Black Moon by Jessica McQuay.
Paige Tailor Series #1.
ebook, 279 pages.
Paperback published in October.
Published by Cambridge Press.
I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
"Am I losing my mind?"
Paige couldn't help but question her sanity. What other explanation could there be for her hearing a conversation held barely above a whisper in the back of a classroom full of students? What about coming home to find one of those very classmates lying in wait in the darkness of her home, ready to attack her?
Confused, frustrated and feeling every ounce of her social ostracism, Paige confides in the one person she's always been able to count on: her mom. But when her mom reveals a deeply rooted, unbelievable family secret, Paige discovers her world is filled with more than she ever imagined possible. A world where fairytales live alongside nightmares and secrets are the glue that binds them together. Suddenly no one is who they seem and Paige is faced with more questions than answers. Can she survive in a world filled with creatures scarier than anything she could imagine and where deceit runs as thick as blood? Or will the truth send her over the edge?
Right from the beginning of the book, we've got mystery. Paige Tailor would just be your average teenager, except for the white lights that glow from her hands and her ability to hear a whispered conversation from across a classroom. The story only picks up from there, with Paige being attacked in and around her own home by a seemingly crazed classmate, Rachel (who has her own little story woven into this one in select chapters, which is interesting!). When she finally tells her mother what happens, Paige gets the shock of a lifetime: her mother is full-blood Fae, making Paige a half-blood. They travel to Varulean, the home of the Fae and her grandparents' kingdom, where Paige learns she is the granddaughter of the ruling King and Queen and will be taught how to use her wild powers. As she discovers, being a royal can get complicated, as can being a teenage girl. Put them together, and Paige ends up with a lot on her plate!
There is a lot to enjoy about this book. The plot is fairly fast-paced and has tons of unexpected twists and turns. As a reader, I felt as shocked as Paige did at some of the incredible things she learns. This is definitely not a predictable story, which is refreshing! Just when you think things will begin to clear up and make sense, the author throws another twist at you!
Paige is quite the character. We get a real sense of who she is right from the very beginning and she continuously develops as the story progresses. Early on, it appears she is fairly level-headed, even when worried or confused. However, once she gets to Varulean, she has a hot head and a quick temper, which likely comes out due to the abrupt change in world she experiences. Certainly going through everything she does would be too much for many to handle! Paige is not afraid to express herself and is very outspoken, which I admire, despite it sometimes coming off as rude. She also remains very much a typical teenager through the story; losing her cool when things go wrong, and not wanting to be her mother's "tag along". Not to mention the interesting, shifting dynamic between her and Naialah, whom she meets in Verulean, which never fails to be interesting and rile up emotions on both parts!
There is definitely an awkward family dynamic among Paige and her newly-discovered grandparents with her mother caught in the middle. This adds a sense of truth to the story because they do not immediately form one big, happy family when their ways and customs are so completely different.
I absolutely love the world-building. Varulean is presented as an absolutely enchanting place, with moss-like soil, an abundance of flourishing nature, and vibrantly coloured plants like you wouldn't see on Earth. I really appreciate that some history and description of Varulean is woven into the story, as it helps bring it to life. The magic in the novel is also incredible. The author describes things I've never imagined before, and it all sounds incredible fluid and unique.
There were a few things that didn't impress me as much. Firstly, that there were some errors in the writing as well as some awkward phrasings that should have been caught by an editor (which is who I am blaming for those!), though I was able to enjoy the story despite them. There were also moments where I wished there was better indication of who was speaking the dialogue. I am glad to say that this did improve over the course of the novel. I was also very interested in the side story that was going on with Rachel and was disappointed to find it disappear when Paige went to Varulean (though that's not the last time we see Rachel, thankfully).
There were definitely lots of enjoyable things about this novel! Those who enjoy magic would likely find something to love about this one. Especially the very climactic ending! It wasn't too much of a cliffhanger, thankfully, though there is definitely material for the next book in the series! It got me wondering what would happen next without feeling like the individual novel is completely unfinished, which is how I feel books in a series should end!
Overall I give Black Moon:
I wrote down one of my favourite quotations from the novel which I found really helped highlight that despite all she experiences, Paige is still just a teenage girl, and things can get overwhelming:
"I grabbed my pillow, covered my face and screamed as loudly as I could. I screamed for the old me and my old life and all that I knew slipping away. I screamed for this new person with all of these new ideas and for how little control I felt I had over my own life... I screamed because I couldn't think of anything else to do." - Paige. (p71 of PDF copy).
Jessica McQuay has kindly agreed to provide one signed paperback copy to a lucky reader! Open Internationally! Enter using the Rafflecopter below. The winner will be emailed and announced on Twitter and will have 48 hours to respond to my email or I will pick another winner.
Please note that I am not responsible for shipping the prize, the author will be doing so. She is not responsible for any packages that get lost or damaged in the mail.
Good luck! :)
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