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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book Riff - Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo

I liked this book! It was quiet and different--the drama was all under the surface, and the narrative was told from the points of view of five sisters who don't talk to each other enough. Also, since it's based on the fall of the Czarist Empire, it's both inherently tragic and a setting I haven't seen a lot of books in. Then on top of that, there's a neat magic system that is creepy and cool, politics that are full of pathos without being overwhelming to the story, and it's visually very very gorgeous. It's just overall a neat book.

The official synopsis:
Inspired by the 1917 Russian revolution and the last months of the Romanov sisters, The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo is a beautifully crafted historical fantasy with elements of technology fueled by evil magic.The Crescent Empire teeters on the edge of a revolution, and the Five Daughters of the Moon are the ones to determine its future.
Alina, six, fears Gagargi Prataslav and his Great Thinking Machine. The gagargi claims that the machine can predict the future, but at a cost that no one seems to want to know.
Merile, eleven, cares only for her dogs, but she smells that something is afoul with the gagargi. By chance, she learns that the machine devours human souls for fuel, and yet no one believes her claim.
Sibilia, fifteen, has fallen in love for the first time in her life. She couldn't care less about the unrests spreading through the countryside. Or the rumors about the gagargi and his machine.
Elise, sixteen, follows the captain of her heart to orphanages and workhouses. But soon she realizes that the unhappiness amongst her people runs much deeper that anyone could have ever predicted.
And Celestia, twenty-two, who will be the empress one day. Lately, she's been drawn to the gagargi. But which one of them was the first to mention the idea of a coup?
And true fact: the kindle version, linked in the sample below, is being sold without DRM, so that's cool. 

There's two books in this series, with the second, The Sisters of the Crescent Empress, coming out in November, and I'm a little scared to read the next one. I know how sad the actual Romonov sisters' story is, and I don't want these five girls to end badly...but also I do want to read it because this book was like a creepy dream--pretty and strange and tragic and a little romantic. Romantic in the literary sense, since any romance in the genre sense is basically as tragic as the rest of the story.

I do wish there could have been more exploration of the world, though; it's a bit constrained by being from the points of view of the sisters, who are all sheltered and vaguely naive to various degrees, and once things get moving there's not a lot of time to look around. Still, there's plenty of beautiful, quiet moments they get to themselves, and it's like reading a movie with gorgeous cinematography, if that makes any sense. It's a very visual story.

- The sample is a super fancy affiliate link, so if you click and buy, I might get a few pennies for using my link!
- I read the physical book, as you can see in the picture at the top, but they don't embed the physical copies for whatever reason.

- Today's Change: Where would you set a book, if you were going to make a historical fantasy story about a timeframe not much used for fantasies?

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