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Sci-Fi Book Review: Dead Moon by Peter Clines

As I said in a previous review, I got into the Threshold Series from Peter Clines all wrong. I read the second book first, not knowing it was part of a series. I read the first book second, also not knowing it was a part of a series. And I made the mistake of reading some reviews of the third book in the series, Dead Moon, before I read the book itself. The overall gist of those reviews tends to be that the book is weird, not that good, and feels out of place with the rest of the series.

And, in typical fashion, after reading the book I think most of those reviews are dumb…Here’s a brief synopsis of the three books in this series. I think you’ll see why I don’t understand how some people think Dead Moon doesn’t fit with this series.

A Brief Synopsis of The Threshold Series

14

A group of people living in an apartment building in Los Angeles slowly discover that their building harbors mysterious secrets. As they piece things together they manage to activate the massive machine that their building conceals, transporting them to another dimension/reality/planet populated with terrifying creatures that worship an even more terrifying Cthulhu-like flying-whale-thing that desires to consume all life.

The Fold

A group of scientists experiments with ideas and technology long thought to be defunct, and stumbles onto a way to instantaneously transport objects and material through space. What they don’t realize is that their experiments are slowly destroying the veil between our reality and an alternate reality/dimension/planet populated with terrifying creatures that worship an even more terrifying Cthulhu-like flying-whale-thing that desires to consume all life.

Dead Moon

In the not-too-distant future, humanity’s primary use for the moon is as a massive graveyard. One day a chunk of a very strange meteor impacts one of the largest graveyards, causing the dead bodies to reanimate. These terrifying creatures seek to kill and reanimate those living on the moon, so that they can all be subsumed into a Cthulhu-like flying-whale-thing that desires to consume all life.

See what I mean…? Okay, let’s talk specifics on Dead Moon.

Synopsis of Dead Moon

In the year 2243, overpopulation and environmental degradation have forced humanity to find creative solutions to problems, one of which was to colonize the Moon and start burying the dead there. It isn’t long at all before there are so many people in the lunar graveyards that full-time jobs are created for Caretakers, and one of the newest Caretakers is Cali Washington. As she settles into routine Caretaker life with her team, she finds the simple, repetitive, but important work that allows her to escape her past.

That all changes when a meteor strikes one of the graveyards furthest away from Luna City. This isn’t a completely unheard-of thing on the Moon, and it is part of the Caretakers’ job to re-bury the bodies after such a strike. Only this time, the bodies have come back to life. Or, more accurately, they are walking around in the vacuum and cold of the Moon’s surface without space suits, so they’re definitely not alive. But they are walking. And they are killing the Caretakers at the outer stations. And they are moving towards the city.

Cali and her team race towards Luna City to warn people and start an evacuation. As they travel, though, they are unknowingly bringing with them the very meteor that is causing the dead to reanimate. By the time they reach Luna City and realize what is happening, the meteor has begun to subsume the flesh of some of the zombies and recently-killed humans. As it consumes more and more life, it begins to grow into a massive tentacled monster with a voracious appetite.

Ultimately, our heroes are able to lure the monster onto a waiting cargo ship and blast it off into the Sun.

Dead Moon Review:A Divergence

Dead Moon is definitely the weak link so far in the Threshold Series, at least in my opinion. That doesn’t mean that I think it’s not a fun read, though. It is a bit of a departure from the other two books in that it is less of a slow-build and more of an action ride.

If 14 and The Fold were a Michael Crichton novel (starting slowly and mysteriously, then steadily building intensity and pace to a dramatic climax), Dead Moon is a movie from the Fast&Furious franchise (you can almost script the whole thing out from the very beginning, but it’s still fun to go along for the ride).

Are the characters great? No. Is the plot a masterpiece? No. Will it surprise you with unexpected delights? Probably not. Is it a completely serviceable zombies-on-the-moon-meets-Cthulhu-monster fun ride? You betcha.

If you’ve read and liked 14 and/or The Fold, it’s worth your time to check out Dead Moon. And if you haven’t read any of these books, give them a try! But start with one of the first two books…

Overall, I give Dead Moon +1 Cannarf. The Cannarf Scale is not an absolute measure of how good or bad you think something is. It’s a subjective measurement from, -10 to +10, of how good or bad it is relative to your expectations of it. So, for instance, you might see the greatest movie you’ve ever seen, and then give it 0 Cannarfs because it was exactly as good as you expected it to be. Also for instance, you might see a bad movie and give it +3 Cannarfs because you expected it to be worse.

Reading the lackluster reviews before I read the book itself lowered my expectations to a pretty reasonable level. The book was a fun listen (it’s an Audible exclusive, at least for now), but it was more or less exactly what I thought it would be.