Some secrets are too dangerous...
After the tragic events of the summer, Claire is looking forward to a new school year. All she wants to worry about is finding the most gorgeous dress to wear to the Autumn Ball with her perfect boyfriend.
But as Claire knows all too well, the life of a werewolf is never that simple, or that sweet.
When Claire’s human and wolf lives start to collide, her worst nightmares come true. She is hurting her best friend. She has been caught lying. And then the unthinkable happens: Someone discovers Claire’s secret.
If Claire’s werewolf identity is exposed, everyone she knows will be put at risk. And the pack’s response comes at a cost higher than Claire can imagine. Claire will be forced to determine just how far she is willing to go to protect her family, her identity, and her life, before she loses it all.Rating: 4/5
I received an ARC (advance reviewer copy) of Nocturne, book two (2) in the Claire de Lune series by Christine Johnson from Simon Pulse, and I thank them very much for donating a copy for me to read and review for my blog.
Let me start off this review by praising Claire de Lune, the prequel. Claire de Lune was probably one of the best werewolf books I'd ever read and even before it had hit shelves, I had known that I was going to love it. Claire de Lune tells the story of a sixteen-year-old girl named Claire Benoit who lives in a very small, sleepy town in Washington State named Hanover Falls who finds out around the time of her sixteenth year that she is a werewolf, like every female in her family.
Claire is pretty much thrown into the pack blind-sighted and is pretty much thrown into a whirlwind of lycanthropy without any sort of werewolf/shape-shifter knowledge. Now, on to Nocturne:
Nocturne takes place shortly after where Claire de Lune left off. After enduring one of the most adventurous, complicated summers of her life, Claire returns to school hoping to lead a normal life with her gorgeous boyfriend, Matthew, and her eccentric and flighty best friend, Emily. However, returning to her human side after training in her wolf skin for so long has some side effects on Claire. She no longer has a desire to do the mundane things she had once taken part in. Before reaching the climax of her werewolf transformation, Claire went to the mall, had sleepovers, and did every thing that a normal teenage girl does--but Claire is anything but normal. Now, she spends the majority of her time learning and training to become the best werewolf she can be. A new release for her pent-up tension arrives in the form of running--running is the only thing that keeps Claire calm and relaxed--and from ripping a poor, innocent human's throat out.
As Matthew and Emily compete for Claire's affections, she seems to be pushing them further and further away until she's afraid that if she doesn't do something quick, she may loose them both because of her lycan genes.
Claire is human by day: she shops with Emily, hangs out with Matthew, goes to class, and fights with her mother--things that every teenage girl does. But by night, she's all wolf, practicing ancient spells and rituals and leading intense, action-packed hunts through the night and into early morning.
It seems as if Claire's life--her human life--is quickly deteriorating while her wolf side is thriving and basking in the success that she brings to the pack. Marie, Claire's Alpha and mother, has completely withdrawn herself from the human world, immersing herself with work. You can tell that Marie is very rigid and cold while she is human, but she is strong and dedicated to the pack.
I thought that the plot was great. Not once did I feel like I was being forced to read on, as if a chain was linked around my neck and it wouldn't release until I had read the final word. I felt very connected to Claire, because she is what I like to call a "normal teenager." In most books, the authors attempt to make their teenage characters seem very literate and intelligent and almost too un-flawed. In Claire de Lune and Nocturne, you see the "real teenager" in Claire that goes shopping, fights with her mother, is very insecure and shy, has a normal boyfriend and has an occasional fight with him. As much as I enjoy the more serious and deep characters, it is nice to read from the perspective of such a free character such as Claire.
I thought that the setting of Hanover Falls, Washington was great! I love rainy, dark, dreary, small, and sleepy towns--and all of those acronyms could be used to describe Hanover Falls. Plus, how cool is that name? Washington seems to be a very attractive place for book settings, especially since Twilight was released in 2005. Despite the regional similarities, Hanover Falls is completely different--it's way more advanced and developed than Forks, the main setting in Twilight.
I thought that the characters were very fun, free, and easy-going. The one thing that bothered me was that there wasn't really any depth to the characters as a whole. There were a few select characters that were completely their own such as Marie--cold and strong, and Beatrice--loving and maternal, and Judith--angry and cynical. As much as I wanted more depth to Claire and Matthew, I felt like they were just very generic in a sense. I felt like the characters were very real and life-like, but there was no depth and character development--or, as much as I hoped there would be, anyway.
I felt like the writing style was pretty fast-paced and at a few points, it slowed down, but only when it was necessary to do so. I love paranormal/supernatural romance with a very strong, independent heroine who, while falling in love, attempts to find herself in the process. I felt like Claire was a tad selfish towards the very end of the book--but I guess she had a pretty good reason to be. I mean, she was giving up every normal, human thing in her life so she could give herself to the night, the moon, the Goddess, and her mother. I wished there would've been a more epic romance, but I felt like the whole ARC of the book was self-discovery and finding yourself rather than falling and being in love and maintaining a romantic relationship. I even felt like the platonic relationship between Claire and Emily took residence over the relationship Claire had with her boyfriend, Matthew, you couldn’t help but think: does she really love him? Side note: I was a tad annoyed by how much Claire and Matthew said, "I love you." to each other. I can understand if their relationship was more life-and-death rather than their oddly mundane relationship. I also felt like they fell in love too quickly--I like a book where the two lovers instantly connect and the seed of love is planted in their hearts, and as the story progresses, the flower gradually grows and grows and begins to bloom until the flower has unveiled it's full glory and blooms into something beautiful and amazing--much like my ideal version of love and romance within a story.
I do not like the cover of this book--to me, in my personal and honest opinion, the cover is kind of dull and plain looking. The cover of Claire de Lune was absolutely gorgeous. The cover featured Claire on the cover with her head hung very slightly and the forest, full of pine trees, set as the backdrop with a full, pale, circular moon hanging in the balance, casting a ghostly glow upon Claire's pale skin and dark hair. And all over the cover are blue and black swirls, kind of like when a wolf changes, they swirl into their new form in an instant and I felt like the cover really depicted that well.
The paperback version of Claire de Lune is a plain white cover with two branches on the cover and the hardcover version of Nocturne is a black, glossy cover with two white, skeletal branches flicking out onto the cover like a serpent tongue with the sliver of a crescent moon in the top right hand corner. In blood red ink, "NOCTURNE" is written dead center on the cover.
All in all, this book was a very fun and easy read, and if you have just finished a very deep, heavy book and looking for something to read that's very fast and quick, pick up Claire de Lune and Nocturne by Christine Johnson.