Title: Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World, #1)
Author: P.C. Cast
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2016 (Oct 18)
Genre: YA Fantasy
First of all, I must recognize the beauty of this cover. Has to happen. Might as well be now:
My opinion on this book is not going to be popular. I can already tell based on some of what you had to say when I mentioned I was reading it. But we will get there. And I’ll explain. Let’s get to the meat of the novel…
First thing you need to know: just like the byline says, these are “tales of a new world.” So there’s going to be confusion. There’s going to be alternating POVs. There are definitely going to be parts you don’t understand at first but make sense later as they all come together.
Let’s start with Mari:
Mari is a Moon Woman’s daughter. She lives in a burrow with her mother, Leda, the Moon Woman of her tribe of Earth Walkers. The Moon Woman is responsible for using the power of the moon to “Wash” the other members of the tribe. When it comes to women, it cures them of melancholia. When it comes to the men, it cures them of Night Fever (madness). These washings must take place every three days to keep the tribe mentally healthy.
Mari has a secret that she must keep from the tribe with her mother’s help: she is only half Earth Walker. Her father was a Companion, a man whose tribe killed him for loving an Earth Walker. Mari, the product of their union, must hide her Companion features with clay and dye her wheat-colored hair dark. No one must know or they both will be banished from their tribe. Mari apprentice’s with her mother but fears the power of the moon as she is only half-Earth Walker. When she goes out in the sun, her skin lights up with patterns and she must always wear a cloak to disguise the markings.
Nik is a Companion: a member of the Tribe of the Trees. When a canine chooses one of the members of the tribe, the bond is holy and permanent. They connect with the dogs on a psychic level. They take Scratchers (what they call Earth Walkers) because they seem them as children that can’t care for themselves. Nik has no canine and is past the time of choosing. One day when a pup comes towards him, he gets excited, knowing this could be it. But the pup runs past and out into the night…and Nik tries to find him.
Dead Eye knows the statue of his God, The Reaper, is nothing but a statue. His God is dead. The Skin Stealers have sacrificed and dined on the flesh of their sacrifices, wearing their skins, but their people are still dying as their skin slowly peels off their body painfully. One day, Dead Eye has a revelation: he skins a deer but lets it live, and packs his wounds with the deer’s flesh (I know, his parts are extremely gross). When his skin touches that of the deer, it heals! He now knows that he is the tribe’s Champion, their new God. And he will lead them to victory, no matter what the cost…no matter who dies.
These three stories are eventually interwoven into a complex tale that will suck you in, make you feel, and introduce you to the sides of human nature that we love and hate. These are tales of Cast’s new world…and even after 600 pages, I wanted more.
Ummm, yes and no. There are parts that are great, but there are some rape scenes that can be disturbing . I would say introducing it in junior year and up would work. The intricacies of the people’s lives are fascinating and could make a good anchor text if used with supplemental materials…are these people mutants of our old world, or are they products of their environment and just a step in evolution? Could this happen if we aren’t careful? It really made me think about the way these people connect to the Earth: each tribe (and there are more as we see near the end) has abilities and weaknesses, skills and misunderstandings. It’s a truly interesting tapestry of human development.
So it’s too new to be on Lexile.com, so I would say 15 and up. The rape and sacrifice scenes can be disturbing. I wouldn’t want a young reader to have nightmares. Though the scenes are necessary, they aren’t pretty. And the book is long: it is a tome. Some people might get discouraged with the pacing and the length. I almost did but when I was about to get frustrated, the scene would switch to another POV, and I would learn more about thr other tribes. Definitely keep only for advanced readers with patience. I would be wary of giving this book to anyone with sensitivities to rape scenes or violence.
So…I have to go with my heart on this one. I really liked Moon Chosen. It kept me engaged and reading…and I still am thinking about it. No insta-love, no chosen one trope (if anything, Nik is not a chosen one and Mari tries hard all the way), no weird love trainagles. There is diversity in love (the Tribe of the Trees have many different types of couples). There is reverence for the Earth. Reverence for nature and animals.
I give Moon Chosen ★★★★★. And I thought about this a long time. I was tempted to give it less because others didn’t like it, but then it’s not my rating, is it? I get why others might now have liked it: it does take awhile to develop, but I really liked the writing style and pacing myself. Then again, as you know with me, I have a plethora of patience when it comes to books. I think if people who DNF it pick it up again and get past the slow parts, they might like it. Then again, they might not.
I can’t recommend it to anyone because now that I have seen some of the reviews, I don’t know if others will like it like I did. But I’m also an easy sell. I like anything with magical worlds that are written well. I’m a book pushover. So don’t read it based off my review…read it based on the blurb and what you think you might feel about a story like this. I DO hope to find other people that like this one, but I might be in the minority here.
What do you think of Moon Chosen? Have you read it? I haven’t read any other Cast novels so I’m coming in with a blank slate. Do you think it’s worth a read?