Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Yay for YA: Liar's Moon review

Last fall I reviewed an excellent young adult fantasy called Star Crossed, and mentioned that I was looking forward to the next in the series.  I finally purchased it for the library with our Scholastic Dollars, though, and roguishly (fitting, considering the main character!) checked it out to myself before putting it on the shelves.  So, let me tell you about the sequel, Liar's Moon, by Elizabeth C. Bunce.
Checkouts: 1
Series checkouts: 8
Source: Scholastic

Synopsis: Being a thief, Digger lands in jail now and then.  But she did not expect to end up in a noble's holding cell with her old acquaintance, Durrel Decath, nor to find out that he's being held for the murder of his wife.  Since Durrel once saved her life, she promises to get to the bottom of the mystery.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars (4.5 like the first in the series, but a lower 4.5)

Let me start by saying that my quibble with Star Crossed was addressed: Liar's Moon has maps!  I'd heard a rumor - in the comments of my review of the first book, of all places - that this one would, and it pleases me greatly.  The irony is that we're finally given a map of the lands, and Digger stays in the capitol city of Gerse the entire time.  Still, I appreciate it, and the city map is handy.

Ms. Bunce's writing continues to be superb, and she shows her genre flexibility with this book taking quite the different tack than its serial predecessor (or heck, her first book - A Curse Dark As Gold - which is a fairy tale retelling).  Murder mysteries are not my cup of tea; they don't excite me, and aren't going to receive top marks in a review from me.  That said, this is a good one, with plenty of twists and turns.  Think you know whodunit?  You'll find yourself second-guessing plenty as this narrative moves along.

I really enjoyed the secondary characters Digger interacted with in this book.  There's a few gay males, and I give kudos for them being as normal as everyone else - they just happen to love someone their own gender.  Nobles didn't particularly marry for love, in medieval times or in Digger's world, and being homosexual in Gerse just means that after you carry on the family name with your spouse, the lover you take isn't going to give you more progeny.  Beyond that, such supporting cast as Koya and the high priestess of Taboran intrigued and delighted me in their complexity and portrayals.

Along these lines, I will say that the romance in Liar's Moon doesn't bother me one iota.  It's fairly minimal, but the relationship Digger comes to be in is completely believable.  And I do like the guy, who was introduced in Star Crossed.  He's got his flaws, but overall, he's a good fellow.

I don't do spoilers, but I must address the ending.  Everything seems so nicely wrapped up, and then BOOM!  There's a jaw-dropping, gasp-inducing cliffhanger.  I really, really hope that Ms. Bunce gets to write another book in this series.  There's evidence that she wants to.  I'd be okay if Digger's story ends after two books, but it would really please me if we get to find out what happens next.

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