Review: A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn

May 6, 2014 4 stars, Book Review, Young Adult 27 ★★★★

Review: A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca HahnA Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on May 6, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 313
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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A stunning debut novel about a girl who is half dragon, half human, and wholly herself.

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.

four-stars

My imagination held hostage
The woods are a magical place, one that the people in A Creature of Moonlight have been taught to fear their whole lives. These woods come and go, moving forward and backward gobbling up or giving back land on a whim. It even has a taste for young girls on the cusp of womanhood! Treacherous sounding isn’t it? These young girls frequently disappear into the woods never to be seen again. Except once one particular girl does return. Sounds like a place full of magic, danger and temptation to me – I was all in.

Marni lives in exile at the edge of the wood in a small hut with her grandfather the former king. Learning why these two are in exile is all part of the slowly unfolding mystery in A Creature of Moonlight. With a lush descriptive prose and a vengeful young heroine I couldn’t help but be entranced by this world and most of all its magic. The writing style and tone of this book it quite unlike many of the other young adult books that are coming out today. The pace is slower and the prose style just feels different. It required some thought and there is a lot of inner dialogue and descriptions from Marni as in the first quarter of the book she observes more rather than interacting with people. Some might find it takes a bit of time to adapt to, but I flowed into it with ease as I literally felt Marni was telling me the story rather than I reading it.

Good girls don’t play in the woods
The magic of the woods and the creatures within it remind me very much of elemental or fey spirits. Everything seems to have magic. The trees, the flowers and all of the creatures. Some float on the wind and there is a lady that knits and weaves magic from everything around her and indeed this is something Marni learns to do as well. Pulling moonbeams and light together with pine needles and moss and whatever other bits of the world to create beautiful new creatures or to even knit a vengeance upon her enemies.

Why, hello tall dark and devious
Marni eventually finds herself in the castle and we see a possible romance developing between her and a powerful but young Lord, Edgar Ontrei. But Marni is determined not to let anyone dictate how she is going to live her life and what she is going to do in order to achieve her goals, not even some ravishing man who makes her laugh, especially when she knows he has ulterior motives. Even though there is some romance I have to stress that this is just a side focus and by no means the main plot at all so you love hungry readers should know that going in – this is not in the teen fantasy romance category. It is very much a coming of age story.

Blood is sweet and vengeance bitter
A Creature of Moonlight has some overtones of darkness to it that I really loved. I always think of anything reminding me of fey as something that cannot be trusted and here I got to see Marni as she learns all about who she is, what she really wants, the truth and who can be trusted. An excellent read and the author says it was written as a standalone folks so snatch it up and enjoy because you get some actual freaking closure for once at the end of a YA novel!

Check out my my fan art inspired by the book!

*gasp* This book was provided by the publisher! No worries though it’s an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own. Cover art displayed courtesy of the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. This post might also contain affiliate links. To view my full Blog Policy, click here.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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27 Responses to “Review: A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn”

  1. Stuti

    Ummm…I was going to read Silver Mirrors right about now but I think I’ll give this one a go first. Also *gasp* a high fantasy(right?) standalone? Must check out. 😛 Also, I liked your fanart, especially the first one.
    Stuti recently posted…We Were LiarsMy Profile

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      Thanks Stuti! I am actually about to read Silver Mirrors also! I just finished Bronze Gods – love those two. Did you notice on the cover the weird freaky hand that looks like it SHOULD be Ritsuko’s hand but looks like a nasty disembodied man’s hand? Take a look tell me that’s not freaky and wrong looking.

      Excited that you liked the fan art! It’s so much fun drawing the sketches.
      Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Fan Art Up! (4) – A Game of Thrones – DaenerysMy Profile

  2. [email protected]

    So, this book went from ‘to read’ on my GR list to another shelf called ‘wishlist.’ When you started talking about the woods, the magic, disappearing girls and danger, I was all in! The writing-style is my cup of tea. I don’t mind slow pacing and I like the sound of the prose. Romance as side focus is perfect! That is how I like my romance aspect and Marni sounds great, with her ‘no one can dictate my life.’
    [email protected] recently posted…Early Review 257. Cassandra Clarke – The wizard’s promise.My Profile

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      That is how I feel as well – all of those elements combined to be an excellent story and sometimes slow pacing is exactly what is called for! Marni is totally great – I loved how stern she was about sticking to what she was going to do. and not letting any guys bully her into marrying them!
      Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Fan Art Up! (4) – A Game of Thrones – DaenerysMy Profile

