Draw Down the Moon

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4.2 (2)
 
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Draw Down the Moon
Age Range
12+
Release Date
April 02, 2024
ISBN
978-1250865168
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New York Times bestsellers P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast return with Draw Down the Moon, the first book in a new duology set in a dark and magickal world filled with incredible danger and irresistible romance.

A mystical school. A mysterious death. A magickal romance.

Wren Nightingale isn’t supposed to have any elemental powers. Born of magickal parents but not under one of the four fated astrological full moons, she is destined for life as a Mundane―right up until she starts glowing on her eighteenth birthday. In a heartbeat, Wren’s life is turned upside down, and she’s suddenly leaving her home for the mystical Academia de la Luna―a secret magickal school on a hidden island off the Seattle coast.

Lee Young has always known about his future at the academy. He has three goals: pass the trials, impress the Moon Council, and uphold his family’s reputation. But he wasn’t expecting to be attending alongside the girl he’s been secretly in love with for as long as he can remember.

As Wren and Lee are thrown into the academy’s grueling trials, they quickly learn there’s something different―and dangerous―about the school this year. Wren will have to navigate a web of secrets, prophecies . . . and murder. And Lee will have to decide what to protect: his family’s legacy, or the girl he loves.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
engaging YA fantasy
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
DRAW DOWN THE MOON is a consuming YA fantasy. Wren has always known that magick exists; her parents were Moonstruck, and thus, they had magic. However, she was not born under a moon sign, and thus, she is Mundane - or so she thought. On the night of her eighteenth birthday, while creating mischief with her BFF (and crush) Lee, something happens - and it turns out that Wren may have magick afterall.

All Moonstruck must attend a school for magick when they are 18. This Academia de la Luna is the place where they learn to hone their power. Wren must unexpectedly now attend alongside Lee and her other BFF, Sam. Once they arrive at the secretive isle guarded by elemental spirits, Wren has questions about her newfound powers that no one seems able or willing to answer. When the school becomes more and more dangerous, the questions Wren is asking could have enormous consequences, not just for her but for their community as well.

What I loved: This was such a consuming and fun fantasy with a boarding school, loads of intrigue, secret old books, suspicious deaths, and plenty of magick. Fans of these elements will be delighted to step into Wren and Lee's story. The book is told from both of their alternating perspectives, and while they often work together, their experiences, owing to different family circumstances, are disparate and show more of the community, its leadership, and the ever-present danger.

Wren and Lee were both really compelling characters. Wren has a lot to prove to herself, and she is struggling to understand this world and how she fits in it - a sentiment that many teens will find resonates. Her strong friendships and critical eye delve deeper into the mythology and broader elements of this intriguing world. Lee comes from a well-known magickal family, although he was not the chosen child. That was his sister, who died a couple years early at this Academia de la Luna. He is bearing the weight of parental expectations and disappointments as well as his grief over the loss of his sister. Together, they have strong friends-to-lovers vibes that grow and change as they do.

Themes around power and politics, fate and choice, fighting the status quo, grief and loss, betrayal, and friendship were all really strong and will speak to a YA audience. As a warning, there is a main character death. While nothing is terribly gruesome/described in detail, there are deaths in the story that may make this more appropriate for somewhat older YA audiences. The writing style and strong world-building will lend itself to broader YA readers, including younger ones though the main characters are all 18.

Final verdict: DRAW DOWN THE MOON is a consuming and engaging YA fantasy that I highly recommend for readers who love magic, boarding schools, and a touch of romance.
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YA On the Younger Side
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Look at that stunning cover.

Draw Down the Moon by P.C. Cast is a YA fantasy novel set in a world that is oddly similar to the likes of Harry Potter. Wren Nightingale isn't supposed to have any powers. Born of magickal parents but not under a moon sign, she was destined for life as a Mundane—right up until she starts glowing on her eighteenth birthday. In a heartbeat, Wren's life is turned upside down, and she's suddenly leaving her home for the mystical Academia de la Luna—a secret magickal school on a hidden island off the Seattle coast. Lee Young has always known about his future at the Academia. He has one goal: pass the trials, impress the Moon Council, and uphold his family's reputation. But he wasn't expecting to be attending alongside the girl he's been secretly in love with for as long as he can remember. As Wren and Lee are thrown into the Academie's gruelling trials, they quickly learn there's something different--and dangerous--about the school this year. Wren will have to navigate a web of secrets, prophecies--and murder. And Lee will have to decide who to protect--his family's legacy, or the girl he loves.

What I loved about this book was how it was the perfect first book. It introduced the reader to both a familiar world and a new one. Without completely info-dumping and drowning the reader in fantasy nonsense. Cast did a really good job in balancing the familiar with enigmatic. While also creating a world that draws on the reader's nostalgia for other magical school reads.

The concept of this book was really cool, but the execution was a little lack luster. And I mostly blame it on the writing style. P.C. Cast's style is simple and creates an easy to follow narrative. But it's nothing special, when compared to other books being published nowadays. Honestly, this book kind of read like just another book of the 2000's that was trying to ride the hype train following the final publication of Harry Potter. While also trying to appeal to a younger audience, despite it being called a 'young adult' novel.

Overall, this was an interesting read. But I probably won't be picking up the second one. I get authors want to appeal more to the younger side of the YA genre, but sometimes it's easier and will do more good in the end just to stick to the basics.
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