Book review · Fantasy · Short fiction

Review: The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo

TheFiveDaughterThe Five Daughters of the Moon is the first book in the fantasy duology The Waning Moon. The sequel, The Sisters of the Crescent Empress, will come out this fall.

I decided to pick it up because its setting – the Crescent Empire – is inspired by Imperial Russia and the Russian Revolution.

This novella follows five sisters: Alina (six), Merile (eleven), Sibilia (fifteen), Elise (sixteen) and Celestia (twenty-two), the daughters of the Crescent Empress and the Moon.
These are difficult years for the Crescent Empire. The unhappiness amongst the people – poor, fighting unnecessary battles – runs deep, but not everyone who claims to bring equality actually has their best interests at heart. Gagargi Prataslav is an ambitious man, and he might be more powerful than most people realize.

There are two chapters in the PoV of every sister, which was enough to develop all of them. My favorite was Alina, because she was the youngest and at the same time she was the one who saw the most – maybe too much. The other sisters think that Alina is haunted, that her mind is weak, but it’s more complicated than that. The political situation wasn’t explored in depth, but this is a novella and many of the PoV are under 15.

I really like reading books that are inspired by Russian history and folklore, and this was no exception. I loved the gaslamp aspects and the magic that is woven into the story. There are mechanical peacocks, lamps that are fueled by chicken souls, and machines that might require human souls to work – but that’s not something we should know. There is also an older, more mysterious kind of magic: the magic of witches, the magic of the moon.
The scene with the witch was my favorite in the novella.

I liked the writing. (English is not the author’s first language! And it isn’t mine, but I could never write a whole book in it…) That being said, I thought that the ending was rushed, and the novella felt more like a part of a book than something that could stand on its own.

My rating: ★★★½

Have you read The Five Daughters of the Moon? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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