  3. Kirsty-Marie

    DRAGON. I want to be half Dragon, think of the no travel expenses! But, then there’d be the trying not to be seen part, and that would be annoying. But, a YA romance that’s not solely focused on the romance. It’s a unicorn! It kind of sounds a little bit twisted too, and I’m scared of the Woods anyway, but eek. I’m not sure about the slow pace, since I get bored quickly and they usually annoy me but if the writing style can keep me reading (like it did in Deep Blue) then I’ll be fine. Though, it doesn’t sound perfect (since you gave it a four and not a five) sounds like you enjoyed it! Either way, I’ll have to try it and see, too. 🙂
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Don’t Even Think About ItMy Profile

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      I absolutely adored it. I tend to think I am a bit hard to pin down when it comes to star ratings. Even if I love a book I won’t necessarily give it a 5 star unless it does a number of things for me. Such as really moving me emotionally, not allowing me to put it down even for a minute etc. It has to be the whole package.

      This was definitely an excellent read and I would pick it anyday over a host of other YA novels I see coming out the recent years.

      So far of the few Houghton Mifflin Harcourt YA books I’ve read I’ve had nothing but luck. They seem to acquire really quality authors and stories going for quality over quantity which is something I vastly appreciate.

      This was thoughtful but yes some part are slow building but by the time I got to the end I totally saw the point in the slow build and was very satisfied. I hope you decide to give it a try (I also have a giveaway coming up for it later this month with a guest article from the author!)
      Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Review: A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca HahnMy Profile

  4. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    This does sound like a lovely read! Though I would probably like a little more romance in it, but I am curious about the story and Marni so maybe I’ll check this one out! It does have a lovely cover which I’m always drawn to! 🙂

  5. Melliane

    This books sounds awesome, I want to discover the woods, the magic and the while universe of the story. I’m glad you had a good time because it intrigues me and I love the cover. Thanks for the review!

  6. Heidi

    I am totally drawn to this cover and I am happy to hear that it is gorgeously written and it is a stand alone. A rare beast that is in YA! Must get this.

  7. Anya

    Oo, I’m so intrigued! I’m definitely digging the only small serving of romance and the fae as enemy idea. Would you say that the writing of this one compares to A Turn of Light? >.>
    Anya recently posted…7 Quirks of My Book BloggingMy Profile

  8. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    What a gorgeous review, Tabitha! I’ve been waiting for this book for some time now and didn’t know it had come out. The publishers need to work more on their publicity. This sounds absolutely amazing and just reading your review has me wanting to just jump into this world with dragons. I also like that the romance occurs in the sidelines. And yes! It’s a stand-alone!
    I’ll make sure to grab a copy of this when I go book shopping the next time. 🙂
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Review : The Wizard’s Promise by Cassandra Rose ClarkeMy Profile

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      I know I didn’t see as much publicity for this one either but it is such a lovely book. Psst there’s just the one dragon =)

      I was so ecstatic when the author says it was a stand alone. There really aren’t enough of them these days. Every single author is doing a series it seems. But I know several have said that its because publishers ask them to make it into a series.
      Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Fan Art Up! (4) – A Game of Thrones – DaenerysMy Profile

  9. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    I preordered this book last week based on your description on your fan art post, but Tabitha . . . I literally got CHILLS reading your review! From feeling like you were being told the story, to fey spirits in a magical wood, to a budding romance (but with a refusal to have her life dictated by someone else . . . just, WOW. Cannot wait to read this!
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel BachMy Profile

  10. DannyBookworm

    We talked about it on gooodreads already and I am so happy you loved it! I’m still not finished and I have just read the first few pages but, the pace is really slow and the whole writing is very different. While this might be loved by many people right now I’m not the biggest fan.
    But.. I really want to get back and finish it as it does sound beautiful and maybe I should just get over the first pages!
    DannyBookworm recently posted…My Friday Love – New Blog in Town: Not Yet ReadMy Profile

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      Yes the first few pages were achingly slow for me too while I adjusted to the authors narrative style. I think once I got to the point when Marni leaves to the castle things get really easy and it flows SO much better. I think that might be at least 60 pages in though.
      Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Review: Bronze Gods by A. A. AguirreMy Profile