Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on May 6, 2014
Genres: Faeries, Fantasy, Young Adult
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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.
Marni is the Dragon’s daughter, born after her mother ran away to the woods and was one of the only women ever to make it out again alive. For carrying a half-human monster, her mother was killed by her own brother, the prince. The infant Marni was spared and sent into exile with her Gramps, living on the edge of the woods growing flowers for a living. But now that Marni is almost reaching womanhood, the creatures in the woods have been calling to her again. It’s getting hard to resist…
With descriptions of lost princesses, dragons and fae, I feel I should have loved this book a lot more than I did. With a beautiful, lyrical storytelling voice, the woods in this dark fairytale come to life with all their creatures. Unfortunately, I didn’t get on with the first-person present-tense. Add to that the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of dialogue, and what could have been a very emotional and heartbreaking story ended up feeling almost detached and cold to me.
The plot meandered throughout the book and often left me wondering where it was going. We also learn very little about the magic of this world, or about the women that are stolen away from their homes, or, in fact, about the Dragon himself. Where did he come from, and what does he do with all the creatures in the forest?
Having said all that, it sounds like I really hated this book – I didn’t, honest! The characters were well written and I really did feel for Marni’s Gramps, who had lost so much. Lord Ontrei is also an interesting character who I felt got a bit of hard time from Marni, although she takes no prisoners when she feels threatened. Marni herself has been hidden away from the world for most of her life and her telling of this story makes her sound almost taciturn. Her strength shows through once we learn just how much this young woman has been through in her short life.
It’s actually really nice to read a stand-alone novel for once in the YA market! A Creature of Moonlight wraps up very nicely at the end, and should satisfy anyone looking for a quick read. I just didn’t feel that the emotional depth of the story made it past Marni’s cool storytelling. I’ll be looking out for Rebecca Hahn’s future work though – there were plenty of beautiful and eerie descriptions, as well as great characters.
– A promising debut, but it didn’t quite grip me.