The Moonlight Blade

The Moonlight Blade
Age Range
Release Date
March 21, 2023
Buy This Book
I promised my mother I would never come to Bato-Ko…and yet here I am.

Narra Jal is one of the cursed, cast aside her whole life, considered unlucky. But with her mother’s life on the line, she will return to the city where she was born to face the trials: a grueling, bloodthirsty series of challenges designed to weed out the weak, the greedy, and the foolish. Trials to select the next ruler of Tigang.

Narra has nothing. No weapons. No training. No magic. No real chance of leaving with her life. Just her fierce grit and a refusal to accept the destiny she’s been handed. Even the intense, dark-eyed Guardian she feels a strangely electric connection with cannot help her. Narra is on her own. But she’ll show everyone what the unlucky can do.

Let the bloodbath begin.

Editor review

1 review
intriguing YA fantasy
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
THE MOONLIGHT BLADE is an intriguing YA fantasy about a cursed young woman and her quest to save her mother. Narra Jal has been a pariah her whole life due to some birth marks on her neck that mark her as cursed. Since everyone who sees them believes she is bad luck, her mother has tried to keep her out of the public eye. Since her mother was arrested, her sister has been taking care of them both, along with a greedy neighbor. However, Narra is not willing to allow her mother to face a terrible sentencing for an unknown crime, and she sees a chance to save her by entering Sundo, a series of trials designed to select the next ruler.

The trials themselves are grueling and deadly, but if she wins, she will prove to herself who she is- as well as having a chance at saving her mother. Unable to enter herself due to her age, she uses her sister's blood and name. Once there, she finds herself faced with Teloh, who immediately seems to dislike her. However, she has memories of Teloh that begin to flash through her mind as visions- perhaps from a past life. As she tries to survive the trials, she also tries to discern the secrets being hidden and the truth of her own past.

What I loved: The premise of this was really intriguing with some mythology and reincarnation stories. Other themes around cultural significance and disparate interpretations of congenital differences, the weight of truth and past decisions, the power of choice, betrayal, friendship, and family were also really thought-provoking throughout. Narra has faced some hardships due to her birthmarks, but this has also formed her into who she is and how she views the world.

The trials themselves are interesting, fashioned to weed out contestants based on various characteristics, as they define a strong ruler. They become increasingly deadly with untrustworthy politicians pulling the strings. The corruption amongst them is something that becomes clearer as the Sundo continues. The ending was quite satisfying and made this a great stand-alone. It will work well for readers who appreciate a contained and completed story.

The relationship between Narra and Teloh really drives the plot in that her visions/memories create a lot of mystery that wonder at who they were to each other and what lessons they need to learn. Their chemistry is really strong and created some really intense and emotional scenes as they continue to collide.

What left me wanting more: The beginning of the story felt quite winding before it focuses in, and there are many characters to remember, particularly amongst contestants, that take readers out of the story as they try to recall who is who. It felt a bit unfocused until it got closer to the end when it really focuses in on the key storylines. The past was glanced over and often told versus described, which also left the world-building feeling not as strong as it could be. The mythology would have been helpful to understand on a deeper level, particularly as it comes into play heavily later in the story.

Final verdict: THE MOONLIGHT BLADE is an intriguing YA fantasy stand-alone that will work well for readers who enjoy deadly contests, destined relationships, and twists along the way.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account