4 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson

Title: Claire de Lune

Author: Christine Johnson

Genre: YA/UF

Torn between two destinies?

Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and gorgeous Matthew keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she’s the only girl there. But that night, she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: she’s a werewolf.

As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she must deal not only with her changing identity, but also with a rogue werewolf who is putting everyone she knows in danger. Claire’s new life threatens her blossoming romance with Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt. Now burdened with a dark secret and pushing the boundaries of forbidden love, Claire is struggling to feel comfortable in either skin. With her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, she will make a choice that will change her forever?

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster Children’s
Publication Date: May 18 2010/ July 1 2010
Hardcover: 256 pages/Paperback:352 pages

Stand alone or series: First in a new series

Why did I read the book: What made me want to read this book? The cover and the title (which I think is a great play with Clair de Lune). Yes, I can be shallow.

How did I get this book: I received an ARC from Simon Pulse


I will go straight to the point and summarise the book’s proposition: Claire de Lune is a book about a girl who finds out that she is a werewolf (in a world that despises and fears werewolves) and who struggles between being human and being a werewolf. I find that, as conflicts go, this one could potentially be interesting depending on how one executes it. But Claire de Lune bugged me to no end because it is a book whose main conflict stems from a very flawed, counterintuitive, inorganic premise. But I am way ahead of myself.

On her 16th birthday, Claire finds out that she is a werewolf.

Hold on. I think that sentence lacks a certain flair. Let me rephrase this:

On her 16th birthday, Claire develops a rash.

It covers her hands and ears and it itches and it itches and….no one does anything about it. Claire goes around for a few hours, scratching, hiding her hands and covering her ears and never once considers going to a doctor. She is then informed point blank by her mother, that she is a werewolf. That she belongs to a local pack.That werewolves are female only, who don’t consider themselves human – at all – whose identities MUST at all cost be kept a secret, hence why girls are only told they are werewolves a few days before their first transformation. And then they have to just deal with it. With the fact that they are not humans; that they are, what most people consider, killing machines; that they are not supposed to have lasting relationships with any humans, because they can never know they are werewolves; who in order to reproduce, must find a human partner but should not fall in love or remain too close.

Let’s take a step back for a moment and examine this premise. It just….doesn’t make ANY sense to me. It sounds, as I said before, very counterintuitive: from a biological point of view and from a cultural point of view.

With regards to the former, one of the most important biological imperatives of any species is reproduction. Correct me if I am wrong, but a female-only species does not sound like the way to go especially if you consider minor things like you know, GENES. Wouldn’t having babies ONLY with male humans be the perfect way to weaken the lycanthrope genetic signature? Granted that all I have here to guide me is my High School Biology and my love for David Attenborough. I may be wrong but this was sufficient to pull me out of the story. And don’t think I don’t appreciate the attempt at making a “girl-power” story with strong female characters who are in charge, because I do. But there’s gotta be a reasonable explanation for this.

Then there is the cultural significance. According to this specific lore, packs have existed forever, created by a Goddess and they find that the best way to be safe is to keep it all a secret. Again, correct me if I am wrong: I think the chances of someone freaking out and letting out the secret to the world are FAR greater when you are told out of the blue, that you are a creature of nightmares, that all your life to that point has been a lie, that you must break away from your friends, that you can’t have a boyfriend (unless you want to reproduce), that you must lie to everybody you know, that you can’t say “oh my God” anymore and instead you MUST say “oh my Goddess”. Wouldn’t it be simpler, safer, to grow up knowing who you are and being prepared for the transformation with more than a few weeks’ notice? But then again, if any different, there would be no cause for this book.

Because of these issues, because the resulting conflict sounds very artificial, it was extremely hard for me to carry on reading, yet I did finish the book and that is saying something. Part of what made it reasonably readable was the fact that Claire did react to these changes in an appropriate manner: railing against her mother, freaking out, considering different aspects of her new reality. I also liked her romantic relationship with a nice, wholesome boy named Matthew. It is definitely refreshing to have a paranormal romance minus the whole “falling for a dark, brooding boy who might just kill me” thing.

Unfortunately that is as positive as I can be. Even if I had no issues with the premise and world-building, the rest of the book, the characters and the plot were unremarkable.Even though Claire was sort of likable when dealing with her mother and werewolf issues, her constant whinny “why do you like me, I am not popular” mantra was tiresome. Matthew’s reply to this, is that he considers her the most interesting person he knows and yet not a single scene between them has in-depth dialogue that could actually SHOW instead of TELLING me why he thought so.

There is also a storyline in which a rogue werewolf is killing humans and public opinion is that werewolves are BAD and EVIL (led by Matthew’s father by the way, who is almost a psycho villain). Again, I ask: if the werewolves were not as secretive – I mean, the entire world already knows they exist, so what is the point? – and came out to say ”hey, we are not all evil, you know”, possibly these problems would not exist. Furthermore, the revelation of who the culprit is, doesn’t ring true, considering the heightened senses that the werewolves supposedly have. Surely one of them would have SMELLED this person since they all knew her.

Even with the overall blandness what really prevented me from enjoying the novel was its lack of intrinsic logic. I am fully aware that this might not deter other people from enjoying it but I would still say: proceed with caution. On my side, I prefer my fiction with a bit more of salt, pepper and a better rationale on the side, thank you very much.

Notable Quotes/Parts: I read the book three days ago and I can’t remember a scene I truly liked.

