Misti Eildelmann is a Vagari—a race whose innate crafting ability is connected to the creatures of the world. She’s also a Moon Knight. Misti is fighting a banished one when he slips a pendant around her neck that saps her strength. The pendant is dangerous. Deadly even. It harnesses crafting in a way not seen before, so she sets off to find help. Old and new friends join her on this quest, including her longtime crush Dylori Clyofis and a villager named Arias Silverstone. The journey is risky—filled with frightening suncreatures, evil worshippers, and twisted betrayal. Misti is thankful to have friends on this path into the scorching light, but something much bigger is waiting for them in the sunshine. Her pendant is just a piece of puzzle.
This book didn’t really work for me, however it’s not a bad read and it may work for you! There’s a lot to appreciate here even if it didn’t completely gel with me as a reader.
One of the things that I appreciated about this book, even if it wasn’t really my thing, was the deep level of world building involved. Here, it’s not just a typical fantasy ‘based on historical x society’ world that I’m so used to seeing in the genre. Kellie Doherty has crafted a completely unique world here, everything from the people and animals in it, to religions, the way the world works, to different cultures within the peoples populating her world. It’s impressive. And the way that you learn about the world is just through reading the story as they navigate their way through the story. There’s not a ton of exposition, which is also impressive when you have such a unique world that the reader will be completely unfamiliar with. I wish I was more into world building because I probably would have gotten super excited by this, but unfortunately I’m not really moved often by world building. So, while it’s something I deeply appreciate that the author pulled off here, it’s just not my thing that I connect to as a reader.
What I really love about books is the characters and if I can’t connect to the characters then I usually just can’t get in into them and unfortunately that’s what happened here. There’s nothing wrong with the characters, I just had trouble getting into them for whatever reason. By the end of the book I was feeling a little bit more into them, but by then it was too late for me. Misti, our main protagonist, is an interesting character. She’s not your typical ‘hero’–she’s not great at her job, she often second guesses herself, and she doesn’t have a lot of clear things that she actually wants other than to get away from her past and for the woman she likes to notice her. I wouldn’t say this made it hard to like her, per se, but she’s not someone I wanted to root for. She does go through some good growth though, by the end of the book she has become much more confident and able to make some decisions on her own, which I appreciated. I enjoyed her relationship with Dylori and the way it progressed as well. It’s a bit of a slow burn if you’re into that sort of thing. I wouldn’t say the romance is front and center enough to call it ‘romantic fantsay’ but it definitely is a side-plot.
Another thing that I did really appreciate about this book, and the world building, is that there is good LGBTQ+ rep. I like that most of the relationships were no big deal, but yet some parts of society did still have a bit of pushback so it varied depending on where the characters were at. I think that felt pretty true to how things are in reality and I loved that the characters chose to be places where they could just be themselves and be accepted.
Overall, this book isn’t bad, but it just wasn’t my sort of thing. But maybe you’ll love it, especially if you enjoy totally unique world building. 3/5 stars.