I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
It is part of the Five Hundred Kingdoms #5.5, , series and is a fantasy that was published by Harlequin Luna on October 1, 2010 and has 384 pages.
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Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Unnatural Issue, "The River's Gift", Finding the Way and Other Tales of Valdemar, Foundation, Intrigues, Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit, Owlknight, Charmed Destinies, Changes, Beauty and the Werewolf, Invasion, Home From the Sea, Dead Reckoning, Conspiracies, Bedlam's Edge, Crown of Vengeance, Redoubt, World Divided, Elemental Magic: All New Tales of the Elemental Masters, Sacrifices, Steadfast, Burdens of the Dead, Bastion, Victories, Blood Red, The House of the Four Winds, Games Creatures Play, Closer to Home, Born to Run, Wheels of Fire, When the Bough Breaks, Chrome Circle, Changing the World: All-New Tales of Valdemar, Under the Vale and Other Tales of Valdemar, Arcanum 101, A Tangled Web, Winter Moon, Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar, Elementary: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters, No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar, From a High Tower, Hunter, Closer to the Heart, Silence, A Study in Sable, Elite, Closer to the Chest, Tempest: All-New Tales of Valdemar, A Scandal in Battersea, Cast in Shadow, Cast in Courtlight, Cast in Secret, Cast in Silence, Cast in Fury, Cast in Chaos, Cast in Ruin, Cast in Peril, Cast in Sorrow, Cast in Flame, Cast in Honor, Cast in Flight
Three short fantastic stories that involve the moon.
“A Tangled Web” (Five Hundred Kingdoms, 5.5)
“Cast in Moonlight” (Chronicles of Elantra, 0.5)
“Retribution” (Underworld Cycle, 0.5)
I have the impression from the level of writing that the intended audience is young adults. Which, I suppose, is a rather rude assumption as it indicates that I think people who are not-yet-adults aren’t capable of understanding more complex writing. And that is not my intention.
Mercedes Lackey’s “A Tangled Web”…
…is a twist on the Demeter-Persephone-Hades myth. The difference is the addition of Leo and Brunnhilde from Norse myth.
This is cute, if a bit on the childish side. I did appreciate Lackey’s bringing in her theme of The Tradition which she uses to create the external impacts on the protagonists. The Tradition‘s effects always take me back to the fairytales of my youth and cause me to see them differently. Always a good thing!
Michelle Sagara’s “Cast in Moonlight”…
…is a terrific story, although Sagara is a major pain in that she just abandons you in the middle of the story when she stops. There is no conclusion of any sort. It’s as if Sagara got up to go to the bathroom and never came back. Yeah, yeah, I know authors have the option of leaving us hanging on the edge of a cliff, but they usually conclude some aspect of the story before they do.
I know I don’t normally list the characters when I review a series of short stories, but I do want to read more…if only to find out what does happen!
Kaylin Neya is thirteen years old and has been surviving on her own. Recently, tattoos appeared on her body and seem to convey an ability to see and perform magic. It appears that she is also a survivor of the Nightshade ritual killings.
The Hawks are…
…one of three police forces that enforce the Emperor’s Law. Lord Grammayre, an Aerian, a.k.a., the Hawklord, is the commander of the Hawks. Garadin is a Tha’alani who “questions” Kaylin. Sergeant Marcus Kassan is Leontine (Kayala is one of his five wives; Graylin and Reesa appear to be two other wives); Corporals Teela and Tain are Barrani. Clint, an Aerian, is of the Camaraan Flight (a flight can be translated as family); he is a guard and flies a patrol. Caitlin is the sergeant’s aide. Red (don’t even think of him as Reginald!) is their coroner. Morlan, an Aerian, is in charge of the infirmary.
The Imperial Order of Mages works for…
…the Eternal Emperor (he’s a Dragon). Ceridath Morlanne has a problem he’s hoping to solve and is very sensitive to magical residual effects; Meredith is his eight-year-old granddaughter. Magister Dreury is the head of the Order. Sanabalis is another mage, but is not usually involved with the Order. Farris is yet another mage with the Order.
…another policing agency and one of their skills (directives?) appears to be a specialization in surveillance. Captain Neall.
Tha’alani appear to be magical personnel who “torture” beings for the police. Leontines seem to be lion-like. Barrani are dragons, I think. They appear to be the dominant beings in this world and immortal. Nope, at one point, Sagara mentions Barrani and Dragons as two different species. Arcanists seem to be wizards/mages who practice off the grid. Aerians are birdlike and have wings; yes, they can fly, but they don’t shift.
Nightshade is a fief (a neighborhood?) in which a series of ritual killings occurred a year ago. Elantra is the city in which all this occurs.
Cameron Haley’s “Retribution”…
…is a double-edged sword in this excursion into LA gang territory. This one combines magic with the usual internal gang concerns. This particular story feels like an introduction to an upcoming change to Dominica Riley’s life.
The Cover and Title
The cover is fantastical with its oranges creating the watery landscape and the sunset while a fey maid dressed in a pale green, diaphanous dress, wades in the water, bending to touch the reflection of the harvest moon.
The title reflects the theme of a Harvest Moon.