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As the Moon Phases

“Throwing the covers off I finally get out of bed and look at my neck in the mirror. Same as each time face still splotchy and fingerprints showing around my neck…I take a picture of myself and then date it once it develops. I open up my bottom desk drawer and use the fingernail file on my desk to pry off the faulty bottom. Below it are about fifty other polaroids with dates leading back to the first incident…” (As the Moon Phases, Chapter One)

“‘See in New Orleans there are many superstitions. The Hamsa is known to ward off evil and the moon phases are very symbolic. You know our world and others are controlled by the moon…Oh yes, we, here in New Orleans, believe in many things. Vampires, werewolves, spirits, witches and demons many living in different worlds, but on certain moon phases they are able to travel to our world and play, in a not so friendly way.’” (As the Moon Phases, Chapter Three)

Rowan has been awoken at three in the morning once a month for the past five years, always gasping for breath and left with strangulation marks on her throat. Her mother never believed that her daughter was being haunted by an unseen specter, choosing to move her family around the country instead of dealing with the problem. Now in New Orleans, Rowan is hopeful that she will make new friends in her final year of high school. She meets a nice guy named Carrick on her first day of school, who explains the superstition and lore that surround New Orleans and introduces her to his friend group.

Rowan quickly makes new friends and gets part time jobs.  At a voodoo shop, the owner knows Rowan’s name, birthday, and “destiny”. She calls her a child of the moon and promises to train her in the ways of magic. Rowan feels an intense connection with Declan, though she cannot explain the electric spark that seems to course through her body when they touch.  Declan makes fun of Rowan for believing in voodoo and Quinn warns Declan was hurt in the past by the “supernatural” and his old friend Darcy.

Rowan learns that she is descended from a powerful protector and the monthly attacks on her have come from an evil source wishing to destroy her potential power. As Rowan learns more about her abilities, she will work to protect the innocent while making loyal allies and dangerous enemies.

I liked that this novel has several interesting twists on the paranormal and supernatural. Rowan’s destined to be a great protector, but she will need to learn and train before she can do real battle with evil. She does not automatically understand everything that is happening to her, but she wants to learn why she has been attacked for years, making her a good student of magic.

Rowan’s powers come from an inherent ability, making me wonder about the origins of her new friends. Declan clearly has an aversion to the magical arts, making me wonder if he himself is skilled in voodoo or some other craft. Perhaps he grew up surrounded by magic before tragedy struck, making him scared of his own abilities. Darcy immediately identifies Rowan as a magic user, though the reader does not immediately know if he has any skills or powers himself. Though Rowans abilities are revealed fairly quickly, the reader will want to explore the backstories of her new friends, perhaps unearthing some more magical secrets.

Rowan’s magical experiences give her sudden understanding of her heritage and magical ability more credibility. Her quick acceptance of her magical abilities would appear odd if she had not been choked by a mysterious entity in the night for the last five years. Though a terrible experience, these painful moments have helped her understand that there is something different about. Had she had no inclination of the supernatural in her life, her ready acceptance would have seemed odd. I liked that Rowan has a background, however traumatic, with the strange and paranormal before she is exposed to her own magic.

New Orleans was the perfect setting for this novel; magic and mystery seem to seep from every crack and corner within the city. Rowan has moved around a great deal in her childhood, allowing her to adapt to new surroundings and settings with relative ease. While As the Moon Phases could have been set anywhere, the city of New Orleans creates an extra layer of magic, mystery, and superstition.

The most unrealistic part of a novel filled with magic and voodoo was Rowan’s high school experience. After her first day of school, she is immediately accepted into a tight knit friend group that is eager to help her. Honestly, this was really sweet, even if it was a little farfetched. What was much odder was the fact that Rowan only has to be in school for two hours a day because she has only two more credits necessary for graduation. How did someone constantly moving from place to place manage to get so far ahead in school when she should really be far behind her other classmates? I will say that this plot point allows Rowan to work two part time jobs, introducing her to the voodoo shop. These are really small points, but they definitely color and influence the story.

Overall this is a good story of magic, fantasy, and romance. As the Moon Rises combines quality lore with good story telling and characters, making a unique story that is as entertaining as it is fun. This novel sets up a classic paranormal love triangle, but gives the female protagonist some amazing powers along with potential love interests.