Lunatic Fringe

Lunatic Fringe - Allison Moon Lexie is going away to college – though laden with self-doubt and insecurities as well as a whole lot of questions as to exactly what she’s doing and what she wants to be.But college is a place where she can learn – and far more than she realised. She can learn about the world, form some solid friendships, fall in love, truly discover her sexuality and find out who she isShe also finds out a whole lot about werewolves. And werewolf hunters. And loving werewolves and how things are rarely as simple as they appear.I had real problems getting into this book. It’s very descriptive and overwritten and tends to ramble around in places. I think it’s trying to be evocative to carry the full power or emotion of a moment or the scale of various feelings or new concepts, but instead it kind of rambled. I think part of the problem was that, with the title and the blurb, I knew we were going to be dealing with werewolves. It’s one of the problems with any “big reveal” book. The cover/title/blurb/pre-amble/author’s introduction tells you a book is about werewolves (or vampires or angels or whatever) then you spend half of the book playing coy until the ZOMG WEREWOLVES moment that we all knew was coming. It’s hard to pull off in a way that doesn’t leave the reader bored.Lexie herself isn’t a bad character per se, she’s very much what she is, a small town young woman with very limited experience and fewer social skills and even less confidence, going off to college to find herself, learn more about who she is and what she wants to do.But those stories end with someone who finds themselves, learns more about themselves and what she wants to do – and I’m not sure Lexie ever does that, despite at the end of the book her refusing to go travelling. And throughout the book she’s a very passive actor in her own story, taken to things, nudged towards things and constantly, constantly running from things. I don’t think that ever really changes.What could have been a fascinating element of this book is the world itself – the werewolf packs, the different kinds of werewolves, the peacespeakers and what they mean (hopefully beyond some vague references to Native Americans), their history and the conflict between the packs. But it didn’t work for me because so little of it was explored. We had a few lectures from Archer, some speeches by Blythe that I’m not sure we can believe and Archer’s own internal angst. I think I could have loved this world, but as it is I stand a little confused and feeling like I just didn’t quite get it all. It needed more development and exploration.The romance is unique in that it’s between 2 women – and heartfelt and powerful as many romances in paranormal romance. But we do have the falling in love awfully quickly trope, we have the conflict that I can’t entirely agree with trope (Lexie becomes angry with Archer for killing people pointing guns at her) and we have the virgin introduced to relatively advanced sex techniques and it all going swimmingly. They’re standard tropes though and I have seen them done far worse elsewhere.This book established itself as really tiresome to me before it hit the 40% mark – because it devolved into a series of lectures and PSAs. Far be it from us, at Fangs, to be resistant to social justice themes in books – far from it, we’d love to see more. But there’s a difference between having social justice themes and messages and having your characters recite text books and sound bites to each other. It wasn’t naturally incorporated, it didn’t flow – it was clumsy and clunky, it was didactic, it felt like the author has ripped out pages from a sociology and women’s study text book, with a side order of remedial queer theory and glued them in.Read More