My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Usually, the second book in a trilogy always manages to disappoint the readers who were in love with its predecessor. The first book sets up an exciting course for the action and intrigue, introduces fascinating characters and leaves the reader wanting for more. The second book is then only the road to the satisfying revelations and conclusions in the third one. Not this time. Where New Moon was a carefully constructed political ballet that culminated with a whirlwind of violence, Wolf Moon surprisingly maintains, for most of the reading experience, the same level of intellectual adrenaline.
The surviving members of the fallen Corta family struggle to stay alive in the context of a lunar society that the events at the end of the first book have upended. Political intrigue is now relegated to off-scene, and the stage is offered, in turn, to a handful of POV characters who have all been cast out from their usual environment and forced to adapt or die, to evolve or be crushed by the unforgiving and unexpected twists and turns of the events.
With the exception of a couple overlong and detailed interludes which may have benefited from being trimmed down, Wolf Moon kept me turning page after page, and at the same time dreading the end because I knew I will then have to wait another year or so for the next installment. In all, Ian McDonald has managed to write another splendid novel, raising the quality bar even higher. If you only plan to read one science fiction novel this year, you won’t be wrong if you choose Wolf Moon, but make sure to have read New Moon first.