I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company on 2014
Genres: Animals, Dragons, Unicorns & Mythical, Fantasy & Magic, Girls & Women, Young Adult
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As the only heir to the throne, Marni should have been surrounded by wealth and privilege, not living in exile—but now the time has come when she must choose between claiming her birthright as princess of a realm whose king wants her dead, and life with the father she has never known: a wild dragon who is sending his magical woods to capture her. Fans of Bitterblue and Seraphina will be captured by a Creature of Moonlight, with its richly layered storytelling and the powerful choices its strong heroine must make.
With blurbs from authors like Franny Billingsley and Kristin Cashore and comparisons to Patricia McKillip, I could not resist going all grabby hands toward A Creature Of Moonlight by debut author Rebecca Hahn. I am unable to pass on a fantasy book blurbed by two of my favorite authors. As a debut, I think that A Creature Of Moonlight shows a lot of potential for Hahn. In all, there were a few things that I really loved about this book and maybe one thing that would cause me to hesitate in recommending this book to all the fantasy fans ever.
Marni is half dragon, half human. She’s royalty, but does not exactly live the life style that comes with being a royal. Marni lives out near the forest with her grandfather, working as the flower girl meaning that she grows and sells fathers along with her grandfather. The two lead a simple life. Yet, things are changing for Marni. She is becoming a woman. She is attracting the attention of men. She may also be a reluctant heir to the kingdom, which sounds great and all, but then you would have to consider how the current king killed her mother, the king’s sister. There are many big decisions Marni must make in A Creature Of Moonlight.
If you like reading books about girls who are fierce and independent, I think you will like Hahn’s debut. Marni is a girl who will not be cowed. She must deal with the lack of acceptance from courtiers. She must deal with the King’s hatred of her. Yet, she stands tall through it all. She’s carrying a deep grief with her and Hahn writes that emotion so that it’s crystal clear. Marni’s emotions are of the sort that as a reader, you can empathize with her. What I also liked about Marni is her bone-deep longing for freedom. Much of A Creature Of Moonlight is about freedom and what it means. It is about escaping the confines of society and it’s dictates for women. Marni is a perfect representation of this.
I think where A Creature Of Moonlight truly excels is in the world building. Hahn’s world is dark and lush. It is a claustrophobic read. We learn about trees and a dangerous forest that sprouts up overnight, closing in on villages and farms, confining the people to smaller and smaller spaces. We learn about girls who run away to the forest, never to be heard from again. Hahn does a great job capturing the fairy tale fear and wonder when it comes to the woods.
As for writing style, that’s where I think as a reader, I felt a bit of a falter. I am not sure that I would recommend this book to every one, ever. This is a book that has beautiful, intricate writing. However, the pacing feels quite slow. It’s not a fast, driving force of a read. There’s little romance to be had. A Creature Of Moonlight is quite the cerebral read, and I know that not every reader wants that. I think that if you liked Chime by Franny Billingsley, you will like this book. If you are a patient reader, you will like this book.