A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Fantasy meant to entertain.
Being different doesn't mean being less than or that there's something wrong; it just means "different," and that's OK. If you act like the people who have wronged you, you're no better than they are. You can't wait for the world to change; you have to create the change yourself.
Positive Role Models
Mari, 18, longs for "more" but isn't sure what exactly that is. She's brave, loyal, and unafraid to take action when needed. She good at thinking on her feet, applying what she knows to solve problems, and willing to take risks to help others. Nik, 23, is also brave and loyal but struggles because he think's he's not everything he should be. He's open-minded and fair, and when he finally understands what injustices his society has done, he takes action to remedy them. The large cast of other characters are mostly positive role models; some remain mysterious, and some who seem evil are at least understandable as wanting a better life for their society.
Violence & Scariness
Characters frequently in peril, including loyal dog companions, from scary fantasy creatures. Rival societies frequently skirmish and fight with arrows and knives. Blood is mentioned frequently and rarely described as spewing or spraying. Important characters die. Cutting skin and flesh off living animals and creatures mentioned, with one instance described in some detail. Bloody injuries mentioned but not described in detail; pain mentioned but not described in detail. Speculation of a past rape; bruised thighs, bite marks on breast and thighs, and dried blood mentioned as evidence. Three men attack and attempt to rape a young woman; afterward she mentions that her breasts hurt. Explosive fire with extensive property damage and many people in peril. Eating entrails and sucking bones raw from animal sacrifices mentioned.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sex is hinted at in romance-novel style, such as accepting a god's tribute from virile, young men, discovering the hidden beauty of a woman's body, two bodies worshipping each other, or slaking bodies' needs. Ritualistic pleasuring of men mentioned. Bare breasts mentioned a few times but not described, although one man's feelings of attraction/arousal mentioned. A few kisses.
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Infrequent "f--k" (and variations), "s--t," "piss," "bitch," "hell," "damn" (and variations), "ass," "bastard," "tits," "crap," "dick," and the made-up curse "bloody beetle balls."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Older teens and adults in fantasy world have ale at celebrations. An adult smells of something stronger, sways, and has slurred speech. Poppy-based potion used for surgery. Cannabis tea's calming and helpful properties mentioned. A character is mentioned as full of drugs and it's mentioned that nothing said during that time means anything. Sleep-inducing herbs put in someone's ale.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Moon Chosen is the first installment planned in a far-future fantasy series by prolific fantasy author P.C. Cast. Its 600-page length makes it best suited to strongly independent readers. There's a lot of fantasy violence, with blood frequently mentioned but very rarely described as spewing or spraying. Characters, including beloved companion dogs, are frequently in peril from scary fantasy creatures, mostly larger and more violent roaches and spiders, but also sometimes from rival societies wielding arrows and knives. Rape is mentioned a few times, and the victim's trauma is shown. There are a few kisses and some romance-novel-type hints at sex, such as slaking bodies' needs. Bare breasts are mentioned but not described, but with one or two mentions of attraction or arousal by a couple of men who've seen them. Strong language isn't frequent but adds up over 600 pages, including "f--k," "s--t," "tits," and "d--k." Ale at celebrations mentioned a few times, one man behaves drunkenly, and medicinal and other properties of poppy- and cannabis-based medicines and remedies are mentioned.
Is It Any Good?
Fantasy fans, especially dog lovers, will enjoy chewing on this meaty series debut from veteran author P.C. Cast. Teens who can handle the fantasy violence and strong language will get immersed in Moon Chosen's vast, unique, vivid, and richly imagined world populated with fascinating characters and societies. Mari and Nik are easy to root for as they face the challenges of emerging into adulthood at a time of great upheaval.
The first 100 pages or so are a bit overwrought, as though author Cast is trying too hard to manufacture emotional connections quickly and to establish an admittedly immense fantasy world. But hang in there, because as soon as Rigel makes his appearance, action, heartbreak, tragedy, and adventure keep the pages turning right up to the cliffhanger ending.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.