M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Piling on the Dilemmas: A Review of Kristan Callihan's "Moonglow"

If yah love a book that starts out with a bloody, gruesome murder, would you love a book more that starts out with two? Would you love the book more if the female MC "meets" the love interest in the book after she's been buried under the body of one of the corpses? 

Picture this scene. "A small groan broke the spell. Someone shouted in alarm. The dead man moved, rolling a bit, and the crowd jumped back as if one. Ian's pulse kicked before he noticed the soft drape of blue silk beneath the man's twisted legs." All the werewolf gore, crisp characterization, and that discovery ... introduced in the first fifteen pages. What's more, Moonglow by Kristan Callihan doesn't slow down ... until the two lovers marry. -- No that isn't a spoiler because the book's a paranormal romance.

What impressed me most: Moonglow offers the reader more than gore and thrills as threats and murder pursue the protagonists. The book explores the price of love between a mortal and a supernatural without falling into a cliched relationship. Oh the elements of a mysterious dark handsome guy with secrets and a beautiful, feisty girl with new found powers are there, but Ian and Daisy stand out as rounded characters without paragraphs of rumination over "should I or shouldn't I" go to bed with the bloke. This is accomplished with minimalist flashbacks scattered throughout the book.

Let me make this clear. Most books throw problems at their characters and force them to make decisions. Often, the decisions are as cliched as the plot. Callihan manages to raise the stakes of "do or die" to a higher level, especially since Daisy's sisters also face the same kinds of choices. More important, the orchestrating villain doesn't turn out to be the expected one.

Set in Victoria England, the book's atmosphere isn't as ripe as those created by Anne Perry, but the setting feels authentic -- though a historian might pick at some details. 

The surprise? The book lived up to the blurb given by Diane Gabaldon, a New York Times Bestselling Author. "Callihan has a great talent for sexual tension and jaw-dropping plots that weave together brilliantly in the end." I couldn't say it better. Moonglow is the second book in what is probably a trilogy. 

[Kristen Callihan. Moonglow. New York: Hatchette Book Group, 2012.]
Rating: Totally Green with Envy
But, I think I'll trade it. 

In need of a chuckle? Read Kristen Callihan's blog on changing character names during the editing process. No  wonder commercially published authors sometimes pull their hair out.

"Troublesome Neighbors", the prequel to the Pig Wars, continues to progress -- in spite of a slight setback on the cost of a cover. [Not an unexpected problem when you're dealing with a professional artist ... but her stuff is so good, I had to ask.] Anyway, I think I'm looking at getting the manuscript to the editor by September. Maybe it'll be available by Halloween ... or before? 

Guess I should go looking for reviewers ... but not until the edits are done. That means coming up with a tantalizing blurb. Maybe I should give up before I start. I've never been coaxing. I'm more of a take it or leave it kind of gal.

Once the edits are done, I'll put the first section up on the Far Isle Half-Elven webpage.


Anonymous said...

I was torn over Moonglow. It definitely wasn't as good as Firelight. I think it was cause the chemistry between Daisy and Ian wasn't as electrifying as the chemistry between Archer and Miranda.

Unknown said...

Are you saying, the second book in a series was a let down? That's not uncommon.

I didn't read Firelight, though it was nicely referred to in Moonglow. Wonder what she'll do with the older sister's story.