A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn (review)
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Reviewed by
Hahn, Rebecca. A Creature of Moonlight. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. 320p. Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-544-10935-3 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-544-11009-0 $17.99 Reviewed from galleys R* Gr. 8-10.

Marni’s grandfather gave up his kingdom and his crown to save her infant life, and he and Marni have spent the last sixteen years in relative safety, tending flowers and eking out a meager existence at the edge of the living woods that surround the kingdom. The threat that the reigning king, Marni’s uncle and the murderer of her mother, would return to finish off Marni has nonetheless always loomed, and it’s brought into sharp focus when Gramps passes away, leaving Marni to fend for herself. Initially, she takes refuge with the fairy spirits in the nearby woods—she is, after all, half magical creature herself, the product of a tryst between her mother and a dragon in human form. Knowing, however, that she cannot hide forever, Marni makes her way to court, where she learns that the king indeed wants her dead, but also that her father, the dragon, is looking for her and sending an army of trees to choke out the land and claim what he sees as his. This is fairy-tale fantasy at its best, with evocative prose and simple storytelling deftly conveying a powerful emotional core that will haunt readers long after the pages end. The fairy forest has an appropriately ethereal feel while the royal court is full of sharp edges and shady people, but both places are dangerous for Marni, whose presence means an opportunity to grab power more than a chance to welcome kin home. Though mainly a character study of a girl divided by her heritage, it’s also a strong indictment of the idea that love is the same thing as possession and an exploration of the way that such interpretations of love lead to destruction.

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