Two Dark Moons
Molewhale Press (2019)
Reviewed by Amy (age 15) for Reader Views Kids (1/2020)
“Two Dark Moons” is an exciting fantasy for the teen and YA crowd by Avi Silver. I was happy to learn it’s the first in a series because once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down.
Imagine being stuck in a world rigid in rituals – a place where being different means you’re an outcast and individuality is discouraged. That’s what life is like for Sohmeng Par. A trouble-maker since birth, Sohmeng Par is outspoken and wild. She’s also trapped in childhood because some stupid coming-of-age ritual is destroyed as the result of a tragedy in her community. When she is finally given a chance by the elders to prove she is worthy of entering into adulthood, Sohmeng Par has an accident that plunges her into the depths of a jungle well below her safe-if-not-ho-hum world. Full of strange creatures, an even stranger human, and a deadly but beautiful rainforest called Eiji, Sohmeng Par has a new chance to be all she knows she can be. But Sohmeng Par also has a secret. Will she embrace change or rely on her old ways? Will her secret destroy her new chance to succeed?
I love this story. It’s all about growing up, becoming your own person, finding your identity, respecting the environment, questioning the status quo and pushing beyond the boundaries of things that don’t serve you – all weaved into an animated, mysterious, magical fantasy world.
Sohmeng Par is a likeable, relatable character with her teenage ways of rebelling and pushing back combined with a touch of insecurity as she explores all that comes with growing up. She’s strong-willed and hard-headed and you just want to like her because she’s dealt with some over-the-top challenges. Hei is the gender-neutral human Sohmeng Par first encounters. It is Hei who saves Sohmeng Par by claiming her as their mate when she first lands in Eiji. It was fun to watch Sohmeng Par and Hei become closer to each other and even though they butt heads a lot, they truly come to mean the world to each other. As they discover, they have a lot more in common than they think.
I think my favorite part is when Sohmeng Par questions who she truly is. From page 149, “Having spoken it aloud, she felt suddenly torn from a part of her identity, without any way of understanding what truths of her remained.” Hei directly yet gently encourages her to consider ideas beyond the scope of the acceptable norms.
“Two Dark Moons” is a YA fantasy I can highly recommend to teens and young adults, but the audience is not limited to those groups. It’s a well-written story with a hefty, engaging plot, current issues and relevant characters that will arouse your curiosity and pull you into their worlds. All I can say is enjoy the journey. I can’t wait to read more about Sohmeng and Hei’s adventures!