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City Under the Moon by Hugh Sterbakov
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City Under the Moon

by Hugh Sterbakov

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Reviewed at Hungry Monster Book Review

City Under the Moon is a well written action adventure novel, but that’s not surprising considering who the author is. Hugh Sterbakov was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Robot Chicken: Star Wars and Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III. He also co-created the Freshman comic books with Seth Green and also wrote Hell & Back which is a stop-motion feature film. Sprinkle in an MFA in screenwriting and you’re guaranteed the writing is going to be rock solid. Enough about Hugh, let’s focus on his book. City Under the Moon takes an outbreak approach to the werewolf story which, I think, is a semi original plot. The werewolf plague is spreading through Manhattan on New Year’s Eve eventually getting the attention of the FBI, the military, and the President. In the beginning it starts with one or two cases of werewolf attacks, but that quickly multiplies. The military is deployed to Manhattan to, at first, evacuate civilians, but that quickly devolves into a quarantine of the island where the military is battling huge waves of zombies… I mean werewolves. An interesting idea that comes along with the werewolf outbreak is the fact that werewolves only change when the moon is out. So through the story there are these times during the day when people have time to prepare, sort of like the calm before the storm. But during these times there are people walking around among them that may have been bitten by a werewolf, don’t know about it, forgot about, or are trying to hide it, and when the moon comes they change into werewolves right next to their loved ones. So it’s like a disease that is only deadly when the moon is out and makes everyone suspicious of each other during the day. Although the story takes on a scientific pretext, the origin of the werewolf outbreak comes straight from werewolf lore and is resolved according to those rules. At one point the characters have to travel to Transylvania to find the werewolf’s lair (the scene does not disappoint). The scene stands in stark contrast to the rest of the book as it seems like it’s pulled from an old Dracula novel. The last half of the book is a race against the clock to take out the werewolf leader before Manhattan is overrun and the wolf plague spreads beyond the island. There are several characters in the book, but I consider Brianna Tildascow and Lon to be the two main characters. These characters have well defined motivations and well developed character traits. Tildascow is an FBI agent that is part of a secret government program to create super soldiers (which pretty much means she kicks ass), she has some abandonment issues that leads to promiscuity and a need to throw herself into her work. And Lon who is your typical anti-social, self-aggrandizing, misanthropic nerd (I’m pretty sure there ‘typical’…right) who happens to be the world’s foremost authority on the occult, specifically werewolves. There is rarely a dull moment in the novel where you’re not learning about the interesting characters, learning about the werewolf disease, learning about werewolf lore, or where werewolves are either killing or being killed. Now to discuss what I didn’t like about the book….. Well that’s enough about that. LOL. Ok, gun to the Hungry Monsters head, there were a few things that didn’t digest well, but City Under the Moon is a non-stop action packed thrill ride with very few missteps. ( )
  HungryMonster | Mar 10, 2016 |
Reviewed at Hungry Monster Book Review

City Under the Moon is a well written action adventure novel, but that’s not surprising considering who the author is. Hugh Sterbakov was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Robot Chicken: Star Wars and Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III. He also co-created the Freshman comic books with Seth Green and also wrote Hell & Back which is a stop-motion feature film. Sprinkle in an MFA in screenwriting and you’re guaranteed the writing is going to be rock solid. Enough about Hugh, let’s focus on his book. City Under the Moon takes an outbreak approach to the werewolf story which, I think, is a semi original plot. The werewolf plague is spreading through Manhattan on New Year’s Eve eventually getting the attention of the FBI, the military, and the President. In the beginning it starts with one or two cases of werewolf attacks, but that quickly multiplies. The military is deployed to Manhattan to, at first, evacuate civilians, but that quickly devolves into a quarantine of the island where the military is battling huge waves of zombies… I mean werewolves. An interesting idea that comes along with the werewolf outbreak is the fact that werewolves only change when the moon is out. So through the story there are these times during the day when people have time to prepare, sort of like the calm before the storm. But during these times there are people walking around among them that may have been bitten by a werewolf, don’t know about it, forgot about, or are trying to hide it, and when the moon comes they change into werewolves right next to their loved ones. So it’s like a disease that is only deadly when the moon is out and makes everyone suspicious of each other during the day. Although the story takes on a scientific pretext, the origin of the werewolf outbreak comes straight from werewolf lore and is resolved according to those rules. At one point the characters have to travel to Transylvania to find the werewolf’s lair (the scene does not disappoint). The scene stands in stark contrast to the rest of the book as it seems like it’s pulled from an old Dracula novel. The last half of the book is a race against the clock to take out the werewolf leader before Manhattan is overrun and the wolf plague spreads beyond the island. There are several characters in the book, but I consider Brianna Tildascow and Lon to be the two main characters. These characters have well defined motivations and well developed character traits. Tildascow is an FBI agent that is part of a secret government program to create super soldiers (which pretty much means she kicks ass), she has some abandonment issues that leads to promiscuity and a need to throw herself into her work. And Lon who is your typical anti-social, self-aggrandizing, misanthropic nerd (I’m pretty sure there ‘typical’…right) who happens to be the world’s foremost authority on the occult, specifically werewolves. There is rarely a dull moment in the novel where you’re not learning about the interesting characters, learning about the werewolf disease, learning about werewolf lore, or where werewolves are either killing or being killed. Now to discuss what I didn’t like about the book….. Well that’s enough about that. LOL. Ok, gun to the Hungry Monsters head, there were a few things that didn’t digest well, but City Under the Moon is a non-stop action packed thrill ride with very few missteps. ( )
  HungryMonster | Mar 10, 2016 |
★★★City Under the Moon by Hugh Sterbakov

