The first book in an epic series. Five months on the bestseller list. Read the book that started the blockbuster bestselling series by #1 New York Times bestselling author P.C. Cast.
#1 New York Times bestselling author P.C. Cast brings us Moon Chosen, a new epic fantasy set in a world where humans, their animal allies, and the earth itself has been drastically changed. A world filled with beauty and danger and cruelty…
Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan; but she has cast her duties aside, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating clan strays across her path, that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…
Now, darkness is coming, and with it, a force, more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By forming a tumultuous alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and obliterate the forces that threaten to destroy them all.
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By P. C. Cast
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 P. C. Cast
All rights reserved.
The contagious sound of women's laughter filled the warm, tidy burrow.
"Oh, Mari! That is not an illustration from the myth I just told you." Mari's mother held the sheet of handmade paper in one hand and pressed the other hand against her mouth, unsuccessfully trying to hold back another bout of laughter.
"Mama, your job is to tell the stories. My job is to sketch them. That's our game, right? Our favorite game."
"Well, yes," Leda said, still trying to fix her expression to a more sober one. "I do tell the stories, but you tend to sketch what you think you hear."
"I don't see the problem with that." Mari moved to stand beside her mother and studied the newly finished sketch with her. "This is exactly what I saw as you were telling the story of Narcissus and Echo."
"Mari, you made Narcissus look like a young man turning into a flower. Awkwardly. He has one hand that is a leaf and the other that is still a hand. The same with his —" Leda stifled a giggle. "Well, with several other parts of his anatomy. And he has a mustache and a silly look on his face — though I do admit it is an amazing talent you have that can bring a silly-looking half flower, half man, to life." Leda pointed at the sketch and the ghostly nymph who Mari had somehow made to look bored and annoyed as she watched the transformation of Narcissus. "You made Echo look —" Leda hesitated, obviously searching for the right words.
"Fed up with Narcissus and his ego?" Mari offered.
Leda gave up all pretense of admonishment and laughed out loud. "Yes, that is exactly how you made Echo look, though that is not the story I told."
"Well, Leda." Mari used her mother's given name as she waggled her brows at her. "I was listening to your story and as I was drawing I decided that something was definitely left out of the ending."
"The ending? Really?" Leda bumped her daughter with her shoulder. "And stop calling me Leda."
"But, Leda, that's your name."
"To the rest of the world. To you my name is Mother."
"Mother? Really? It's so —"
"Respectful and traditional?" This time Leda offered to finish her daughter's thought.
"More like boring and old," Mari said, eyes shining as she waited for her mother's predictable response.
"Boring and old? Did you just call me boring and old?"
"What? Me? Call you boring and old? Never, Mama, never!" Mari giggled and held her hands up in surrender.
"That's good. And I suppose Mama is fine. Better than Leda."
Mari grinned. "Mama, we've been having this same discussion for eighteen winters."
"Mari, sweet girl, I can happily say that even though you have known eighteen winters, you haven't been able to talk for all of them. I did get a couple of winters respite before you started, and never stopped, speaking."
"Mama! You said you encouraged me to start talking before I'd known much more than two winters," Mari said in mock surprise as she reached for the sharpened charcoal twig with which she'd been sketching, and took the drawing from her mother.
"Yes, and I also never said I was perfect. I was just a young mother trying to do her best," Leda said dramatically, releasing the sketch to her daughter.
"Really, really young. Right?" Mari said, sketching quickly while she cradled the drawing so that Leda couldn't see it.
"That is absolutely right, Mari," Leda said, trying to peek over Mari's arm. "I had known one winter less than you when I met your wonderful father and —" Leda broke off, frowning at her daughter as Mari couldn't contain her giggles.
"All fixed," she said, holding up the sketch for Leda to inspect. "Mari, his eyes are crossed," Leda said.
"The rest of the story made me think he wasn't too smart. So I made him look not very smart."
"You sure did." Leda's gaze met her daughter's, and both women dissolved into laughter again.
Leda wiped her eyes and gave her daughter a quick hug. "I take back everything I said about your illustration. I decree that it is perfect."
"Thank you, Mother." Mari's eyes danced. She took a fresh sheet of paper and held her charcoal at ready. She loved the ancient stories her mother had shared with her for as long as she could remember, weaving wisdom and adventure, loss and love into them as deftly as the talented women of Clan Weaver wove baskets and clothing and tapes-tries to trade with Clan Fisher, Clan Miller, and Clan Wood. "One more story! How about just one more? You're so good at the telling!"
