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Before the Full Moon Rises (Chronicles of the Secret Prince Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Author – MJ Bell
Star rating - ★★★★☆
Plot – good kid's story
Characters – interesting and relateable
Movie Potential - ★★★☆☆ (not sure how they'd do it. It would be very intricate)
Ease of reading – very easy to read
Cover - ✔
Suitable Title - ✔
Would I read it again – Not sure.
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
I'm on the fence about this one and I can't explain why. I'm somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4 star, but I've rounded up to the 4 because I think kids (between 10 and 15) will love it.
My main issue is that there are a lot of formatting issues with my copy. I'm not sure if every copy will be this way or if I've got an Arc, but every so often there is a chapter that is mis-formatted. Each paragraph (even when only one line) takes up an entire page so that one chapter takes forever to get through. It also broke up the ease of reading somewhat, but I do understand this isn't the author's fault. It could easily be a glitch that went unnoticed because it didn't appear until a few chapters in. But once it happened, it was probably that case in about 4 or 5 chapters.
There were a few spelling and grammar issues in the very beginning, but after the first three chapters, these fizzled out.
The fantasy aspect of the plot was good. There were a lot of creatures – Fae, bats, wolves, ogres – that kids will look for and love in a fantasy novel. They all play their part and some of them will be important in the following books.
There is a very small romance aspect to the book, but it's enough for kids of 14 and enough to sprinkle on top of the action/adventure aspect that dominates the book.
Another issue I have, that risked dropping this to a 3.5 star, is that the story takes forever to get into the good stuff. It took 50% of the book to build up to the big reveal and it was kind of anti-climactic for me. I don't think most of the first half of the book was really necessary, unless it becomes important to the next two books. At the moment, it feels like the first half is filler to make the book a novel. I would have been happy without about two quarters of this book, and I would probably just have made it one novel.
I really like Deston; he's such a real character, nosy, inquisitive and a typical 14-year-old boy. He'd hell bent, during the entire book, on going home and finding his mother. The way he fights and trusts his instincts is rare, but makes for good reading.
I liked the sense of connection that Deston had with his best friend, at the start of the book. I wish the best friend would have had a bigger part in the story, like Margaux's part, but I hope he comes in during the next two books.
I have to admit though that Margaux is one of the reasons I was on the fence about this book. Yes, she's a strong female character, but she often comes across as rude, sarcastic and very vain. I find her very self-involved and self-opinionated. She often loses track of the bigger picture – saving Joliet – and focuses more on herself and how she's feeling and what she wants.
She takes offence to every little thing Deston says, in the beginning, though he always apologises and it's clear that he didn't mean it maliciously. She doubts him all the time, fights him at every turn, yet she cries at a lot of the things they go through. I find her a very confused character. It feels like the author couldn't decide whether to make her the 'strong' female and stick with it, or whether to make her the weak and fragile female so often in books. Only so much can be blamed on her age. I would have liked to see her more like Hermione from HP, which she started out as, but that didn't happen.
Sadly, Joliet, Deston's mother was the same. The whole book she sounds like this adventurous, kick-butt woman, who knows what she wants and goes after it. But when we finally get to see her, she's like Margaux
I noticed a lot of influences from other fantasy books/movies in this one, though again it could just be me. There were hints of Stargate, Avatar, LOTR, Labyrinth and Harry Potter. They're small links, but I see them quite clearly.
All the females in the book are the same – when they're not in the book they're spoken about as if they're strong, powerful women, but they cry easily and fall apart at the smallest thing. It just doesn't feel right. The boys, however, are well balanced. They're not too macho, they make mistakes and accept it, they're open to emotion. It feels like more attention went into the male characters than the females, but that might just be how I read it.
There are two more books to go, but I'm not sure what is going to happen, because I don't really see the need for more. The story is done, except for an epilogue that will no doubt lead into book 2. Unfortunately, it wasn't as big of a plot twist as it should have been, because I saw it coming. That, unfortunately, is true of most of the book. The really big stuff wasn't a surprise to me, because I'd already anticipated it. Not sure if I was supposed to, or if they were supposed to be a shock, but I think they probably would be a surprise for a lot of kids.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Without a doubt this is one of the most wonderful books I have read in a long time. It is beautifully written and wraps around you, pulling you into a story that is a fantasy anybody would be thrilled to experience. Ogres, fairies, pixies, and a great number more fantastic creatures await your eyes and sometimes your nose. Honestly you feel you could reach out and touch, if not be walking beside the characters at any given moment. I recommend this for the younger set all the way to adults, it is a fantasy world that we should all get to enjoy. Many thanks to M.J. Bell for giving me her book to read and review, I am a huge fan now.