Book Review: Nocturne (Claire de Lune #2) by Christine Johnson

8567502Title: Nocturne (Claire de Lune #2)
Author: Christine Johnson
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Werewolves, Young Adults, Drama
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 23rd 2011
Rating: 3,5 stars
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Claire feels like her life is finally settling down and she couldn’t be happier. She’s been filly initiated into her family’s pack of female werewolves, her best friend Emily is back in town, and the gorgeous Matthew Engle us now her boyfriend.

But Claire knows all to well that life as a werewolf is never simple. And when she discovers that new girl Amy knows more about her than she’s letting on, Claire feels that things are beginning to unravel.

Claire knows that if her werewolf identity is exposed everyone she loves will be put at risk. And, as her human and wolf live continue to collide, Claire must fight to keep her secret safe.

I’ll be honest. I haven’t read Claire De Lune, the first book in this series, so for me, Nocturne was really a start-from-scratch project. I had to get to know the characters, their personalities and in which way they were all related, I had to find out – albeit briefly – what happened in the first book and what brought them to this point in their lives. However, I figured this out quite easily. The characters are straightforward (that doesn’t mean that they’re not divers because they are, but they are easy to comprehend and relate to) and although no real flashback is given, I sort-of figured out what happened in book one along the way as well. So for those of you new to this series as well, don’t let the fact that this is book two discourage you!

Although Claire and Emily have been best friends since the dawn of time, she can’t confess to Emily that she’s a werewolf. That leaves Matthew, Claire’s boyfriend, as her only source of help when it comes to werewolf stuff. And boy, some things certainly are going wrong in that department. For instance, Claire has trouble lightning fire with her mind. It’s something every werewolf should be able to do easily enough as being standard procedure, but for Claire it’s an almost impossible task. The fact that if she can’t do it properly within two weeks only adds to the pressure. If she wants any chance at combining a normal life with her nightly escapades as a werewolf without Matthew’s dad suspecting anything about actual werewolf living in the area, she’s going to have to be very, very careful.

Unfortunately fooling your best friend isn’t always that easy, and having to say ‘no’ to every invitation she makes under the assumption that spending time with her boyfriend is more important than spending time with Emily, is driving Claire mad. Add the fact that Amy is making a move on Emily in terms of wanting to be her new best friend, and it’s enough to make Claire go completely berserk. Although she isn’t so sure as to what Amy’s gameplan really is – the girl is acting nice enough, but Claire doesn’t easily trust people, especially not people trying to take her best friend away – and she happens to be everywhere she shouldn’t at the wrong time. At the same time, Matthew begins pulling away from Claire, causing her to be even more on guard than usually. When things spiral out of control, who can Claire trust? And who is betraying her?

I absolutely loved the dynamics between Claire and her best friend Emily and I could totally understand Claire’s feelings as to being on guard around Amy, who she considers to be an unhealthy element in her relationship with her best friend. It seems to her that Amy can have everything she can’t: a normal life, time to hang out with Emily like a proper friend should, and perhaps even having fun with Claire’s boyfriend Matthew, something that Claire herself doesn’t get around to as of late, with him acting strange about the werewolf stuff. Naturally she feels threatened by Amy, and I must say that if it were me, I would feel threatened as well. Amy seems nice enough, but you never know what’s hidden behind that.

Apart from Claire’s struggle with her werewolf side and her struggle with school, her friends and her relationship, there is also an element of mystery and suspense in this novel as Matthew’s father is a lycantropologist or something along those lines and tries to investigate the existence of real werewolves, possibly exposing Claire and her fellow werewolves in the process, something they can’t let happen. Plus, there’s also prom coming up, and we all know that prom is usually an excuse for heavy-hearted teenage drama.

As I already mentioned, I loved most of the characters in this book. Claire is awesome. Her inner struggles are very convincing, and she’s suffering from the same teenage angst as most teenagers do. With her werewolf abilities on top of that, she is definately in a difficult spot. Emily is a wonderful best friend. She keeps on forgiving Claire for not showing up when she promised, and she keeps on creating opportunities for Claire to step up and do the best friend act. On top of that, she stays a loyal friend till the better end. Encouraging and inspiring, to be honest. But I did feel like slapping Emily around the head sometimes and say: “Figure it out sometime, girl! Your BFF is a werewolf. It’s not that hard to figure out!” In any case, the Claire-Emily friendship dynamic was at all times entertaining and interesting, and the solid bottom this book is built upon.

In regards to Matthew, let me say that I love him as well. I can’t wait to see what happens to his relationship with Claire in the next book, as they’ll probably be tested even further. For a regular highschool guy dating a girl who happens to be a werewolf, he sure manages to keep his cool. The only downside of this book, character-relationships-wise was Claire’s relationship with her Mom. Claire’s Mom doesn’t appear like an actual Mom. She’s more like a roommate, or a boss-type person, but not a Mom. That’s a bugger, because I like to read about good family relationships. Oh well, not every one has a perfect Mom I suppose, although this one does appear to be very cold and distant.

There wasn’t enough mystery or suspense in this book either. It reads like a contemporary novel with some werewolves thrown in just to turn it into a paranormal romance book instead. Perhaps not always a good idea. Paranormal books do require a higher level of mystery or suspense than contemporary novels and I’m not sure if Christine Johnson succeeded.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Nocturne and read it in one setting. I recommend it to all fantasy and/or werewolf fans who are up for a nice, light read with an amazing cast and some old-fashioned highschool drama. I’m looking forward to book three.

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