"Flattery will not get you another story. It may get you a basketful of early blueberries, though."
"Blueberries! Really, Mama? That would be wonderful. I love the color of ink I make with them. It's a nice change from the black stain I get from walnuts."
Leda smiled fondly at her daughter. "Only you could be more ex-cited about painting with blueberries than eating them."
"It can't be only me, Mama. You like the dye you make from them, too."
"I do, and I'm looking forward to dyeing a new cloak for you this spring, but I admit freely that I would rather eat a blueberry pie!"
"Blueberry pie! That sounds wonderful! So does another story — the Leda story. And, Mother, can we take a moment to discuss your name? Leda? Really? I'm assuming your mother did know that story," Mari teased. "But as her name was Cassandra, I sometimes question her ability to name sensibly."
"You know very well that Moon Women always name their daughters whatever is whispered to them on the wind by the Great Earth Mother. My mother, Cassandra, was named by her mother, Penelope. I heard your lovely name whispered by our Earth Mother the full moon night before you were born."
"My name is boring." Mari sighed. "Does that mean the Earth Mother thinks I'm boring?"
"No, that means the Earth Mother thinks we should make up a story to go with your name — a story all your own."
"So you've been saying for all the winters I can remember, but I still don't have my own story," Mari said.
"When the time is right you will," Leda said, touching her daughter's smooth cheek, her smile turning sad. "Mari, sweet girl, I cannot tell another story tonight, though I wish I could. Sunset is not far off, and tonight the moon will be full and brilliant. The needs of the Clan will be great."
Mari opened her mouth to plead with Leda to stay just a few moments more, to put her needs before those of the Clan, but before she could speak her small, selfish desire her mother's body twitched spasmodically, shoulders trembling, head jerking painfully and uncontrollably. Though she had already turned from her daughter, as always trying to shield her from the change night brought with it, Mari knew too well what was happening.
All teasing fell away from her as Mari dropped the paper and char-coal and went to Leda. She took her mother's hand, holding it in both of hers, hating how cold it had become — hating the pale silver-gray tinge that was beginning to spread across her skin. And wishing, always wishing, that she could soothe the pain that visited her mother with the setting of the sun every night of her life.
"I'm sorry, Mama. I lost track of time. I didn't mean to keep you." Mari kept her tone light, not wanting to send her beloved mother into danger and darkness burdened with more worry than she usually carried. "We'll make up my story another time. And I have work I have to do while you're gone. I still haven't gotten the perspective perfect on that piece I've been trying to finish."
"May I see it yet?" her mother asked.
"It's not done, and you know I hate for you to see my drawings before they're done." Another tremor shivered across Leda's skin and Mari's hand automatically tightened around her mother's, supporting her — understanding her — loving her. Mari forced herself to grin. "But I suppose I'll make an exception tonight, especially since you're my favorite model, and I like keeping my favorite model happy."
"Well, I think it's safe to say you like me more than Narcissus," Leda joked while Mari went to the simple wooden table that sat in the corner of the main room of the little cavelike burrow she and her mother had shared for the eighteen winters of Mari's life.
The table was framed by the sides of the burrow that held the thickest of the glowmoss, and sat beneath the biggest and brightest cluster of glowshrooms, which suspended from the ceiling like organic chandeliers. As Mari approached the table, the strained smile she had adopted for her mother relaxed, and when she turned to Leda, holding a sheet of thick paper made from meticulously hand processing plant pulp, Mari's smile was genuine. "No matter how many times I look at my drawing table, the way we've grown the glowshrooms and placed the glowmoss will always remind me of your Earth Sprite stories."
"You have always so loved the stories passed down from Moon Woman to Moon Woman to entertain and teach their daughters, though none of them are any more real than Narcissus and his unfortunate Echo."
Mari's smile didn't falter. "When I draw it — it's real to me."
"So you have always said, but —" her mother began, and then broke off with a little gasp of delight as her gaze went to the unfinished sketch. "Oh, Mari! It's lovely!" Leda took the sketch from her daughter and looked at it more closely. "Truly this is one of your very best." With a wondering fingertip, she carefully touched the image of herself, sitting at her usual place beside their hearth fire. On her lap was a partially woven basket, but she wasn't looking at the basket. She was smiling lovingly at the artist.
Mari took her mother's hand in hers again and smoothed her skin. "I'm glad you like it, but your hand is much more delicately boned than I drew it."
