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on 3 April 2014
This book brings back major nostalgia, revisiting characters first written back in the early nineties. Anyone who is a fan of Simon R Green's work will want to read this to see how the story ends with Hawk and Fisher. This is not his best book. His recent series have lacked the originality and punch of his earlier books, but its absolutely great to revisit the Forest Kingdom again after so long (last book Beyond the Blue Moon written in 2000). For any fan, old or new of Simon R Green, this is a must read, but will be more appreciated by the long time fans who have been enjoying these characters since the beginning (now feeling old!).
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on 12 February 2014
As we get older, we all seem to get that extra bit of padding. It would seem that Mr Green is no exception to the rule and the myriad of typical characters draw the story in a dozen different ways that fleshes out what would have been a 5* star rating.

However... remove the padding and you will get vintage Simon R Green, with amazing heroes that you will grow to love in the space of a few pages and dastardly villains who tread the thin line between right and wrong. And, of course, excellent actions that range from epic battles between heroes to great armies clashing in the night.

One gripe that i have to point out and which I hope other readers also find confusing is that the blurb on the back has nothing to do with the actual story.

Semi-Spoiler ahead

From the back of the book:
"Hawk and Fisher's adult children, Jack and Gillian, have been kidnapped." At no point in the story are they kidnapped.
"They were taken by the Demon Prince... who challenges the couple to one final battle for their lives" No they weren't
"But Hawk and Fisher believe there's another motive... one connected to a case they worked in Haven - a case they refuse to discuss" Unless I completely missed this one, at no point at all do they mention any case!!

Hopefully someone can post some comments and enlighten me or otherwise the publishers should be lining up someone for a disciplinary.

Anyway, that little gripe apart - if you are a Green fan and have enjoyed the previous Blue Moon books then you will feel perfectly at home with this, as long as you can put up with a bit of padding. If you've enjoyed the divergent character stories found in the Deathstalker books then you'll enjoy this all the more.
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on 6 April 2014
I've read all of Simon Green's books and I think that the Blue Moon/Hawk and Fisher are some of his best. However this one is padded, still very good but padded nevertheless. Anyone familiar with Hawk and Fisher knows the basic plot (even if the back cover does not relate to this story, maybe it was an earlier plot synopsis that slipped through? ) but to be honest that doesn't matter it is still a great read If you haven't read some of this series don't start here, this is the end, go back and get Blue Moon Rising - you will not be disappointed.
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on 10 January 2016
Blue Moon Rising, by Simon R Green, was the book that first got me in to fantasy over twenty years ago. I remember enjoying some of his other fantasy works – Down Among the Dead Men, Blood and Honour, the Hawk and Fisher books. I read Beyond the Blue Moon when that one came out, and seem to remember thinking it was a good addition to the Forest Kingdom series. Then I heard that there was a third “Rupert and Julia” book in the set, with Once in a Blue Moon offering a final hurrah for the characters who first introduced me to fantasy fiction.

This one was... disappointing, and there’s a number of reasons for me saying so. Firstly, I’m not sure how much of a difference this would have made, but it’s not the book that’s advertised on its own back cover. The relevant section of the blurb reads as so:
Hawk and Fisher’s adult children, Jack and Gillian, have been kidnapped. They were taken by the Demon Prince, an old enemy from the Forest Kingdom who challenges the couple to one final battle for their lives. But Hawk and Fisher believe there’s another motive behind the abductions, one connected to a case they worked in Haven many years ago—a case they refuse to discuss.

Now, unless I missed it, there’s no kidnapping of Jack and Gillian, and no reference to an old Haven case. It’s like the blurb was written for the book that was meant to be published, but then the author took it in a different direction and no one thought to update the back cover. If this makes the book seem rushed, there are other areas within that give credence to the idea.

There are sections where the wrong characters are mentioned, in one scene it’s a bit like Gandalf and Sauron having a discussion at Orthanc and you read it thinking “surely that was meant to say Saruman there, not Sauron?”

There are also sections that are as good as duplicated, though I seem to recall finding something similar when reading one of the Hawk and Fisher omnibuses years ago, so maybe this is a genuine trait of the author. In Once in a Blue Moon, we are introduced to two creatures who act as avatars for opposing countries in conflict – the Green Man for the Forest Kingdom and the Red Heart for Redhart. These two are brought into the world in almost identical circumstances by opposite numbers from the two sides, it’s like the first to occur was simply copied and pasted later in the book with just the names and locations changed.

At least the Red Heart wasn’t just called the Red Man though. In Once in a Blue Moon we already have the Walking Man, the Stalking Man, the Burning Man and the aforementioned Green Man – and yes, there are passages where the Walking Man and the Stalking Man are both included, just to take the confusion levels up a notch.

