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Success Stories

by Simone Maroney


ISBN 1 933157 04 6
Draumr Publishing, 2005
367p, e-book
Retail price $6.50 (paperback, $18.95)

Open Book

Review by Deborah Fisher

Simone Maroney’s new novel, Moonchild, has the kind of prologue we’ve all read – and many of us have written – and it was perhaps only from seeing it on the screen of my PC, rather than on the page, that it dawned on me what a cliché it’s becoming. That’s not to invalidate it as a method of opening, or to say that Simone Maroney doesn’t do it well. It’s a device intended to whet the reader’s appetite, and sometimes to confuse or disorientate, so that you really aren’t sure what is coming next.

Fantasy fiction isn’t my preferred genre, but as the genre goes, this is well-written. The somewhat stylized dialogue is believable, and the descriptive passages attractive. Hanna, the main character, is an appealing tomboyish waif, whose widowed father, Hiam, condemns them both to exile from their community by his actions. Naturally, as if you couldn’t guess from the title, there is something special about Hanna. She is chosen, destined, as so many heroes and heroines of fantasy fiction are, to guide her people out of trouble. To achieve her destiny, she needs the help of the Blessed Mother, a mysterious quasi-religious figure.

Other characters in the book are equally vividly drawn: Hanna’s father Hiam with his strong principles, the enigmatic Janna and the demented Raer, the rebellious Jio and the timorous Manon, strong-willed Teliana and her wise grandfather Teliano. I admit that there were times when I found all the weird names somewhat confusing, which is a shame given the time it must have taken Ms Maroney to think of them. That’s not to mention the family relationships that play an integral role in the plot.

This is a complex story, rich in symbolism. Soon Hanna begins to learn how she will fulfil the purpose for which she was born, but first she must learn to face conflict and adversity as she travels through strange and hostile places in search of her journey’s end. She and her father are constantly on the run from the "Renunciates", whose main goal in life seems to be to stop other people having a good time, and they become separated. Hanna’s encounter with Vi threatens another kind of captivity, but she overcomes all obstacles to be reunited with her father. The epilogue reveals that all is not as it seems. Dark forces remain unconquered, and there is the promise of further episodes in the saga.

I really wish that I could get excited about this kind of story, but I’m afraid it isn’t for me, which is probably why it took me so long to finish reading it. If you do like fantasy and mysticism, however, I predict you will quickly find yourself spellbound by this glimpse of another world.