Disney-Hyperion, October 2015
Essie’s as content as one can be, living on a harsh world, earning money in cage fights to buy more parts for her drones which are far superior to any built by others. They not only keep her company, but fix the dumber ones that are used in the mines which are why the planet, Thanda, is colonized. She’s hiding from pretty much everyone, but also from herself and who she was nine years ago when her mother was killed and she barely escaped with her own life from the ruling planet, one of four in the small solar system.
When a mysterious young man named Dane crashes his vessel not far from her home, she and a couple of her drones are first to reach the site and pull him free. She’s intrigued when he asks her to help him repair the ship, even though she’s suspicious of his story that he’s landed on Thanda to seek the most valuable treasure in the system. During the repair process, she starts experiencing feelings that are both frightening and exciting as she begins to thaw emotionally and realize that she just might like him.
When he kidnaps her and she realizes he knows she’s the missing Princess Snow, things are set in motion that take them on dual journeys, one emotional, the other physical, as she begins to understand that Dane has lost as much as she has and that together, they might be able to fix the horrible mess that has become the hostility between the two factions they represent. Neither journey is easy or smooth, but reading about how Dane and Essie navigate uncharted emotional and spatial territory is extremely satisfying.
Teens who like a love story that has lots of action and intrigue mixed in will really enjoy this book.
Reviewed by John R. Clark, MLIS, October 2015.
The Moondust Sonatas
Movement No. 1: A Hunter’s Moon
Smoke & Shadow Books/Cleveland Writers Press, December 2015
Moondust, a new drug to hit the streets, has set the drug culture of New York City on edge.
Not only because it’s free, or that you “take” it by dropping a small amount of the gray powder in your eye, but that you can see God and experience different lives while on it.
When Maxwell, a budding journalist, is given a sample of the drug and hears of its effects, he’s impressed and takes a sample to Peter, a chemist friend, for analysis. Peter can’t break the drug down or even accurately weigh it and declares it an impossible substance, ergo it can’t be illegal because it doesn’t exist.
Popular Brooklyn DJ Percival tries it, along with a cocktail of other drugs, and wakes to realize he’s been given the formula for making moondust…a substance that isn’t illegal, can’t be traced, is cheap and easy to make and allows the user to experience the divine. He quietly sells and gives it away to artist friends and acquaintances, until a group of drug dealers catch wind of it and begins to muscle in.
Percival decides his only choice is to go public about the drug and recruits Maxell, who believes this will become a world-wide phenomenon, a story that will make his fortune.
Told in first-person snippets from the point of view of some 25 characters, the story winds through groups of interrelated friends, all of whom experience revelations while under the influence.
Moondust Sonatas is an interesting story of the search for universal consciousness and understanding of the cosmos.
Reviewed by Michele Drier, February 2016.
Author of Delta for Death and SNAP: All That Jazz.