Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Happy Book Birthday, Moonlight Blade by Tessa Barbosa

It's time to celebrate another book release! This time, I have a young adult fantasy read, which centers around magic, violent battles, and...well, the blurb reminded me a bit of Hunger Games but with spells and set in a fantasy realm. I was intrigued and was excited to give it a go.

So, let's pick up this shiny new book and see what it has to offer! 

by Tessa Barbosa
Entangled Teen
YA Fantasy
338 pages

I promised my mother I would never come to Bato-Ko…and yet here I am.

Narra Jal is one of the cursed, cast aside her whole life, considered unlucky. But with her mother’s life on the line, she will return to the city where she was born to face the trials: a grueling, bloodthirsty series of challenges designed to weed out the weak, the greedy, and the foolish. Trials to select the next ruler of Tigang.

Narra has nothing. No weapons. No training. No magic. No real chance of leaving with her life. Just her fierce grit and a refusal to accept the destiny she’s been handed. Even the intense, dark-eyed Guardian she feels a strangely electric connection with cannot help her. Narra is on her own. But she’ll show everyone what the unlucky can do.

Let the bloodbath begin.

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60827560-the-moonlight-blade
AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZSVQKCJ/
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-moonlight-blade-tessa-barbosa/1141363829
PANDEMONIUM: https://pandemoniumbooks.com/products/the-moonlight-blade-barbosa-tessa


An original world comes to life in this exciting adventure, which holds tension and tons of magic.

Narra is cursed and stays fairly isolated from society until her mother disappears. With her sister, she heads to the main city despite her mother's insistence that she never step foot there. While Narra does her best to stay hidden, she's determined to discover her mother's fate, which brings more trouble than she needs. When things unravel, she finds herself in the dangerous position and must fight in the deadly trials. But without any training or weapons, her chances to survive are slim.

This is an exotic world with magic, religious sects, governmental power, and a society full of dangers. Starting with the disappearance of Narra's mother, the story catapults head-first into the streets of the city, where every corner holds a threat. It's a wonderful setting, which gives the perfect backdrop to the bloody trials Narra will find herself in. From the very first page, I wanted to love this novel and get lost in Narra's world.

There is a lot to take in during the first chapters. Not only does Narra start in the heart of the dangerous streets, but she's immediately drawn into problems. This does make the tale grabbing, but with so many unique aspects, thanks to the rich world, it was also a little confusing. The government and society is quite complex and very different from many tales in this genre, especially since it weaves around a religious direction. It is so intriguing but, unfortunately, never built out enough to gain clarity of how it really works. The same can be said for the magic. There are original wonders about it, and yet, it's usage is also left a little foggy. Both of these deserved to unfold so much more than they did.

The characters are what makes this read. Each one is unique, has sympathetic goals, and is easy to root for or hate. A little background is missing on this end, too, but it's forgivable as they face all sorts of complications and situations. So, there is quite a bit to enjoy about this read and just wish to get lost in it even more.

And here she is...

Tessa Barbosa is a Filipina-Canadian author who writes fantasy novels by night, and software help by day. She studied computer science and the fine arts in university, but stories were her first love, and she’s thrilled she gets to write them now. Tessa currently lives in Vancouver with her family and when she’s not at the keyboard, you can find her reading, making messes in the kitchen, or sewing things. Find out more at tessabarbosa.com

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