I was given this R2R in exchange for my honest review.

My honest opinion is this book is like a kid with A.D.H.D. on a sugar high. Take the candy away, and sit your ass down for a minute. This book jumps topic to topic more than I do, if you can believe that.

Ok, so first things first, I read this book out of pure curiosity, after reading some crazy reviews, and we all know they must be true, I got it off the internet. Well, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Let's start with, I've read plenty of books with werewolves in them, but never zombie-ish werewolves. So to have straight up killing machine werewolves was a change of pace. Needless to say, there was blood, guts, and gore by the city full.

The characters worked to the story. I liked Tildascow. I loved her attitude and attitude problem. She states her piece, and if you don't like, move on. She is a strong kickass assassin. With all the government studies and testing, she will be the Bionic Woman, before long.

Lon, whatever, you pretty much lost after all of the W.O.W. nonsense. I get too much of that here. I surely don't want to see it in a book. One more W.O.W. reference, and I was going to jump ship, even if there were only 20 pages left. I did like that the "fat, ugly, nerdy" kid got to play hero. That was a nice change. He had a couple good one liners. I was amused with his saying, "Holyfuckingdouble-bladedlightsabershit!"

The Shadow Stalkers, I'm guessing they are the reason for all the "this is funny comments on reviews." They did have a few good ones, like a good old fashion Army SWAG(scientific wild-ass guesses) , and WETSU(we eat this shit up), yep they sure do. And every 2yo knows what "Shithooks" are, when you listen to Chinooks fly over all day long. But seriously, the "military jargon" would be excessive, even for a fuzzy, coming out of AIT, trying to look cool.

Yannic Ilecko, the strong silent type. He was just misunderstood. I'm glad that after all the hurt and anger, he gets some happiness. He deserves to find the kid he never had, and will make a great father figure. Besides without his new found son, how is he supposed to get over the many adjustment issues.

Let's not forget the "Bitch Witch" Elizabeth. Come on she has purple hair and a dildo with a winged costume, can you ask for more? So I'm trying to forget that she's a gamer.

Demetrius Valenkov is the resident super villain. The ruler of the lycanthropes, is he a good guy or bad guy? Who would have thought yoga and meditation could keep the inner werewolf away? That's some powerful stuff. Watch out for people with yoga mats.

No action was lost in the writing of this book. I could feel the urgency and panic. Most of it was plausible in a war time situation. I've heard the chaotic orders, and the running around, grabbing the "go bag" and being gone. It brought back memories, and a quicken heartbeat. This made all the fight scenes more believable. Although if we are to believe Tildascow has been rehardwired to basically a machine, I really don't believe all the training in the world, would allow special ops to keep up with her, for as long as they did, after all they are only human.

But there were a few things that irritated the shit out of me. I'm getting annoyed even thinking about it now. They really took away from my enjoyment of the book.

First was all the blatant advertising. I really hope you got some endorsement deals from it. Was this some "let's be sneaky" subliminal way to get me to think I need nonsense. Seriously here's a few:
*Nike *Gillette *World of Warcraft(expansion pack) *FOX News *ABC News *CNN *Comedy Central *New York Times *MTV *Gatorade *Cadillac *Apple *Entertainment Tonight *and all the movies
Need I continue? Seriously, product dropping for a quarter of the book is ridiculous. You are not as good at brainwashing as Valenkov.