Leda pressed the palm of her hand against her daughter's cheek. "You'll fix it. You always do. And it will be as exquisite as the rest of your drawings." She kissed Mari gently on her forehead before adding, "I have made something for you, sweet girl."
"Really? A present?"
Leda smiled. "A present indeed. Wait here and close your eyes." She hurried into the back room of their burrow, which served as Leda's bed-chamber as well as a drying and storing room for her fragrant herbs. Then she hurried back to her daughter, standing before her with her hands behind her back.
"What is it? It's small enough to hide behind your back! Is it a new quill?"
"Mari, I said no peeking!" Leda admonished.
Eyes screwed tightly shut, Mari grinned. "I'm not peeking! I'm just smart, like my mama," she said smugly.
"And beautiful, like your father," Leda said as she placed her daughter's gift on her head.
"Oh, Mama! You made me a Maiden Moon Crown!" Mari took the intricately braided coronet from her head. Leda had woven ivy with willow to create a lovely circle, which she'd decorated with bright yellow flowers. "So this is what you've been doing with all of those dandelion blossoms! I thought you were making wine."
Leda laughed. "I did make wine. I also made you a Maiden Moon crown."
Mari's delight dimmed. "I'd forgotten that tonight is the first full moon of spring. I'm sure the Clan's celebration will be joyous."
Leda shook her head sadly. "I wish it was so, but I'm afraid this spring moon won't be as festive as usual. Not after so many Earth Walkers have been recently captured by the Companions. The Earth Mother feels unusually restless to me, as if uncomfortable changes are coming. Our women have been filled with more sorrow than usual, and our men — well, we know the anger the Night Fever brews within our men." "They won't just be angry, they'll be dangerous. Damn Scratchers!" "Mari, don't call your people that. It makes them sound like monsters."
"They're only half my people, Mother, and at night they are mon-sters. Or at least the men are. What would happen if you didn't Wash them of the Night Fever every three days? Wait, I know what would happen. It's why a Moon Woman's burrow has to always be hidden, even from her own Clan." Frustration and fear caused her words to be harsh, and as soon as she'd spoken them the sadness that filled her mother's eyes made her regret such harshness.
"Mari, you must never forget that at night, even I have within me the capacity to be a monster."
"Not you! I didn't mean you. I'd never mean you!"
"But the moon is all that keeps me from becoming more Scratcher than Earth Walker. Sadly, our people cannot call down the moon as can I, so I must do it for them at least once every three nights. Tonight is a Third Night, as well as the spring full moon. Our Clan will gather, and I will Wash them so that their lives may be open to accept love and joy instead of mired in melancholy and anger. You know all of this, Mari. What troubles you?"
Mari shook her head. How was she supposed to tell her mother — her sweet, funny, brilliant mother — the only person in this terrible world who knew what Mari truly was and loved her still — that she had begun to ache for more of everything?
Mari could never tell her mother, just as Leda could never allow the truth about her daughter to be known.
"It's nothing. Probably just something to do with the full moon. I can feel it, even here in the cave, even before it's risen."
Leda's smile was proud. "You have my power and more. Mari, come with me tonight. Wear your Moon Crown. Join the Clan's celebration. It is easiest to draw down the power of the moon when it is full, and tonight it will be as spectacularly full as the sun has been bright today."
"Oh, Mama, not tonight. I'm tired of failing, and I definitely don't want to do it in front of a crowd."
Leda's smile didn't falter. "Trust your mother. You have my power and more. It's that more that makes your training difficult."
"Difficult?" Mari sighed again. "You mean hopeless."
"Such melodrama! You are alive and healthy and sane. Day or night — rain or shine — moon or no moon, you show no sign of mad-ness or pain. Trust that the rest will come with practice and patience."
"Are you sure there isn't an easier way?"
"Quite sure. It's much like how you practiced until you attained the ability to make a flat drawing seem to live and breathe."
"Drawing is so much easier!"
Her mother laughed softly. "Only for you." Then Leda's smile faded. "Mari, you know I must choose an apprentice soon. I cannot put off the women of the Clan much longer."
"I'm not good enough yet, Mama."
"And that is another reason you should join me tonight. Stand beside me before the Clan. Practice calling the power of the moon, and while you practice I will be showing our Clanswomen that they may rest easy. Though I have not named you as my official heir, I have begun your training."
Mari's lips tilted up. "Begun my training? Leda, you've been training me as long as I can remember."
"You've always been a good student. And stop calling me Leda."
