________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV . . . . August 31, 2007

cover

Shadow of the Moon.

Marina Cohen.
St. Catharines, ON: Vanwell, 2007.
224 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-55125-126-4.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Daphne Hamilton-Nagorsen.

*** ½ /4

excerpt:

Stella arrived at the edge of the clearing just as the moon slipped over the remainder of the sun. She pushed through the thick wall of cedar. As Drake entered the hollow, warmth consumed him. The ground tingled through the rubber soles of his boots. He moved toward the center of the circle of trees and looked up at the sky. A string of white pearls, each bead as dazzling as the brightest star, appeared directly above him. It was the most incredible thing he’d ever seen. Then his eyes fell on the outer edge of the clearing and his expression darkened. Shadowbands had leaked through the cedar hedge and now surrounded the perimeter. They moved inward slithering toward the trio hissing and smacking. Their foul odor was everywhere. A brilliant ring appeared above him. As Drake watched through his Sherman Shields, the diamond above faded to crimson and then disappeared altogether. A crash of thunder split the silence. A searing rush of wind ripped Drake’s feet from the ground and sucked him upward. His head felt thin and tubular and it was as though he’d left his legs back on the ground. Lights swirled around him like a cyclone of fireworks. Spinning. Swirling.

 

Stella and Drake Livingstone and their next-door neighbour, Sherman Glutz, have been chosen to save the world from darkness. Umbra, The Shadowmaster, has imprisoned Aura, The Source of Eternal Light, and, unless Aura is rescued, darkness will fall permanently across our world and others. Stella, Drake and Sherman learn of this from Miss Parks, their substitute teacher who turns out to be the Keeper of the Earthly Light. They must travel through the last light of a solar eclipse to the world of The Halfstone, which has been divided in half between Aura and Umbra. There, they and their allies from the Bright Side must travel through the Blacklands to find Aura and save her from Umbra and his dark creatures.

     Shadow of the Moon was an excellent book. The pace of the story is quite fast and almost seems too fast at the beginning but still gives readers all the necessary information and background that they need. The setting is split relatively evenly between our world and the world of The Halfstone. This is excellent because the book rests very heavily on the central characters, and this structure gives readers a chance to get to know the characters before they end up in The Halfstone.

     The central human characters are 12 and definitely acted like 12-year-olds. They do not agree on everything, especially Stella and Drake. Drake resents his twin sister because she is the smart one. Sherman has his own issues, including a lack of friends at the beginning. Stella is the initial leader of the group and did wear a bit thin in this role as she came across as the ultimate perfectionist know-it-all. However, as the story progresses, the roles within the group change according to the situation, and Stella loses this aspect of her character. All three characters develop and change as the story progresses.

     Marina Cohen’s writing flows wonderfully, with great use of language. With very few words, she is able to convey the Shadowbands as dangerous, describe the creatures of Halfstone and settings and move the story along. The settings are all spectacular and well thought out and appear vividly in the story. Readers can easily picture the settings and the creatures in their own minds as the story progresses. Some of the characters, such as the Seers, are quite startling and unexpected, which adds immensely to the story. The story, itself, flows well, moving between the three human characters, as well as Umbra and Aura. The ending is not completely what one would expect and shows the strength of Marina Cohen’s writing.

     Cohen has created a wonderful story, with great characters, settings and plot that older children will enjoy.

Highly Recommended.

Daphne Hamilton-Nagorsen is a student in the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at UBC, Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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