First book in The Legacy of Moonset series
By Scott Tracey
Available now from Flux (Llewellyn)
I like Scott Tracey's WITCH EYES, so I wanted to read the start of his new series. It is chock full of things I love like small towns with secrets, people with secrets, a closely bound found family, black magic, and a protagonist who has a lot to learn. (That applies to both his magic skills and talking to girls.) As soon as I finished this book, I had to express my happiness with it on Tumblr. I don't do that for every book.
Each chapter begins with a short quote revealing more of the history of Moonset. The Moonset coven was talented and respected until one day they turned to terrorism. All that is left of them now is five children and rumors of member Cullen Bridger's survival. Those five children - Justin, Jenna, Malcolm, Cole, and Bailey - are bound together. They literally cannot separate. They travel together across the country, moved from school to school when they reveal their powers and risk exposure. It happens pretty often since Jenna likes to act out. After all, they're left untrained and discriminated against because of something that happened when they were babies. Things change when the kids are sent to Carrow Mill. Unlike other places they've lived, many of the residents are witches themselves. And there are even more sore feelings because Carrow Mill is where Moonset started.
Now, MOONSET is not a perfect novel. There may be five siblings but the book is all about Justin. It's about his growth as a leader and growing disillusionment with the witches in power. I'm fine with the book having focus and not being overstuffed, but it doesn't give the siblings much of a chance to show how important to each other they are. Cole in particular drops out of the story quite often. It's a bit more tell than show. And given that part of the mystery of Moonset has to do with how the coven's history is perceived, it would be nice to see the siblings' perception of the various reveals throughout the novel. But this is the start of a series, so perhaps subsequent books will focus more on Jenna, Malcolm, Cole, and Bailey.
There is more development given to Ash, the one and only love interest. She starts off very typical - the assertive, quirky girl to Justin's socially awkward boy. But by the end of MOONSET I liked the relationship. They go on several dates, and I always love when the romance plotline shows the characters getting to know each other, and they also reassess each other as they learn more. Some of the revelations about Ash are obvious, but she still ended up being more than she seemed in her introduction.
What really drives MOONSET is the plot rather than the characters. There's a warlock lose in Carrow Mill and he (or she) is probably after Moonset 2.0. Then there's the mystery of just why the original Moonset went bad. If Justin can figure out what happened, maybe he can prevent it from happening again. (Because of course, even though they try not to believe it, the siblings have spent their lives absorbing that their guardians thing they're inherently evil.) Yet he tends to discover more questions than answers. There is definitely a lot to uncover as the series unfolds.
Basically, I found MOONSET to be a really fun read. I was excited to read the next book when I finished, no matter that it won't be out for a year. I liked Justin quite a bit and would like to spend more time reading about him (and his siblings) doing things. I want to unravel the secrets of Moonset. Tracey pulled off a few real surprising revelations, so I think he continue to pull off a plot-driven series. Paranormal fans looking for something without vampires or love triangles should enjoy MOONSET.