Monday, November 21, 2011

The Moon Coin by Richard Due: Book Review

Title: The Moon Coin
Author: Richard Due
Pages: 297
Published: Gibbering Gnome Press, A Division of Ingenious Inventions
Summary:For Lily and Jasper Winter, the Moon Realm began with a single secret bedtime tale. As the children grew older, Uncle Ebb enthralled them with thrilling tales of the Dragondain riding horse-sized, catlike Rinn; mysterious tales of peerin-wielding lunamancers manipulating the magic that lies just beneath the surface of reality; exciting tales of flying dragons, swimming merfolk, stomping giants, and troublesome faeries. But as the magic of their childhood faded, so too did the tales. Eventually, they were just . . . good stories. Or were they? Now, nine years after it all began, Uncle Ebb is missing. Lily and Jasper search for clues, but their uncle's mansion is full of distractions. A Tesla generator thrums in the basement. Prismatic electrimals flit around walls resembling underwater reefs. Then a most unexpected friend comes to their aid, leading them to a hidden room where they find a mysterious coin—the moon coin. Before the night is out, Lily is transported to the real Moon Realm. But the moons are in trouble. The Rinn of Barreth are under siege, and the lunamancers of Dain are beset by the very dragons they once loved. Most horrifying of all, the moon Darwyth has fallen to a villain named Wrengfoul, whose creeping evil now threatens to overshadow all the Realm. Are Lily and Jasper too late to save the Moon Realm, or will they have enough time to write an ending of their own? (From Goodreads.com)


My Thoughts:

Adventurous and fantastically action packed, Richard Due's The Moon Coin is a story that reminds us of what it's like to be young and that there is so much more to the world than we can sometimes imagine. With nine moons, talking creatures and a traveling coin, we enter the world of The Moon Coin, a story that takes us to the far reaches of ingenuity and excitement, eliciting all the emotions of learning, growing, experiencing and realizing that things aren't what we thought they were...they are so much more.
"Are you going to tell us a story, Uncle?" asked Jasper.

"No. Not tonight, I think." Jasper's small shoulders slumped. "But if you tink you're up to keeping another secret, I might be willing to tell you a tale."

"There's a difference?" asked Lily.

"Oh, yes, yes, yes. You see, a story can be made up as easily as you please, or not. But a tale, now that's a moon of a different color. A tale is an account of things in their due order, often divulged secretly, or as gossip. Would you like to hear one?"
My feelings on this book may be better related if you all know something about me. I love a good story. I have this aunt who tells the most amazing stories and growing up, whenever we'd visit her in Utah, she'd round us all up and tell us the most amazing tales. Stories of dancing princesses or Captain Crunches soggy cereal or witches that were secretly our little brothers. She could craft a story so imaginative and so detailed, it felt like I was there, in the story and even to this day, my siblings and I can still sit there and listen to her tall tales of far fetched places and people. Richard Due's The Moon Coin, for me, was like that.

Jasper and Lily are one year apart, age wise, and their very favorite thing is to listen to their Uncle Ebb and his bedtime stories. One evening, Ebb decides the children deserve to hear the tales of The Moon Realm, a place with nine moons - or worlds - that swirl around one another. Slowly Jasper and Lily grow up and realize that these "tales" are just fabrications their Uncle has made up. And even though they seem so real and so mesmerizing, they really are just stories. Except, when Lily is 13 and Jasper 14, their Uncle disappears and Lily and Jasper discover the necklace he never takes off or allowed them to see the pendant of, wrapped around a dress mannequin. From there everything takes off and Lily and Jasper realize the Moon Realm does exist, but it is not quite how it was in their Uncle's tales.

The Moon Coin, fast, furious and immensely enjoyable, reminded me of what I love about fiction. The thought and creative emphasis that drives that little light of our imagination to explore the fantastical to it's every corner. The way Mr. Due has crafted his tale is wickedly enthralling, with a touch of what we know added into the larger mix of what we don't, we get to discover everything right along with Lily (and eventually Jasper). There are surprises around every corner and by taking the more difficult theme of division, forcible annexation and the underlying currents of coloring up the truth, Mr. Due has made The Moon Coin into a story that is deeply layered and developed as much as it is entertaining and delightful.
"[...]First, I want to hear about Tavin. What spooked you and Dubb so?"

Lily stared down at her tea. A sudden suspicion arose in her: Nima was looking into Tavin's mind in the next room...using tea.

Keegan seemed to sense this, saying, "Sometimes, Lily, tea is just tea." He smiled politely.

Lily took a sip from her mug.

"He tried to kill me."

Keegan laughed at that, but as he looked into Lily's face, his mien slowly changed from indulgence to disbelief.

"Forgive me. I don't mean to laugh at you, but what you say makes no sense. I've known Tavin since he was--oh, much younger than you. He couldn't have tried to kill you. If he had, then you would most certainly be dead. Trust me."

Lily took another sip and stared at Keegan.
With a extremely wide cast of characters and a heroine we can appreciate, The Moon Coin just keeps giving. I must admit, I wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I did. I think it brought me back to those stories of my aunt's and how much I love living in an imaginative world and the alluring places they take me. To worlds where giant lion-like animals with huge saucer eyes rule worlds and control magic and where humans are not the majority or the strongest, but rather fighting for survival on a planet that has had terrible pains. Mr. Due has brilliantly crafted these worlds for us, developing them to illustrative vivid quality. My only complaint is sometimes there was a little too much detail, but I believe that as a first installment it was undoubtedly necessary to the creation of each moon.

Overall, I heartily loved The Moon Coin and I look forward to the next installment and the hope that I will get to visit even more planets and discover all the hidden secrets the Moon Realm holds. I give The Moon Coin a 5/5 and recommend it to those who enjoy YA, MG, Other World and Fantasy Fiction.

10 comments:

  1. A great review - I like reading such books from time to time!

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  2. Do you think if I tried to sneek into one of your Aunt's story tellings posing as a long lost cousin she'd notice? :D

    Just askin'.

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  3. Wow! A 5:):) Those are pretty rare, so this one is obviously unbelievably good. I don't read too much middle grade fiction, but I love an author who just tells a great story, so maybe I'll give it a try:) Beautiful review Jen!

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  4. This one sounds adorable, Jen! I love books that remind you of a particular time in your life. And story time with family is always a great memory. :)

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  5. @Anachronist - I do to! It was such a fun read. I'm really looking forward to the next installment.

    @Richard - LOL! With the amount of people in my family, she probably wouldn't notice. :D

    @Ashley - It was pretty epic! I really loved it. I wanted to go live in their Uncle's head for a bit as well as his freaking awesome mansion.

    @Jenny - It just reminded me so much of all the fun adventures I had growing up that I just ended up loving it.

    @Rummanah - Those memories of my aunt are some of my very favorite. We still all talk about them. I guess that's why I loved the book so much. :D

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  6. Sounds like your aunt should try her hand at writing a book!

    It's been a while since I've read a MG book, but this one sounds like it's destined to become a classic.

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  7. Wow! I haven't heard of this one and I'm glad you finally told me! I'm serious. I have been thinking of different MG books I could look for, for gifts and I think this one is perfect!

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  8. I'm petty enough to admit I wouldn't have picked this up based on the cover, but it sounds amazing! Great review :)

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  9. Free Sneak Preview of The Moon Coin! Formatted for ePub, Mobi, or PDF. Please share. Enjoy. http://wp.me/p1BEjH-2U

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XOXO Jen the Bibliophile

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