"Good and slow aren't the same thing, Mother. "
"I'm well aware of that. You're not slow, Mari. You're complex — your mind, your talents, your power — all complex. Someday you will make a fine Moon Woman." Her gray eyes were wise as Leda studied her daughter. "Unless you have no desire to be Moon Woman."
"I don't want to disappoint you, Mama."
"You couldn't disappoint me, no matter what path you choose for your life." Leda paused, grimacing as a new tremor of pain swept through her body, and the silver tinge that had begun to appear on her mother's delicate hands spread up her arms.
"Okay, Mama! I'll come with you," Mari said quickly, and was rewarded by her mother's brilliant smile.
"Oh, Mari! I'm so glad." Pain temporarily forgotten, Leda rushed into her room and Mari could hear her clattering through the pots and baskets and precious glass jars that held her vast collection of herbs, tinctures, and poultices. "Here it is!" she called, and then reappeared with a familiar wooden bowl. "Let me touch up your face. We'll need to dye your hair again soon, but not tonight."
Mari stifled a sigh and tilted her face up so that her mother could reapply the muddy mixture that kept their secret.
Leda worked in silence, thickening her daughter's brow, flattening her high cheekbones, and then, lastly, smearing the dirty, sticky claylike substance down her neck and arms. When she was finished she studied Mari carefully, and touched her cheek gently. "Test it at the window."
Mari nodded somberly. Followed by Leda, she went to the far side of the cave's main room and climbed the rock steps up to a niche carved meticulously through layers of rock and dirt. She slid aside a long rectangular-shaped stone. Warm air swirled from the opening, caressing Mari's cheek like a second mother. Mari stared into the hole to the upper world and the eastern sky, which was already reflecting the pale, washed-out colors that night painted over brilliant day. She lifted her arm so that the wan light from above touched her. Then she met her mother's gaze.
Excerpted from Moon Chosen by P. C. Cast. Copyright © 2016 P. C. Cast. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed reading this book. Hope there will be more to come
Ms. Cast is an astounding author with a creative genius for weaving stories into epic series of books. The New World, post apocalypse or destruction of the world we know. The creation of tribes of people who have reverted back to a human race that is fearful of things different them them. Mari is from a tribe of moon people, and her mother is the Moon Woman or healer. Situations case Mari to walk in her mothers shoes to help with another tribe who are sick and dieing. Nik is from the tribe of Companions who is searching for a lost pup that the tribe revers. In his quest he comes across Mari and the story of tribal history begins. Excellent writing and character creation. The story weaves you into the fabric of the people and the world that is now in stages of development. I could not put it down. I want more, RIGHT NOW ?. Ms. Cast please hurry with the next book....
At first it was hard to find a path and to make sense of the story but it got better and pulled you in
Became Top 1 favorite series EVER very quickly! Have now read all 3 books 3 times and now waiting for the 4th!
An interesting Twist on the dystopian future genre, without being gloomy and depressing. I especially like that the author balanced strength with weakness which seem to be unique to the three societies portrayed. I am still curious as to why the three societies were so different from each other in terms of their use of magic and why they each develop their peculiar weaknesses. Hopefully this will be answered in a later book.
I love this author and was excited to start this series. I am very disappointed. This book was so hard for me to get in to. There were some good parts but the majority of the time i spent bored with a couple of instances being disgusted. This fell far short of the mark for me
I loved this book!
Best book ever.
His was such a good book. I could not put the book down at all. Cant wait until the second book comes out in october!
