I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Moonset by Scott Tracey
Published by Flux on 8th April 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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Justin Daggett, his trouble-making sister, and their three orphan-witch friends have gotten themselves kicked out of high school. Again. Now they’ve ended up in Carrow Mills, New York, the town where their parents—members of the terrorist witch organization known as Moonset—began their evil experiments with the dark arts one generation ago.
When the siblings are accused of unleashing black magic on the town, Justin fights to prove their innocence. But tracking down the true culprit leads him to a terrifying discovery about Moonset’s past . . . and its deadly future.
For Justin Dagget, the dark legacy of his parents has dominated his entire childhood. For me, the same thing happened. It seemed like the intrigue of Justin’s parents past was all Moonset had going for it.
The story began when Justin and his sibling Jenna were kicked out of their school and whisked away by Witchers Quinn and Meghan, only to narrowly escape a wraith. It seems an interesting enough beginning, but the scene was so cluttered with introductions of characters and concepts as well as fast-paced action, I lost interest in the muddle of events.
The writing was clunky, at the least. The phrase “it was like” was repeated a million times, followed by any mundane comparison you can think of. Seriously, fill in the blank and it was there. When it wasn’t ‘like’, it was still described in a simile. “His head rotated towards me, like a creepy dolls head.”
Um… Thanks for the description?
The dialogue was just as bad. The character’s interactions were usually attempted witty banter that just fell entirely flat. These one-dimensional conversations were part of the reason why the characters were so uninteresting, but another cause was Justin’s endless description of his relationship. There was just too much telling without showing real examples, other than the effort to highlight his brother Malcom’s vanity by having him constantly proclaim: “I’m going to the gym.”
It seems that the girls were the butt of nearly every joke in Moonset, from Ash who in Justin’s eyes is absolutely insane, (and in my eyes was just a manic pixie dreamgirl), to Jenna who was constantly berated for her interest in makeup and clothing, to Meghan Virago who was instantly labelled as a “massive beyotch”.
It seemed that in order to be exempt of blame in this novel, you had to be cool and helpful Quin, or Justin himself, who could do no wrong. He was always the mediator, teased and tormented by his siblings but still the most sensible. “The one who had to protect them,” as he puts it so valiantly. Needless to say, for the entire final conflict, Justin’s family who he claims time and time again to be a team is entirely paralyzed and unable to take part in the action, leaving him to do all the work.
Work which they probably didn’t desire a part in anyway, because there wasn’t much of it. Moonset’s plot can be described as sequences of obvious twists and easy solutions. In the entire novel, there wasn’t a single plot aspect that was revealed that I felt was a revelation worthy of the shock Justin constantly expressed.
So why did I keep reading? I’m kind of asking myself that now.
Like I said before, the one thing that Tracey did succeed in writing was an interesting and well grounded past of Sherrod Dagget and his followers. Each chapter opened with a quote from a historian or reporter about the terrors of Moonset, and I found myself pulled along by these tidbits like Gretel down the path to the witches house, lured by candy.
The magic in this book is equally interesting, but there was so much going on that the world Tracey had built just fell about all over the place. There was so much info-dumping and different aspects of a greater plot going on that it was difficult to read with a focus. From start to finish, Tracey wrote new rules that slightly shifted and bended the world in which Moonset took place, so that nothing seemed concrete, and every reveal was more of a cheap trick than something truly dazzling.
There is no question that there is enough material in Moonset to warrant a sequel, or even several, but although this kept me interested enough to soldier on through the first book, I doubt I could force myself to read a second, no matter how intriguing the premise was.
ARC was acquired via NetGalley. Thank you!