Monday, April 6, 2015

Review: Moonlands by Steven Savile

Title: Moonlands
Author: Steven Savile
Publisher: BadPress
Published Date: 17 April 2015
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository

I received this book through NetGalley from BadPress for review.

Fifteen-year-old Ashley has a complicated life. There’s no doubt her overachieving parents love her, but they are wrapped up in their own worlds for so much of the time it leaves her feeling like she’s alone.

Like a lot of teenagers, Ashley dreams of other worlds, but unlike a lot of teenagers her world is about to collapse as rifts to an ancient Fae Kingdom begin to open all around her. With the arrival of of a supernatural hit-squad intent on killing her, and an unexpected inheritance, Ashley’s London is about to become a magical and mysterious warzone where the prize is Ashley herself.

Ashley has to find out the secrets of her own life before she is killed. Balancing ancient prophecies, schoolwork and the love of her life is difficult to say the least! Take part of the wonderful world of Moonlands.
(summary from Goodreads)

Moonlands is an incredibly fast paced paranormal YA. While it lacks some character and plot depth, it's an imaginative and fun read.

If there's one thing Moonlands isn't, it's boring. The story moves along too quickly, with enough action to keep a reader hooked until the end. It's an easy read, finished in just hours. In saying that however, Moonlands isn't an entirely satisfying read. Savile's world is imaginative. The Fae Kingdom, Moonlands, is quite wondrous, and Savile portrays it nicely. The description of Ashley's wall mural alone brings the alternate world to life. Yet there is not a lot of backstory provided. Savile offers the who's, but doesn't exactly delve into the rest of the W's and the how. Ashley has a book that will tell her everything she needs to know but she barely uses it! Um, can I use it? Where does the sickness come from? How did Ashley's human adoptive parents get involved? How and why did Jax decide to serve the sickness? Why is there no comment on Ashley's friend looking through the goggles and seeing the creatures for what they really are? That's just a few questions. There's too much about the Kingdom before Ashley's birth and the King's sickness that is fudged over. Everything revolves around this, so wanting to know more isn't a big ask. So no, Moonlands isn't boring, but it's story, while interesting, isn't everything it could be. But the Moonlands itself and the plethora of creatures it is home to just tips the wanting more balance into willingness to read the next book. Especially considering the huge cliffhanger Savile leaves us with. I kind of hate him for that, let me tell you. All I'll say is, there better be another book, Savile. 

Moonland's characters are also a case of so close but not quite. I like them, but they're lacking just enough that I don't love them. I feel for Ashley's sense of not belonging, but then she's so adamant about being ordinary that she fights against finally belonging. The two don't quite gel. Plus a girl who finds out she's being hunted by an assassin and needs to stay safe, so oh hey, she sneaks out in the middle of the night to get an umbrella from her friend, is not one I'm a big fan of. I may be nitpicking, as it's obvious the umbrella is so much more than an umbrella, but come on! I would've liked to see Ashley think a little more and grow beyond the damsel. Speaking of the assassin, Blaze is another inconsistent character. As a killer werewolf he is awesome. But his sudden change from assassin to knight in shining armour? Also doesn't gel. Granted, he's an awesome bodyguard too, but his change in loyalty needs more substance. As it is lacking, so too is a believable relationship between Blaze and Ashley. One day he eats her teacher in front of her the next she wants to kiss him? Right. There are some good moments between the two and it's proof that Savile has the skill to evoke believable emotions, but like the plot, some solid development is all that's missing. Moonlands is also full of side characters and villains that stand out for being fantasy creatures and prevalent to the ongoing story. They tip the balance towards wanting more for the right reasons. 

Moonlands doesn't quite make it to great, but there's plenty to enjoy still and I have hope that it'll get better as the series continues.



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