Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review of Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald

The five dragons are now four.  In a grand, murderous sweep, the Mackenzie’s have wiped the Corta family from the face of the moon, absorbing their helium-3 business and leaving only a small handful of the family still alive.  Carlos, Rafa, and many other Cortas met their end at the conclusion of Luna: New Moon.  The Mackenzies just players in the game, however, the beginning of Luna: Wolf Moon (2017), second volume in Ian McDonald’s Luna trilogy, finds machinations of life on Earth’s largest satellite just as fateful to others.  As the wo—moon—turns…
Lucas, Wagner, Lucasinho, Luna, Ariel, and Robson the only remaining Cortas alive, Luna: Wolf Moon opens precisely where New Moon ended.  McDonald not slowing narrative momentum one bit, Lucas gains his senses in the aftermath of the Mackenzie takeover aboard a Vorontsov ship, his mind set on getting to Earth to start his plan of vengeance.  Lucasinho and Luna find themselves uneasily under the protection of the Asamoahs—a family who may or may not have had their fingers in the downfall of the Cortas.  His mother a Mackenzie, Robson Corta is taken back under the wing of Rachel, his situation more than awkward as the Mackenzies celebrate their takeover.  Wagner, always an outcast, continues to find himself living in the interstices of lunar life, but struggles to remain anonymous as events around him escalate.  And Ariel, the egocentric daughter of Adriana Corta, remains in her wheelchair.  But when political alliances are offered, she finds a new power.

I’ve read in interviews that McDonald believes Wolf Moon turns the volume up to eleven on the Luna series.  And from a plot perspective, it does.  If New Moon stirred the lunar hornet’s nest, Wolf Moon is the fury of the unleashed insects.  Life on the moon turned upside down by means not made directly apparent in New Moon, Wolf Moon kicks what was a fast pace into race mode.  The volume of characters and settings at times almost overwhelming, McDonald pushes the limits of what the narrative this size can do in terms of plot capacity.

In the end, for those who loved the “Game of Domes” perspective of Luna: New Moon, Wolf Moon delivers more of the same, amplified.  Where many trilogy bridge novels do not make themselves fully necessary to the complete story arc, it’s impossible to say the same of Wolf Moon.  The third, final, and yet-to-be-named Luna volume is still a year or two away, but for certain its content hinges upon the dynamic, unpredictable, and utterly entertaining results of Wolf Moon. 

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