Review: A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn

creature of moonlight

A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn

Marni lives with her Gramps on the edge of the woods where they grow flowers that the wealthy lords and ladies from the castle come to buy.  The woods is not just a normal woods, it is filled with small creatures and a lady who has sung and knitted with Marni since she was a child.  Marni doesn’t speak with the creatures of the forest anymore, but she had spent many hours as a child with them.  Marni is not just any peasant girl, she is the daughter of the sister of the king, and her Gramps was once king himself.  The current king, her uncle, killed her mother and now may be turning his attentions to Marni.  After all she is not just human, she is half dragon, and her dragon father is expanding his woods to find her.

A large part of the delight of this book is uncovering secrets along the way.  Hahn plays with this in her many-layered story, slowly revealing things that the reader may have guessed at.  Startling readers with revelations at other times, ones that make perfect sense and click into the story with a neat precision.  Told in a series of parts, the book takes place in three distinct locales.  There is the hut that Marni lives in with Gramps and their odd but also stable life together.  There is the king’s court where Marni is not only out of place but also targeted and unsafe.  Finally, there is the world of the dragon, the lure of the woods and its dangerous beauty.

At the heart of all of this is Marni, also called Tulip, who finds herself a princess raised as a pauper.  She is separate from the royal court but not entirely, still connected through her flowers and through her mother and the violent act that killed her.  She is a girl who is strong enough to deny the fairies in the woods what they want, smart enough to survive at court without understanding the politics, and determined enough to find her father when she needs to.  She is one of those heroines who is vulnerable and real but also startling and incredible.

Complex and rich, this debut novel gives us a new voice in high fantasy for teens.  One who is definitely worth exploring and reading.  Get this into the hands of fans of Seraphina.  Appropriate for ages 14-17.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Edelweiss and HMH Books for Young Readers.

2014 Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards

The winners and honor books for the 2014 Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards have been announced.

FICTION WINNER

Grasshopper Jungle

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

FICTION HONORS

Boxers & Saints Boxed Set Rose Under Fire (Code Name Verity, #2)

Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

 

NONFICTION WINNER

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin

NONFICTION HONORS

The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest--and Most Surprising--Animals on Earth Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

The Animal Book by Steve Jenkins

Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson

 

PICTURE BOOK WINNER

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

PICTURE BOOK HONORS

Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me Rules of Summer

Knock Knock by Daniel Beaty, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan