Author: Steven Savile
Ashley Hawthorne thinks of herself as the Cuckoo Girl. No matter where she is it feels like she doesn’t quite belong. Everything changes when her eccentric aunt, Elspeth Grimm, leaves her the key to a safety deposit box in a bank that was destroyed during the Blitz. That box contains the first part of her true inheritance: an umbrella, a battered old notebook, a pair of aviator’s goggles and a locket. Each of these gifts is a unique part of who she really is. Elspeth is a descendent of the brothers who purged this world of monsters by trapping them within the Concord. She is the Oracle. A keeper of all the knowledge we have amassed about the creatures of the Fae and other worlds. And someone intent on destroying the Concord has murdered her! When Ashley looks through the goggles that night she sees curious creatures on the roof of the house across the street watching her. To the naked eye they look like crows but they are not. It is the first glimpse of the other place—the place where she will finally belong. The journal is crammed full of things, but there’s no actual writing in it. Ash decides she’s going to use the journal, and begins the first entry: My name is Ashley Hawthorne. The ink fades so she writes it again. My name is Ashley Hawthorne. Again the ink fades. She tries again and again until the ink scratches out an entirely different first line: That is not who you are!
My thoughts: Although Moonlands concept and opening scene are very promising, the execution was below my expectations.
The characters are varied and the wardens are specially interesting characters, however there isn’t a lot of development or information about them, they show up mostly towards the end of the story. The main character Ashley is the normal supernatural (insecure) teenager who thinks she’s just an ordinary, unattractive girl and who by then end finally stands up for herself. Blackwater Blaze on the other hand is an assassin blindly fallowing orders, who ends up realizing he was manipulated and betrayed and ends up going through an internal struggle between his loyalty to the pack and doing what is right.
The pacing of the book seems a little disproportionate, it begins with an action scene, it slows down as we get to know the main character and she figures out who she is, not a lot happens after she crosses over to the Moonlands and suddenly we are at the end of the story where everything is quickly and easily resolved, leading afterwards to a big cliffhanger (hinting perhaps at a sequel). The abundant use of repetitions also made the pacing seem a little dragged.
The romance didn’t feel very convincing either (to me, at least). It all happened very fast (the usual instalove), the way Blackwater Blaze treated Ash in some scenes, during the journey in the Moonlands, also felt a bit exaggerated.
Overall this was an OK book, however if there is going to be a sequel I’m not sure I will be picking it up.