This young adult novel is Book One of The Cardonian Chronicles. LaFleur starts out the series with a bang. She sets up a terrifying situation wherein a husband and father, Barrett, must choose between trying to save his wife and endangering his teenage daughters, Raven and Violet, or bringing his children to safety and hoping for the best for his wife. Their world is being overrun by vengeful and horrifying spirits in a kind of social karma.
One thing threw me off in this book. Barrett could understand what animals were saying. He sent the sows piglets off to be slaughtered on a regular basis and “mourned with her.” If someone in power sent my children off on a regular basis to be murdered, we would not mourn together. Obviously, the pigs were completely sentient. Did the sow tell her piglets what was going to happen to them? I think she would behave very differently to Barrett after the first slaughter and so would all the other animals.
As different villages connect together behind a safe barrier, previous social classes are forgotten. People rise and fall in this new community based on ability and contribution. However, one man, gifted with the talent of persuasion, rises quickly in power and prestige. Raven and her new friends suspect something dangerous and secretive is happening.
The novel develops into one of intrigue and almost political suspense with a backdrop of never ending menace of the angry spirits.
It was a little difficult to differentiate between so many new characters but gradually I was able to sort them out. Many of them will continue into the next book. Raven, at times and unlikable character, stands out as the major catalyst for resistance. Moonlight is the second most formidable character, an adult with the skills of an assassin. There are important males as well but it is the women who lead the charge.
There is betrayal, courage, friendship and love, deviousness and honesty. The story builds in complexity and suspense but is not resolved. This is a cliffhanger series. In all likelihood, if you read the first one, you will want to read the next, Moonlight Hunting: The Cardonian Chronicles Book Two.
Kathrine LaFleur was interviewed on this blog September 7, 2016.
A copy of this book was generously donated by the author to my Little Free Library.