Title: The Moon Coin
Author: Richard Due
Illustrator: Carolyn Arcabascio
Publisher: Gibbering Gnome Press
Pages: Ebook; 297
Release Date: August 25, 2011
Intended Reading Group: Middle Grade/Lower YA
Content Screening: Mild Fantasy Violence
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Fantasy readers, or those who love a good story.
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Librarything / Amazon / B&N
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.
What first struck me about The Moon Coin above all else, was the illustrations. Even before I read the synopsis, even before I tried the first page, I fell in love with the hand drawn illustrations. Call me old fashioned, but I really miss the days when all illustrations looked like these. Computers are a fantastic invention (without them this ebook wouldn't exist) but I sure do miss the gorgeous fruits of someone talented's labor. Carolyn Arcabascio's illustrations really bring the story to life. They are that little link that makes all the difference in becoming immersed in the story.
I'll honestly tell you that this book drew me in once I did start reading. Similar to a lot of fantastic middle grade reading out there, we start out the book by meeting the characters, and it's easy to fall in love with them right away. Lily and Jasper are precocious children to say the least. They love solving puzzles, getting into mischief (although not always on purpose) and going on adventures. The wonderful part about them is that they really defy their age. Both of them are malleable enough to fit into any child's imagination. Even as a reader who isn't necessarily the target audience, I fell in love with them as well.
The worlds in this story are vivid and beautifully descriptive. I really felt like I was transported to all of the places that were presented to me. New races pop off of the page, and the reader is swept away into far off lands inhabited by some of the most wonderful and unique characters. However, this is also why I am not entirely sure that this book should be labeled Middle Grade. The story itself is definitely Middle Grade friendly, what with the adventures and fast moving plot. A lot of the descriptions though are very word heavy and boast some vocabulary that might not fit into this label. That's not to say all Middle Grade readers won't appreciate them. I just wonder if a lot of the imagery might be lost on a younger reader. This does make The Moon Coin a great choice for a family read in my mind though!
Overall this was definitely a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Although it took me a little while to become absorbed in my reading, once I was I wouldn't have wanted to quit reading. The ending to The Moon Coin leaves just enough to the imagination to open it up to a sequel! I for one cannot wait to see where Richard Due takes us next. If you have a young reader who enjoys Fantasy, loves to be lost in a good story, or just wants something new, give them this book. You won't regret it!
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.