A Creature of Moonlight
By Rebecca Hahn
Published 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Sometimes, a girl runs to the woods, never to be seen again. Now, the woods seem to be moving closer and closer to the castle. Can it somehow be Marni's fault? The king believes so, and he will do everything in his power to save his kingdom, no matter what sacrifice that might require.
I downloaded this galley because, hello, dragons! Quite honestly, the cover is lovely and the comparison to Seraphina caught my eye. Unfortunately, I found this book to be quite a let-down.
Much is made in the blurb of this being the story of a mysterious half-dragon girl and how her dragon father might be coming to claim her, causing all sorts of strange happenings in the woods. She is also the princess and must decide if she should fight for the kingdom that is rightfully hers. That is the story I was geared up to read.
I don't think Marni's story is actually that story. Yes, it has all those pieces - Marni is indeed the princess and, if she wanted, she could make a claim to the throne that her uncle inhabits. But she never really wants to, so this doesn't feel nearly as pressing as the blurb led me to believe. And yes, she is, in fact, half dragon, but whether or not her dragon father actually wants to claim her doesn't become clear until further in the book. I felt like the blurb attempted to create an air of mystery and suspense that the book just completely lacked. Nothing about the story's development felt urgent and I never really questioned what the ultimate outcome would be.
What I can give the book is its writing - but with a caveat. This book is indeed beautifully written - it's clear that Hahn has an enormous skill set at her disposal to craft this lyrical story. The caveat is this: I found it boring. Unlike other books that I find achingly beautifully written (see: everything by Laini Taylor and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater), I felt like, in this case, that beautiful prose was a distraction from a rather boring story. I don't think we ever got to know Marni in a real way and the promise of dragons was, in my opinion, completely false (he barely reads as a dragon once we finally meet him).
Ultimately, this book just did not work for me. Judging by the other reviews I've seen, I appear to be in the minority on this one, so take that as you will. Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.