Monday, January 8, 2018

Review: Moonburner by Claire Luana

Moonburner Cycle, Book One
by Claire Luana
Live Edge Publishing
YA Fantasy
313 pages

Kai is a Moonburner—a female sorceress reviled by her people and normally killed at birth. Except Kai's parents saved her by disguising her as a boy—a ruse they've kept up for almost seventeen years. But when her village is attacked, Kai’s secret is revealed and she’s sentenced to death. 

Thankfully, the gods aren’t done with Kai. Despite the odds stacked against her, she escapes her fate, undertaking a harrowing journey to a land where Moonburners are revered and trained as warriors. 

But her new home has dangers of its own—the ancient war against the male Sunburners has led the Moonburners down a dark path that could destroy all magic. And Kai, armed only with a secret from her past and a handsome but dangerous ally, may be the only one who can prevent the destruction of her people... 

Mulan meets Sarah J Maas in this thrilling tale filled with celestial magic, death-defying adventure, and enduring friendships. 


I've read so many good reviews about this one, loved the cover and was totally convinced by the blurb. So, I picked it up. Although it held many great things, which made my fantasy heart pound faster, I just couldn't 'love' this book.

Kai is only a few months away from her birthday, the one that will finally let her leave her life-in-hiding as a boy and enter the realm of Moonburners. As a Moonburner secretly living in the land of Sunburners, the never-ending war means her life is always in danger. But when a Moonburner raid leaves her village in ashes, her parents as traitors and her sent to the desert to die, she's suddenly seeing the war through new eyes. Her arrival at the palace and her quick acceptance into the Moonburner circle is only the sweet glitter on something she already suspects—the war is more than it seems and disaster isn't far behind.

This is a plot with so many layers, twists, turns and potential that its hard not to want to dive into the pages and stay there. The author does a great job at building up two sides of the warring nations in this intriguing world and bringing the chaos to life. Still, the hopes and dreams of those a little more detached from the battlefield aren't forgotten. The main character, Kai, holds a perfect balance of strength and softness, while offering a delicious naive side to make the plot slide in place around her. There's a wonderful 'soul-mate' at her side, which adds a sense of fun, friendship and warmth to the tale. Even the evil characters carry an enticing darkness, which makes them so much fun to hate. Everything needed to make this a great tale is there, but still, it didn't quite pull it for me.

A lot happens in these pages, making in very fast-paced and engaging. But it's too fast. Moments gain little depth and the multitude of characters never take the time to really sink in. Even plot twists, which bring monumental moments, are grazed over with little emotion and thought. Things happen, but that's it—they happen and the story continues on. But then, the writing slides along this same grain. While concise, the writing has a superficial feel and misses a nice flow, making it come across a little jarring, at times. The plot, although well mapped out and holding so much greatness, is predictable most of the time, which lessens the blow of those exciting moments—and there are tons of possibilities in these pages! As to the romance. . .was it that? It didn't really hit until late into the book, leaving no time for build-up or all those wonderful tingles as the story unfolded. Not that this bothered the story before the sudden love came. The tale got along well without the hero. (However, I'm never one to complain about those wonderful romantic butterflies, when they do come)

Summed up, this tale had tons of potential and, even though not all that I hoped for, offered enough to keep me reading until the very end. Obviously, tons of fantasy friends enjoyed this one, and they aren't completely wrong. I just found it not quite what I like to read.

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