Rating 4.2 I normally start my reviews with the characters; but this time I’m deviating from that because this story just grabbed me with the setting and the world building, literally holding me captive. The world of Mari and Nik is slow in the development...I don’t know if it even has a name. I think it may vary depending who is talking. We are given bits and pieces of information from several different characters so it may seem like it is a bit piece-meal. I rather liked it, though. I got little snippets of background and information from several points of view as the story unfolded. I rather liked this self discovery and exploration allowing me to speculate on my own instead of being told everything from the git go. Long ago their world was almost completely devastated and from the ashes sprung three (possible more) very distinct tribes or clans. This isolative world of Mari, Nik and Dead Eye bring to the forefront so many different social, political, economical, religious issues as well as cultural and individual mores. I found it interesting to see the development of these cultures, how they lived, interacted and responded to the inevitable changes occurring in their world. Mari, Nik and Dead Eye are the three main characters from which we see, feel and understand the story. These characters develop very quickly and evolve. Mari, in particular, who seems to be a little immature for her age at the start of the story, comes into her own. This is understandable given Mari’s clan, the Earth Walkers, the secret she and her mother have kept for years that not only affects Mari and her mother and clan but their whole world. The first three sentences of the synopsis are very poignant and omniscient. “Chosen to embrace her true identity. Chosen to follow her destiny. Chosen to change her world.” There is also more to Nik than what meets the eye with his lingering inner anger. He belongs to the Tree Tribe. The Tree Tribe and the Earth Walkers are very different from each other. There are displays of prejudice, discrimination, distrust and abuse of power and economic need. Despite the differences between Mari and Nik there is a spark that is lit. This harrowing and dangerous relationship between Mari and Nik is what holds the story together. Dead Eye is from the remains of a destroyed city surrounded by hunks of metal, abandoned buildings and machinery. For whatever, reason this tribe never quite evolved and remained stagnant for generations. That is about to change with Dead Eye. Dead Eye is not as developed as Mari and Nik; but I think that will happen as the story continues. The worlds of Mari, Nik and Dead Eye are changing and changing rapidly out of need, power and greed. The issues portrayed and the social and economical climate of these three peoples are so very relevant today. Can they survive? This is definitely one series that I will follow... Parental Note: There is some violence, a rape and an attempted rape scene both of which were not graphic in the description.
An intriguing "other" universe. Technology has collapsed and several distinctly different cultures have developed, each with its own special strengths. Each group is suspicious of the other groups and sees them as sub-human. But it looks like they all need each other for survival. Throw in companion dogs and cats (nothing like we mean by "companion"), different religious styles, and different living situations and you have a fascinating mix. Quite an engaging story. It will be interesting to see where the author goes from here.
Another winning series from P.C. I absolutely love this book and can see it becoming a great series! If you are a fan, pls pick up a copy and immerse yourself into a new world of Earth Walkers, Tree Tribe, and a couple other friends! Our heroine is going to flourish into a force to be reckoned with......Thumbs up PC, can't wait for the next installment
Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast Having read P.C Cast and Kristan Cast’s books The House of Night Series, I was excited to see this new endeavor. I was surprised by the depth of new series. Moon Chosen is a book that I am recommended for my children to add to their reading lists. In an apocalyptic world people have found ways to adapt and change to this deadly world. Scavengers, hordes of gigantic wolf spiders, humongous cockroaches roam the night killing all those who are unable to protect themselves. People are divided into small groups whether clans, or tribes, the people have adapted in very contrasting ways. The Earth Walkers, living in burrows protected by the plants they cultivate, and survive by use of herbal remedies, and magic. The Companions, Tribes of the Trees, live in the trees, bond to dogs, and used technology to adapt the world to living above the troubles and dangers. Holding those in power who are bonded to the strongest animals, and those who can channel the sun and direct their own power. In the ruins of the city, the People live, barely surviving a world of illness and change. They use savage practices to attack tribes who surround them in an attempt to heal their ailing bodies. The conflict is building within the pages, the characters are detailed and relatable, barely into the pages you are struggling with the characters to find a solution to the conflict of their world. I can’t wait to see what will happen next.
MOON CHOSEN is the first installment in PC Cast’s young adult (YA) TALES OF THE NEW WORLD post-apocalyptic/dystopian fantasy series focusing on a new world years after ‘our’ Earth has been destroyed. Told from several third person points of view MOON CHOSEN follows three characters with intersecting paths. Mari is our heroine-our young woman caught between Clans as she is neither an Earth Walker like her mother, or a Companion like her late father. Nik is a young man who finds himself drawn to our story line heroine; and Dead Eye, who believes himself to be a god amongst man. MOON CHOSEN, like PC & Kristin Cast’s House of Night series, focuses on gods and goddesses, connections to the Earth, Wind, Moon and Fire, and magic that can be called forth from the elements. As the introductory story line MOON CHOSEN is an extremely long story –over 600 pages- and is awash in a copious amount of world building that focuses or is dependent upon the character development to tell the story. There is an inordinate amount of what can only be described as filler ( and redundancy) that made for a slow build to the story line premise. The author favors long descriptions and prose but in the end, sometimes too much is too much. The numerous story line characters are divided into three main Clans and Tribes-Earth Walkers (including the Moon Woman), Skin Walkers and Tribe of the Trees (Companions) or combinations thereof, with numerous secondary traits, identities, rituals and powers. There is plenty of discrimination, prejudice and preconceived notions, and an ill-gotten history between the different clans. PC Cast’s MOON CHOSEN can be a confusing story line as the author divides the attention between three main characters and the paths they have chosen. Most of the action takes place in the final 100 pages or so of the book. I loved the author’s Parthelon Series (aka Divine Series); struggled with the House of Night YA series co-authored with her daughter Kristin; and have reservations about continuing on the present course with the current series. PC has a more mature writing style than Kristin and it is evident in the story line structure, text and world building but the vast amount of ‘info dumping’ is overwhelming and takes away from the story line premise-the author is building towards the second installment but tends to meander in too many directions.
Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast is the first book in her new epic YA fantasy series where the world has completely changed with the end of technology and fall of civilization. A new world order is created with deadly creatures that come out at night and where everyone (separated as clans or tribes: Earth Walkers, Companions, and Skin Stealers) is trying to survive. Mari, is part Earth Walker, part Companion, and daughter of her Clan's healer, Leda, a Moon Woman. As a Moon Woman, Mari's mother calms the Clan, keeping the Night Fever from consuming them. An outsider in her own clan, Mari wants to be at her mother's side as her apprentice to be the next Moon Woman, but she also desires for more especially when she has spent most of her 18 years hiding a part of herself no one but her mother knows about. However, the appearances of a lost pup and Nikolas, the son of an enemy clan, begins a chain of events that change her life irrevocably. A restlessness is building over the Earth, and Mari's destiny is not yet set in stone as a bigger purpose is laid out before her. Moon Chosen is filled with vivid detail as Ms. Cast spends a good portion of the beginning of the novel setting up her unique world, the distinct individual groups, and the dangers forthcoming. So it may seem a bit slow to start, but once the worlds of the main characters begin to collide, the story begins to pick up pace and the characters begin to grow and develop. Besides, the main characters of Mari and Nik, I also loved the time Ms. Cast creating the relationships the characters had with their parents, their friends, and their canines. I also liked the time spent with the villains of the story (which was a little disturbing especially with the Skin Stealers and Dead Eye)- reading sections from their perspective where you see what is driving them. All of it combined made the story that much more rich, especially on some of those big moments within the novel that moved the story towards it's ending. Overall, Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast was an enthralling and well-written fantasy novel that will leave you in the end with questions that need answers, and very excited to know what happens next. I eagerly recommend!
"Moon Chosen" is an intricate post-apocalyptic tale. After the sun has scorched the planet and most of the land has been sunk into the ocean, people have fragmented into three main groups: Nik's tribe who live in the trees and bond to dogs focusing on the sun, Mari's tribe who live on the earth/in caves and focus on the moon, and Dead Eye's urban dwelling Skin Stealers who kill and skin humans (they need the skins to live in the exposed cities). Mari and Nik are the next in line for leadership, as Mari's mother is the leader of her clan and Nik's father is the leader of his. Bugs are the dominant species (take the cockroach nuclear war theory to monstrous attacking bugs lurking in the forests). Mari's tribe, led by women, seems to be at the bottom of the food chain (not surprising perhaps), as the tree dwellers enslave them and the Skin Stealers will attack them. However, Mari and her mother, Leda, have a close-guarded secret- Mari's father was a member of the sun-worshiping tree tribe. Thus, when a young dog escapes, it runs to Mari to bind itself to her. As the young pup was one which Nik had his eyes on, he follows and they meet, with a Romeo-and-Juliet-like tale ensuing. It's quite a complex world which Cast has created (and this is the reason for the length of the book)- there are so many people and actions vying for the reader's attention that it is easy to get lost early in the book. It comes together when the action really begins (the pup running away) and the storyteller in Nik's tribe gives some context and history. I wish it had begun with this information, as the first part of the book was a little hard to follow- it was an "Ooooh!" moment for me, for sure. However, after that point, it became a much quicker/easier (though still very complex and intricate) read. It fits the fantasy genre really well, and so as not to give spoilers, I'll just say that once I got the people and plot, I liked it alright. There were some things I was not so fond of (Mari is pretty immature and naïve and I found some of their relationship hard to grasp) and also some really intense scenes that I am not sure I would recommend to many young readers. However, for fantasy lovers, I think this is a world they will truly enjoy! Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
I went into the book blind and not sure what to expect. I loved it! I had only read the House of Night series of hers and wasn't sure how this would compare. The depth and maturity of the contents were a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed the story and seeing how the characters evolved during the book. I can't wait for the next one!
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