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Title: Under the Lesser Moon (#1 The Marked Son)
Author: Shelly Campbell
Published: 7th of November 2020 – Mythos & Ink
Format: eARC – 342 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
Happy Sunday and Happy 1st day of November! This year has whizzed past and I can’t believe there are just 2 months left before a new year!
One thing I have loved above all else this year has been the book opportunities I’ve had, and today is one of them. I was lucky enough to be added to the Mythos & Ink mailing list and I was very excited when I got the email about this book, I’ve not read that many books with dragons, so I definitely wanted to give it a go, and I’m very glad I did.
Thank you so much to Emma and the team over at Mythos & Ink Publishing for letting me be part of this tour and for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
“Dragons once led our people across the wastelands, away from storms, and toward hunting grounds.”
That’s what the elders say, but Akrist has squinted at empty skies his whole life. The dragons have abandoned them, and it’s Akrist’s fault. He’s cursed. Like every other firstborn son, he has inherited the sins of his ancestors. In his camp, he’s the only eldest boy left. Something happened to the others. Something terrible.
When Akrist befriends Tanar, an eldest boy from another tribe, he discovers the awful truth: they’re being raised as sacrifices to appease the Goddess and win back her dragons. The ritual happens when the dual moons eclipse. Escape is the only option, but Akrist was never taught to hunt or survive the wastelands alone. Time is running out, and he has to do something before the moons touch.
Under the Lesser Moon by Shelly Campbell is the first book in the fantasy series called The Marked Son, in which we meet a young boy named Akrist who lives in a small camp, but is shunned by everyone, even his parents because he is the daeson, the firstborn son. As soon as I read the blurb, I knew I needed to read this book, and I hope that once you read my review, you will want to pick it up too.
This book was on the slower side, the pacing was slower than what I’m used to, and it was a very different book to my usual fantasy reads, but that really surprised me and I was hooked. I read this book in nearly one sitting about couldn’t put it down, I just kept thinking about it and I had to finish it as soon as I could!
There are lots of characters in this book, we meet them all from Akrist’s point of view, and we don’t have that much insight into them, but that’s done on purpose to give Akrist centre stage. He lives in a society where small camps settle the landscape and when a couple gives birth to their first son, he has taken away from the family and basically has to fend for himself because of their origin story that tells them that this boy is cursed. Akrist is such a boy and my heart went out to him. No one in the camp likes him and he is hardly spoken to, his only solace are his vaiyas which are big ostrich type birds.
We follow Akrist’s life through a sparse landscape and a harsh civilisation, I can completely imagine a society such as this one existing. I thought that the writing style was really fresh and I enjoyed it, it kept me reading and I liked the fact that it had a simple side, I don’t know if that makes sense. Fantasy stories are usually made up of massive sentences and lots of flowery writing, but this was simpler in the sense that the messages were conveyed through a much more authentic lens, that of a young boy growing up in a world that didn’t want him.
The world-building was also really good in my opinion, I could picture everything clearly, the characters, but also the world in which they lived and I actually really enjoyed reading about this world. It’s a simple and sparse world, but the story and the plot is so interesting that it beautifully complimented it.
There are also a few creatures in this book, I’ve already spoken about the vaiyas, the birds that Akrist looks after. He has an intimate relationship with these birds, I found that really nice because the fact that he was hated so much just because he was the firstborn son, it really broke my heart, his birds take him in and look after him. There are also dragons and wurms, but you’ll have to read this book to find out.
I found this book to be a lot more character-orientated. The world and the society in which Akrist lives is rich and very vividly described by the author, but we have a main focus on Akrist as he grows and goes through many experiences, most of them painful and saddening. I liked that we focus on him for the majority of the book, it’s his experience, his life, his path and I liked that there were nearly no outside things to influence us only learning about him, through his eyes.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, this was a really surprising, impressive and enjoyable book. A lot different to the fantasy I’m used to reading because of the simpler side of bringing the story forward, the focus on only one character, the simple but rich world-building and the original plot, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down. If you like fantasy more on the unique side with a harsh life for its characters, myths and stories, constant obstacles for the main character, dragons and wurms, then you are bound to enjoy this book.
I gave it 4 stars (you can find my ASPECTS rating down below), it was a really good first book in a series that I will definitely be continuing. You don’t really see what is happening until right the last moment where the main character realises, and although that makes the book a bit more on the slower side, I thought it was a great way to present the plot twist. I recommend this book to fantasy and dragon lovers and can’t wait for book 2!
Thank you once again to Mythos & Ink Publishing and the author! This was a great experience and I really enjoyed reading this book!
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,
Atmosphere – 7
Start – 6
Pacing – 6
Ending – 8
Characters – 6
Theme – 7
Style – 7
Total = 47
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – SHELLY CAMPBELL
At a young age, Shelly Campbell wanted to be an air show pilot or a pirate, possibly a dragon and definitely a writer and artist. She’s piloted a Cessna 172 through spins and stalls and sailed up the east coast on a tall ship barque—mostly without projectile vomiting. In the end, Shelly found writing fantasy and drawing dragons to be so much easier on the stomach.
Shelly’s tales are speculative fiction, tending toward literary with dollops of oddity. She enjoys the challenge of exploring new techniques and subject matter, and strives to embed inspiring stories in her writing and art.