Outside of these nitpickings, the writing style is, from what I remember, typical for Simon R Green, but here it doesn’t seem like that’s a positive. The first chapter is a good fifty pages and a large portion of it is just unnecessary filler. This chapter sets the scene, and sets Hawk and Fisher on their way from the Hero Academy and back to the Forest Kingdom (that’s the part the back cover blurb got right). Unfortunately, it’s mostly just made up of one liners and passages that are there just to say how awesome the Hero Academy is, or how unbeatable Hawk and Fisher are.

For this last part, there’s not a vast amount to back up the claim for those who haven’t previously experienced Hawk and Fisher, or their alter-egos Rupert and Julia. There’s a few little action sequences that are less than memorable, and there’s a section detailing how the two (plus both of their not-kidnapped offspring) go nonchalantly through a tournament of the greatest warriors and come out completely and unbelievably unscathed. Too much however relies on the reader being told that these are great warriors and the reader asking no questions.

In this sense, I would say Once in a Blue Moon is definitely not a book to pick up out of sequence. It’s not for those who haven’t read (and enjoyed) the rest of the Forest Kingdom series, and indeed probably its only redeeming feature is the closure it gives to some of the characters. There’s a satisfactory ending not just for Hawk and Fisher / Rupert and Julia, but also for some others first mentioned back in Blue Moon Rising. The best is the ending for one (or two, depending on how you look at it) newly introduced characters, even if it does come across as a little too coincidental, almost rushed in at the last to tie up a little loose end raised early in this book.

The story itself is ok but not great – the one advertised on the back cover might have been a better one but we’ll never know. New characters that are introduced are a bit one dimensional for the most part. Jack, Gillian and their children (also not kidnapped), Richard, Catherine and the Champion of Redhart all lack a little body. Probably the only new introduction with a bit more to him is the Sombre Warrior, but he is too underused and his most interesting part (his backstory) is brushed over far too quickly.

There’s romance in the book, but not very good romance. We start out by seeing a chapter largely devoted to explaining how deeply in love Catherine and the Champion are, a chapter where the biggest surprise is the failure to start it with “Once upon a time”, so sugar coated are the words within. Despite this, Catherine’s head is turned at practically the click of fingers and she’s suddenly and devotedly in love with a man she said she could and would never love. There’s no wooing, no great seduction, just a switch flicked and away we go. To reverse a popular meme, even Twilight must surely be a better love story than this (full disclosure: I have never read any of the Twilight books or seen any of the films, so perhaps there’s still hope for Once in a Blue Moon yet).

Overall, and especially when following Hawk and Fisher to the Forest Kingdom, there’s just too much swagger and not enough substance. It’s almost like the main characters (magical talking dog-slash-comedy-sidekick included) take a helicopter ride to convenient points in the story, pick up someone new and ride on to the next spot. It’s just all a little too convenient and not detailed enough.
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on 26 January 2014
This is the third Hawk and Fisher book set in the Forest Kingdom. A while has passed since they had to flee Haven and in the interim they settled down ... however a dark enemy from their past has returned.
Overall, I enjoyed this book - Mr. Green has easily returned to the easy banter and partnership of the heroes with plenty of new characters providing an interesting back-story. However the book is over 500 plus pages and does then at times to re-hash prior storylines, so style rather than innovation was to the fore. Still a cracking read.
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on 20 January 2014
Good book, oh but the padding. Simon we don't need there or four pages on what a room looks like, it took so long to get into the story and it was so bity, jumping from one thing to another, I thought this was a Hawk and Fisher book, half way through and I've only read a chapter or two with them in it ...
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on 15 May 2015
I had seen several critiques of this book which, to precis them, rated this book as 'Wishy Washy'. However I read it and enjoyed it, perhaps for different reasons than 'Blue Moon Rising'. If you are in doubt just get the book and then judge for yourself. I am perhaps biased as I am generally not a Fantasy Fiction fan, read the book when I had run out of everything else to read and over the last few months have bought the book for around 10 of my friends (I am not keen to lend precious books out and that way they don't have to rush to return the book). Please buy and enjoy.
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VINE VOICEon 7 May 2014
I found the first Hawk and Fisher book in my local charity shop and loved it. I ended up buying and readign the whole series and loved them all.,
I have to say that Oncde ina Blue Moon just isn't quite up to the standard of the others. One feels that Simon Green couldn't leave them alone at their peak and just had to go one one more,
While good, it is not as gripping at the others.
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on 2 September 2015
Yet another 'Hawk & Fisher' mega-romp.
Would have 5x but the back-cover blurb describes a different plot. That book would precede this one but, to best of my knowledge, doesn't exist...

This 'oops' may only apply to the binding / version I bought...
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on 18 March 2014
I'm a big fan of Simon R Green and this book lived up to his standards - I started reading it and, hackneyed though it is to say it, I couldn't stop until I finished in the small hours of the morning! Now waiting for the next one....
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