Review: A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
How did you get the book: e-ARC from publisher
Release date: Out now

A stunning debut novel about a girl who is half dragon, half human, and wholly herself.

acreatureofmoonlightAs the only heir to the throne, Marni should have been surrounded by wealth and privilege, not living in exile-but now the time has come when she must choose between claiming her birthright as princess of a realm whose king wants her dead, and life with the father she has never known: a wild dragon who is sending his magical woods to capture her.

Fans of Bitterblue and Seraphina will be captured by A Creature of Moonlight, with its richly layered storytelling and the powerful choices its strong heroine must make.

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

I was browsing Netgalley one day (as I think most of us book bloggers do. On a daily occurrence) when the cover of Creature of Moonlight caught my eye. I stared and stared at this cover until the obvious was staring me in the eye.

“Dragon,” I said to myself. I peered closer and stared at the black silhouette imprinted onto the moon. “That’s a fecking dragon. A small dragon but it’s a DRAGON!”

I won’t lie and say I was a tad apprehensive when I read the tag, touting this book for fans of Seraphina. So I was chatting to Has about it and in the end she basically told me to read it because it looks good. So I did. I read it. And it was darn good.

A Creature of Moonlight delighted me with it’s storytelling of the woodland creatures. There’s a fairytale aspect to the story but it’s more fantastical in tone which I adored. The beginning of the book is a story within a story. Marni explains to the reader about her woodlands; about the girls that are lured into the forest and never return. Marni, though, she ventures into the forest. She hears voices, woodland creatures, and she sees the knitting Lady. A Lady that calls out to her and sings. But Marni always resists. She resists the call inside of her that desperately wants to run and escape into the forest and become who she’s meant to be.

But Marni has Gramps and she can’t leave him. She doesn’t want to leave him. Marni is half dragon and half human, and both sides of her are warring with one another. She’s torn on who she’s meant or supposed to be.

And this is why I loved this novel. Marni is a heroine who is strong but also vulnerable. She knows her own mind; speaks her own mind, but she’s not quite human. And that non-human side of her is what got her mother killed, and her Gramps permanently injured. Hahn explains the backstory of Marni’s past in little pieces and it’s done without the pace of the story ever stopping. It’s tragic and once I learned the full extent of what happened, I understood and adored that relationship between Marni and her Gramps even more. He took care of her since she was a baby and I loved that there was positive familial relationships in the story. But something occurs that’s beyond Marni’s control, and she’s forced to return to court. To her uncle, the King, who hates her and wants her killed and out of his sight so his people and lands can be safe. Because the woodlands are marching and moving to take Marni back to where she belongs.

Creature of Moonlight is told in three parts. The first is Marni, the flower girl who lives in her hut and tends to the gardens with her Grandfather. The second part is Marni, the Lady and heir of the King, who is forced to deal and play games of the court. Marni also has to figure out Lord Ontrei, a tall, dark and handsome man who wants to become allies with Marni and asks for her hand in marriage, not only for Marni’s protection but to further his own gain and powership. The third part is Marni, dragon daughter.

I mentioned above familial relationships. I think what impressed me the most is Marni’s relationship with her Aunt, the wife of the King. They’re not blood related but a relationship based upon friendship, affection, and then love, transpires between them and it was lovely. I was expecting the Queen to backstab Marni at some point but nope. I could have cheered right there and then when I realised what was happening. There is a slight–and I mean very slight–romance between Marni and Lord Ontrei but there’s no HEA. It’s about Marni growing up, learning to handle herself, and oh boy does she handle young Lord Ontrei wonderfully with her wit. She doesn’t back down with his manipulations, but I also liked that Lord Ontrei wasn’t a bad person. And Marni recognises that and struggles with dealing with her romantic feelings.

But a Creature of Moonlight is not a romance, so my fellow romance lovers don’t read this expecting one. Read a Creature of Moonlight for Marni’s journey as a young woman; learning and understanding who she is; coming to terms with her past; and finally choosing to live in the human world, or in the woodlands, where she is the dragon daughter.

A Creature of Moonlight was a wonderful and engaging read that’s rich in tone with a wonderful and engaging heroine. I can’t wait to read more of Rebecca Hahn’s future work.

I give A Creature of Moonlight an A.

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