The Crescent Stone (The Sunlit Lands Book 1)
A boy with a tragic past . . .
A land where the sun never sets but darkness still creeps in . . .
Madeline Oliver has never wanted for anything, but now she would give anything just to breathe. Jason Wu skates through life on jokes, but when a tragedy leaves him guilt-stricken, he promises to tell only the truth, no matter the price. When a mysterious stranger named Hanali appears to Madeline and offers to heal her in exchange for one year of service to his people, Madeline and Jason are swept into a strange land where they don’t know the rules and where their decisions carry consequences that reach farther than they could ever guess.
If she pledges to fight the Scim for the Elenil for a year she will be cured. Her chemistry partner, Jason brokers a deal to go with her and protect her in exchange for a unicorn and a pudding every day for the rest of his life.
Jason has vowed to always tell the truth, and any interaction with him is pure comedy. Madeline and Jason feel like things don’t quite add up in the Sunlit lands and the war with the Scim. What they uncover leads to hard decisions and the chance to help hundreds of years of injustice be corrected. What I thought was particularly different was the realization that they could make a sweeping change that would destroy the current inequalities, but many would die on both sides of the war and there would be much suffering. If they don’t change the hearts and minds of the culture that bred the disparity, then nothing may change for the better. Usually, in epic fantasies, there is some huge action by the hero and everything is great. This book explores what comes after the sweeping gesture, and how things may be worse for a long time to all those that are affected and haven’t been considered.
What Left Me Wanting More: This book was the first in a trilogy. The world-building was very rich and many interesting side characters are introduced. I hope in the sequels that their stories will be revealed more. The characters were left with many unresolved conflicts and it will be interesting to see if there is no huge sweeping action, what little actions might happen to make life better in the Sunlit Lands.
Final Verdict: For all the fans of Narnia and the Magicians this is a must-read. It has rich imagination used to explore institutionalized crime and poverty. There is much to think about in the disparities in wealth and privilege that extend beyond one magical world right into our own.