be. Love is Love. Anyhoo….

I appreciate Silver Moon too for offering a different vision of femaleness. Too often, the woman as a warrior, or even viewed as an elder, as a social force driven to protect and nuture takes a second stage to Romantic entanglement. There is light Romance in Silver Moon. There's also an interesting depiction of the poison of self-hate.

8/20 Update: (The character has been renamed. The writer is a true ally. She understood why the adjustment was needed and took action)

My one quibble with the earlier version of Silver Moon had been in the use of a goddess's name for a difficult character. The antagonist took it as their "warrior" name. The character says, "Remember me: I am the wind that brings change."

As someone who is a shrine keeper in a West African tradition, seeing that name in this context just tossed me out of the story just as Voudun practitioners cringe at non-devotees' depiction of their faith I had a reaction. Uhhhh...Ile Ife, we have a problem. Make of my reaction what you will. Please remember the I found the remainder of this story satisfying and absolutely worthy of a re-read.

*Spoiler Alert*

Her Tangh-i-ness greatly appreciates pithy plot summaries. However, for those who must have a virgin reading experience, read no further, and eyeball elsewhere.

*Spoiler Alert End*

Becca works in a hardware store in a town called Wolf's Point, is a member of a local women's club, and is going through the change. She's also feeling feelings for her female neighbor after her divorce from a man. It's Becca's first time considering that she is attracted to her own sex.

Becca learns the women's club she's part of isn't just a case of running with the wolves. The women become wolves. Becca finds this handy when she has to defend a kidnapped boy from a child predator. My girl Becca dispatches the predator human and brings the boy to safety. Yay!

I loved that Shelly Peterson, the Alpha of Wolf's point, was a Native American woman. I loved that Lizzie Blackhawk, Shelly's cousin was the town Deputy. Even the female antagonist with the goddess's name is a Native woman. So can we talk about Erin? "She grinned her slow lazy smile that always made Becca think about cowboys. Cowgirls. Whatever. Maybe it was her neighbor's long lean body or her short-cropped graying hair." So I'm looking at Erin too and I'm liking what I see. Nice to know Becca has good taste. Erin is the love interest by the way.

Becca and her pack have to stand firm against the machinations of the female antagonist and her crew. The crew calls themselves Nesters. Becca even runs away from what she's become and the pack. That lasts two minutes. Becca's running away earns the first of Her Tangh-iness's severe talking tos. Grrrrl, have you lost your mind? Becca returns to Wolf's Point after a think.

Becca meets the female antagonist with the goddess-name and learns the woman believes the women wolves killed her parents. Erin, Shelly, and the rest of the female elders of Wolf's Point and members of the pack show up to welcome Becca back. Lizzie brings Becca to the secret painted cave where the ancient spirits first put the magic into Wolf's Point that transforms its women into wolves. Becca learns she might lose her home to an ex-husband interested in selling it off so he could support himself and a new pregnant wife. The women of Wolf's Point decide to assist her in keeping it and to train her in using her new-found transformative powers.

The Nesters burn the women's club building down. The antagonist with the goddess-name turns out to be another of Shelly and Lizzie's cousins. She also has a drug that can overpower the urge to change into wolves. Complicated. Complicated. Becca commits herself to the fight when she tells Erin, "You're going to make me the best damn werewolf this town has ever seen."

Meeting with the Pack at the secret painted cave sends Becca into a panic attack but Shelly and the others guide Becca through it. Becca can do cool partial transformations: not quite wolf and not quite human and not always on the full moon. Becca makes some poor decisions (which does not include her first kiss with Erin) and earns being put under watch by her Alpha Shelly. The Nesters escalate their efforts to recruit new members by forcibly "changing" them.

Shelly the Alpha disappears. The Nesters have an injectable "cure." Becca finds herself on the receiving end of a needle. The antagonist with the goddess name says, "I see that you were wavering, but I knew we could save you. And we did. We will. You'll see: it'll be better now. We'll keep helping you." Becca gets herself taken prisoner by the Nesters in a bid to find out where they might have stowed Shelly.

She escapes and reunites with the Pack. Becca finds Shelly and Erin. The Pack elders have given Shelly and Erin the means to counter the Nesters effort to halt the change. Becca, Shelly, and Erin return to the cave with the painted walls. Together, they wield the magic to overcome the antagonist with the goddess-name and her male companion. Erin is wounded yet again. Becca finds that although the magic can defined against Nesters, it can't halt the sale of her home. But she could always move in with her next door neighbor Erin couldn't she?

C'mon, this can't be the last we've seen of Becca and the wolf-women of Wolf's Point…. I swear I can hear howling in the distance.

Note: This copy of Silver Moon was a hard copy purchased by the reviewer. Her Tangh-i-ness usually reviews on a for-the-love basis. No lucre has been involved.

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