The other thing was the over use of scientific jargon. Seriously, unless you work on one of those "classified" project, a normal person would never know that. And it was repeated, and repeated, and repeated, over and over, and over. Get the picture? Good thing my reader has a dictionary function. It felt like I was never going to finish this, with all the looking up, I was doing.

All this activity takes place in a very short amount of time, a couple of days. But the book is not really in chronological order. It is also broke up, with no real rhyme or reason. Part 1- 6 chapters, Part 2- 15 chapters, Part 3- 13 chapters, Part 4- 19 chapters, Interlude, Part 5- 9 chapters, Part 6- 20 chapters, Part 7- 15 chapters, Epilogue. So on top of all that craziness, the story will go on for a while, only to start over somewhere else. They all seemed to be date, time, and location stamped, but still confusing to follow. The many POV's, left wondering, who's talking now, from time to time.

Part 4 chapter 3, my copy is page 259 of 774
One of the lines is: "My father, The Right Honourable Zaharius Baron Valenkov III, has fallen under a curse which transforms him into a wolf under the light of the moon." (Excerpt from letter to President Bush, from Demetruis Valenkov April 2007)
-This would make our present day, werewolf mastermind Valenkov, the IV.

Now with so much of this story revolving around lineage and gene transfer, wouldn't it make sense to keep it straight?

Epilogue, last line
She was raising Zaharius Valenkov IV. (Really?!?!?!? Not possible. Who the hell is this?)
Maybe big daddy Valenkov was very uncreative, and named multiple kids the same thing, but then we'd have an age issue. But even George Foreman had the sense to put a different count after the names. And please tell me, "she" is not that stupid.

So all in all, I really enjoyed half the book, but really hated parts, too. So where does that leave the rating? I guess right in the middle.

Thanks to the author for showing me a werewolves, how they were meant to be, killing machines. ( )
  Chantelle713 | Jul 6, 2013 |
23% in. Characters are one dimensional and uninspired. Did the author have an original thought throughout this book?
49% in. I'm not a feminist but it's painfully clear this author has issues with women. His writes them as either simpering fools, or sex crazed maniacs. Not that his male characters are much more than bad tropes. The unoriginal content continues. For example his current president is obviously Obama with football instead of a basketball, and he refers to the last president as that 'cowboy'. The pop culture references are not witty (see Ready Player One for how it should be done) and will quickly date the book.
100%. I stand by the above at the end of the book and want to add how unrealistic the thoughts and actions were of most characters, especially Lon. I'm giving this 2 stars because the action sequences were well written and I enjoyed the main plot. ( )
  Cathyvil | Apr 7, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0985245611, Paperback)

On New Year's Eve in Manhattan, a werewolf attack sparks an epidemic. Each night the victims multiply. The disease spreads. An army grows.

As authorities scramble to contain the monsters, they discover that one man is behind them. His name is Demetrius Valenkov. And he has a message for the United States: FIND A CURE.

The disease evades an international coalition of top scientists. The president must prepare an unspeakable solution.

But one person has picked up Demetrius Valenkov's trail: FBI counterterrorism specialist Brianna Tildascow. Forged by tragedy, training and technology, she's the government's most efficient--and ruthless--manhunter.

Assisted by a horror blogger and a squad of elite commandos, Tildascow must hunt Valenkov across the globe and uncover the sinister secret of the curse threatening mankind. Tens of thousands are infected. Time is running out.

CITY UNDER THE MOON is the debut novel by Hugh Sterbakov, Emmy-nominated and Annie Award-winning writer of Robot Chicken, the award-winning graphic novel Freshmen, and feature and TV scripts for Disney, Paramount, AMC, SyFy and Fox. This is unlike any thriller you've ever read: Four hundred and fifty pages of unrelenting action propelled by rich characters and keen detail. For more information please visit CityUnderTheMoon.com.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:27 -0400)

On New Year's Eve in Manhattan, a werewolf attack sparks an epidemic. Each night the victims multiply. The disease spreads. An army grows. As authorities scramble to contain the monsters, they discover that one man is behind them. His name is Demetrius Valenkov. And he has a message for the United States: FIND A CURE. The disease evades an international coalition of top scientists. The president must prepare an unspeakable solution. But one person has picked up Demetrius Valenkov's trail: FBI counterterrorism specialist Brianna Tildascow. Forged by tragedy, training and technology, she's the government's most efficient--and ruthless--manhunter.… (more)

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