Black Moon (Paige Tailor Series #1) by Jessica McQuay
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: October 2012 by Cambridge Press
"Am I losing my mind?"
Paige couldn't help but question her sanity. What other explanation could there be for her hearing a conversation held barely above a whisper in the back of a classroom full of students? What about coming home to find one of those very classmates lying in wait in the darkness of her home, ready to attack her?
Confused, frustrated and feeling every ounce of her social ostracism, Paige confides in the one person she's always been able to count on: her mom. But when her mom reveals a deeply rooted, unbelievable family secret, Paige discovers her world is filled with more than she ever imagined possible. A world where fairytales live alongside nightmares and secrets are the glue that binds them together. Suddenly no one is who they seem and Paige is faced with more questions than answers. Can she survive in a world filled with creatures scarier than anything she could imagine and where deceit runs as thick as blood? Or will the truth send her over the edge?
I read this book as part of a read and review and I received an ARC copy of the book. The book is a bit slow starting as Paige learns about who (or better yet what) she is, her roots, and her powers. For the most part I enjoyed it. It was nice to join Paige in her journey to learn about herself. Every time Paige thinks she's learned the whole truth, another twist in her family history comes to light. I greatly felt Paige's pain and confusion as her world is turned upside down and the person she trusted the most, her mother, reveals lie after lie (even though they're more lies of omission than anything else).
My feelings towards Paige as a character are kind of bitter sweet. Sometimes I was with her and felt for her, but other times, particularly when she was sarcastic or uncontrollably angry, I just wanted to shake her. She is a strong character, especially towards the end, but her age, immaturity, and social awkwardness shine through quite a bit. She doesn't seem to have any friends at all, not even acquaintances. And she reminds us over and over how she is uncomfortable in social situations and that she isn't the most athletic person. It really makes me wonder how she's gotten this far in life. Not everyone is a socialite, this is very true. However, I've read only a handful novels where the protagonist lacks any companionship. It must be so lonely for Paige to be going through all of these changes and new discoveries without anyone to talk to about it. Well, until she meets Naialah, that is.
One question I have is how come in these YA novels are children allowed to miss school abruptly and sometimes for long periods, and yet still move on to the next grade? This isn't particular to this one novel; I've seen this in quite a few. In this novel there is at least one consequence to Paige's absence to go to her mother's childhood home, but she was still able to graduate even though I believe she was gone for weeks. I don't think it’s as simple as that in real life. Just saying.
I did have one major problem with this novel and it's a stylistic one. I know some people like a lot of details and I am not totally against it myself (I just speed read through when it gets to be too much). I am a firm believer, however, that there is such a thing as too much detail, especially when it leads to redundancy.
I won't even touch the factor that every little thing that the characters do is described when I feel that at times it could have been expressed in a simpler fashion. For example:
"I grabbed the mouse and double clicked on the internet icon and waited as it loaded onto the screen. I clicked Google and typed in 'Faeries' as the search string."
I feel this is too detailed. It could have been stated much more simply because these are steps that everyone knows. However, this is my personal preference, everyone's style is different. Plus, this was an ARC copy, so maybe this was fixed before publication.
My problem has to do with the instances where Paige expresses her thoughts to us and then says the exact same thing verbatim in the next paragraph. Or at one point where Paige explains to her mother everything that happened one afternoon and we get a whole monologue of information we already know.
"I told her about trying to make the grass and flowers around me grow and failing and how stupid the whole thing made me feel. The in the middle of my lame attempt at magic, hearing Rachel approach through her thoughts...And how I ran away when I heard the thoughts of the rest of her little entourage, and left her stuck there."
All this information would have been fine, except we just went through the whole thing with her. I feel a simple "I told her everything that happened this afternoon..." would've sufficed.
Also, many times there are long, speech-like dialogues from characters that sometime either say the same thing several ways or are just too wordy. Sometimes less is more powerful.
I also wonder about the cover. It's nice and all, but I'm not sure if it fits in with the story. Is it a foreshadowing to all the family secrets that are to be revealed?
For those who like action, there is some, but it doesn't come until the last fourth of the book. McQuay does do a good job of making it worth the wait.
For those romantics out there, sorry, there isn't a guy that catches Paige's eye. Actually, it's a little unclear whether Paige is interested in guys at all. There are hints towards the end, but nothing concrete. I guess Paige is learning about herself all the way around.
For a first novel, this novel is pretty good. The plot is good, with a lot of buildup and a great climax. Paige is a decent protagonist, but there are instances where she gets a bit annoying. She does gain strength by the end. Stylistically, it was a bit too detailed and wordy for me at times, but if that doesn't bother you, then I definitely recommend it. I would like to read the next book in the series when it comes out because there are still questions that I hope McQuay will answer.