Title: Under the Lesser Moon
Author: Shelley Campbell
Series: The Marked Son
Trigger Warning: Child abuse, violence against women
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“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.
This book was sometimes hard to read. Not because it is badly written but because it is well written, which make the moments of violence and abuse a little hard to stomach. The descriptions are vivid, and I found myself taking breaks from it, to take a breath and pick it back up again.
I needed to know what would happen to Akrist, a child born in tragic circumstances and I wanted to know what would happen to him and if he would survive. He is a compelling character, as is the world around him. The villages are easy to picture, and the people are real within their circumstances.
This is not a light fantasy, that is certain. The world within the book is strange and new to me, and at times could be considered violent beyond necessity. It is not for the faint of heart.
I am so glad that I stuck with it though, as the more that Akrist grew, when he met Tanar and then Yara I knew I needed to stay with him, to be a part of his journey so to speak.
The world build within this novel is so well done. I could picture Akrist, I could picture the huts everyone lived in and the forests they hunted in. I would picture the creatures (wurms) so clearly in my mind’s eye that I shivered at the mere mention of them. It is also easy to empathize with someone who is treated as other, though I have not been met with quite the same disgust as Akrist.
This is recommended for anyone who is sick of waiting for the newest Game of Thrones book, because seriously. That’s taking a while.
I will be reading the next book the moment I can, that’s for sure.