As you may have already seen, I have officially selected Claire Luana as my Author of the Month for June. The third novel in her Moonburner Trilogy just launched yesterday (YAY!), so now is the time to feature this incredible series in its entirety.
I read Moonburner last year and loved it. So I figured I'd give you guys a little recap of that book before moving on ahead with my reviews of Sunburner (which I read last month) and Starburner (which I plan to read this month). I've got a fun giveaway planned for the end of the month . . . and maybe an interview with the author herself?
My rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased ebook
Publication Date: July 2017 (repub)
Publisher: Live Edge Press
Point of View: 3rd Person
Genre: YA Fantasy Adventure
So, yes, I reviewed this book last year, back before it had this amazing new cover! Don't get me wrong . . . that previous cover was nice too. Nice enough to attract me to the book in the first place. But I don't think it compares to the new look of the series.
The book itself is an absolute classic example of the kind of Kickbutt Heroine Fantasy I love so much. Kai, the heroine, is the star of her story. Though often driven by circumstances beyond her control, she never loses power or agency along the way. She faces those circumstances head-on, she grows in strength and command, and fights her own battles. She's got plenty of maturing to do through the course of the story, and her journey of growth is entertaining and thrilling by turns.
This book reminded me in some ways of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo . . . except that I like it MUCH better. (I've just not quite jumped on the Bardugo train yet.) While Kai is an extraordinary young woman, she doesn't suffer from the "special snowflake" syndrome of other heroines in similar types of stories. Plus, she surrounds herself with other strong young woman, forming a tight community of support and encouragement.
I also really loved how Luana used classic tropes of the "magic school" type story but twisted them to make them fresh. Particularly the trope of the "mean girl." You know--the superior, know-it-all student at the school with whom the heroine must have a major, public showdown and ultimately defeat, proving her own worth to all? Yeah, it's a trope. It's a trope that usually annoys me.
But . . . Luana took that storyline in a very different direction than I expected. The Mean Girl character ends up with a compelling, heartbreaking twist of her own, elevating her far beyond the standard role. (And that storyline continues with even more twists and surprising moments in book 2, Sunburner! But I'll get to that next week when I review that book.)
The only small complaint I had with this story when I reviewed it last year was the love interest, Hiro. I was a bit bored by him. But . . . you know, I've gone on and read Sunburner, and now I kinda love Hiro, so I'll happily take back that critique on book 1!
Moonburner is an excellent introduction to the world Luana is creating, with all its intricacies and complexities. More than that, it's a wonderful story of sisterhood and female empowerment. There's a spiritual element threaded through the narrative that gets expanded on in book 2 as well. Ultimately, so much to love and savor.
And if you're not fully convinced to pick up Moonburner for yourself yet . . . why not try a sample of Claire Luana's writing? She's offering a copy of her romantic novella, Burning Fate, for free on her website homepage.
Look at that pretty cover. You know you want it!
Come back next week for my review of Sunburner, book 2 in this exciting trilogy. And don't forget . . . I've got a great giveaway coming at the end of the month!