Verdict: Bland, uninspired YA novel based on I what consider to be a flawed premise. Regardless, this will probably appeal for those looking for “more of the same” rather than something new and unique.

Rating:4 – Bad but not without some merit

Reading Next: The Demon’s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan

You Might Also Like


  • Emily
    May 12, 2010 at 4:47 am

    Thanks for the heads up. I think I’m going to skip this one.

  • Akin
    May 12, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Lol if books like this get published, I have hope!!!

    But really though, it’s really that bad?

  • Ana
    May 12, 2010 at 6:44 am

    But really though, it’s really that bad?

    Well, I think so, for the reasons I listed – I need to be able to believe in the worldbuilding and I wasn’t able to.Have I read worse books? YES, yes, I have.

    And I am sure there will be those who are not bothered by the same things. In fact, loads of people are already enjoying the book as evidenced by the positive reviews on Googlereads for example.

  • Jess (The Cozy Reader)
    May 12, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Great review. You put into words what I was feeling about this book but unable to hit it on the head in mine. I’ll be linking to this review when my review posts on the 18th.

    The lore behind the werewolves in this book just didn’t compute. 🙁 I was unsatisfied in that department for sure.

  • Chuck
    May 12, 2010 at 9:53 am

    It seems to me (and this is solely from reading your review) that the book might be less about werewolves and more about the alienation and disorientation some girls feel as they pass from being a child to a woman, and all the societal expectations and baggage that come with that change. The all female thing? Even the first transformation happening in the teenage years, much like a real-life sign of female transformation and harbinger of the end of innocence.

  • danielle
    May 12, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Ohmigod, yes. Sing that gospel.

  • Sas
    May 12, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Oh well. I was really hoping that this would be something new and innovative, but I guess not. Thanks for the heads up and th honesty.
    You have a wonderful blog by the way. 🙂

  • MaryK
    May 12, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Huh. Sounds like an emotionally unsatisfying read. I will avoid it.

  • Chimney
    May 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    That werewolves are female only, who don’t consider themselves human – at all – whose identities MUST at all cost be kept a secret, hence why girls are only told they are werewolves a few days before their first transformation. And then they have to just deal with it.

    Except for the identities having to be kept secret it kinda sounds like a first period (depending on when you have it). I mean it’s girls only, sometimes you don’t know it’s coming (again when you have it and other circumstances), and the fact you just have to deal with it! Thanks for the warning, I’ll leave this book on the shelf at the store.

  • Diana Peterfreund
    May 13, 2010 at 4:52 am

    I may be biased — having written an entire series about girls with genetically-bestowed magical powers — but depending on how the genetics work, you can have traits that reside on the X chromosone. You just have to magically fudge the dominance issue a little. 😉

  • Ana
    May 13, 2010 at 5:12 am

    @ Diana – Good point. I think I got so stuck on the argument that ” we are not humans!”, when they were at least half – since they can only mate with humans – that I didn’t consider this like that.

    I any case, your worldbulding was much more genuine and well-thought out IMO. 😀

  • Jess (The Cozy Reader)
    May 13, 2010 at 6:18 am

    @ Ana Couldn’t agree more. The world building lacked completely. Comparing it to Diana’s books is like comparing apples to oranges. They’re both fruit but that’s all they have in common.

  • Adrienne
    May 13, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    To Diana’s point though, her story WORKS because there was lore and history that it could POSSIBLY be true..(and I can never, ever look at unicorns the same way again 8O) but seriously, surprising a 16 year old that she is a wolf in sheep’s clothing sounds way not believable…I would be sooo pissed! Seriously? Thanks mom for not sharing. Thanks for saving me $$ on a book I would have been disappointed in 😉

  • Moonsanity (Brenda H.)
    May 13, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    I don’t know, it just seems like it’s been done, and I didn’t like the other book either. However, maybe a 16-18 year old would enjoy the angst.

  • Ms. Yingling
    May 14, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Drat. I was thinking this would be fun for my 16-year-old daughter, Claire, but I think I will not rush out to buy her a copy.

  • The Cozy Reader » Review: Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson
    May 18, 2010 at 6:19 am

    […] The Book Smugglers – Rated: 4 – bad but not without some merit […]

  • Mary
    August 4, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Appreciate the attention to detail. But….this is fiction..it is not real. Thought it was a good summer read. I chose it as a fun read and not for information for a report.

  • Rachel
    December 2, 2010 at 10:02 am

    i know not everybody has the same opinion but i really liked the book, as you must know i am into vampire-werewolf stuff, it sort of complites me, and this book was to my upmost satasfactory (by the way i am 10,lol, i just like long words,and im a geek!). I appreciate your recount of the book but i am one of the people who like the book,

    yours sincerly,
    Rachel Newson

  • denos
    April 5, 2011 at 9:42 am

    i enjoy your article. great job. keep it simple

  • Diana
    August 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Honestly, I loved this book! I have no idea what you are talking about…. 😯

  • magiclollyl
    July 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Personally I really liked this book and I don’t care that it wasn’t completely politically correct, it was just a fun read that I could do my English Indepentdant Study on. 🙂 xx

  • Anonymous
    July 18, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Is this book kid friendly?

  • Claire De Lune by Christine Johnson: Review | Emily's Reading Room
    July 31, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    […] the concept of only women being werewolves. Mostly because it makes no biological sense. Ana from The Book Smugglers mentioned this in her review, and I have to agree. If you have only female werewolves, but yet you […]

Leave a Reply