Moonlands by Steven Savile
A dive into a darker fantasy kicked off with a touch of a slow start as the characters are given time to develop. Ashley, at 15, is convinced she is just normal, with busy parents and nothing special to set her apart. Those dreams are all too soon answered and we are off and running in a hard to put down story.
Saville uses his fresh perspective in this fairy tale inspired fantasy. Ash is a wonderfully well-built character: smart, determined and a little daring, even as I felt her appeal wane a bit with the overly used self-deprecating trope of “I’m not special” and a fairly unnecessary love interest later in the story. Sometimes it is perfectly acceptable to have a heroine that is flawed, and learning without the self-deprecation. Her greatest strength is her willingness to do what needs be done: swallowing her fear and moving forward.
World building is second to none in this story, Savile’s descriptions and reveals bring the world to life, giving a sense of a dream come to life. Certainly a high point of the story. The plotting arc moved steadily early on, but in the latter part of the story the elements felt as if they combined to rush to the end: taking a bit of the shine off of the characters. Sadly Ashley lost much of the sparkle that made her special early on in the midst of the rush to the end…..
Additionally, unlike other teen/ya reads, Ashley’s parents are NOT invisible, her mother is totally supportive and wholly involved, diving right in to lend a hand and support her daughter.
Narration for this story is capably provided by Becky Doughty, and her voicing of Ashley is convincing and feels age appropriate. Her ability to vary delivery and pitch changes to delineate the other characters, and a slight diminishment in the brightness of Ashley’s personality as the story went forward and the character did, in fact, seem to lose some of her spine followed the trajectory of the plot nicely.
While answering many questions, leaving more unanswered with the underlying mystery and a touch of a cliffhanger at the end, the story will leave you wanting more. The strength of description and unique world led to the 4 stars for story. The ending and rush to the finish was a touch disappointing, and while I hoped to see a trajectory for Ashley’s character that went upward rather than dither a bit with some of her decisions, I see potential for her to grow and develop further, and I am curious to know what happens next.
Stars Overall: 4 Narration 4 Story 4
Author: Steven Savile
Genre: Dark-theme, Teen Reads
Narrator: Becky Doughty
Published by: Crossroad Press
Published on: 29 April, 2015
Source: AudioBook Blast
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 29 minutes
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About the Book:
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.
A copy of this title was provided via AudioBook Blast for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.