Ebook: Kindle Edition 297 pages. ( Also now available in paperback)
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Publisher: Gibbering Gnome Press 2011
Source: The author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
First Sentence: 'Ebb Autumn stood tall and slender in his coat of many pockets..'
A Favourite Quote: ‘ as you grow older, you’ll discover a curious thing about the truth it plays by its own rules. It cares not one whit about your or anyone else’s beliefs. The truth just is. There is no stopping or changing it. Further, I would counsel you to prepare yourselves, as the truth can be quite far removed from one’s expectations.’
My Opinion: Magical and Adventurous
Note: Since reading and writing this review I am delighted to report that Richard Due has kindly sent me an autographed paperback edition of 'The Moon Coin' The paperback edition is lovely to have as this book has beautiful illustrations. I will treasure my copy. You can order yours direct from the author, publisher, or read on an eReader.
Awards : Update October 2012 - Gold Medal Winner - http://www.moonbeamawards.com/about.php
I do not usually read or review books intended for children or from the fantasy genre, but I made an exception for this one when the author approached me as it sounded intriguing and it is illustrated. In fact the illustrations by Carolyn Arcabascio are absolutely beautiful even viewed on the Kindle, I guess this is a taste of how story book reading aloud to children of future generations may well be. With no children or grandchildren to test my theories on I think that this illustrated fantasy will apeal to anyone who enjoyed series such as Harry Potter and The Narnia Chronicles. Richard Due has a captivating style of writing and the two central characters of the tale seem very realistic.
This book is now available in paperback I think it may well be even more successful in this format.
I am using the authors own press release instead of trying to précis the story myself as he does a far better job than I would be able to:-
Gibbering Gnome Press Presents a Tale of Epic Fantasy
For Lily and Jasper Winter, the Moon Realm began with a single secret bedtime tale. As the children grew older, Uncle Ebb enthralled them with thrilling tales of the Dragondain riding horse-sized, catlike Rinn; mysterious tales of peerin-wielding lunamancers manipulating the magic that lies just beneath the surface of reality; exciting tales of flying dragons, swimming merfolk, stomping giants, and troublesome faeries. But as the magic of their childhood faded, so too did the tales. Eventually, they were just . . . good stories.
Or were they?
Now, nine years after it all began, Uncle Ebb is missing.
Lily and Jasper search for clues, but their uncle's mansion is full of distractions. A Tesla generator thrums in the basement. Prismatic electrimals flit around walls resembling underwater reefs. Then a most unexpected friend comes to their aid, leading them to a hidden room where they find a mysterious coin—the moon coin. Before the night is out, Lily is transported to the real Moon Realm. But the moons are in trouble. The Rinn of Barreth are under siege, and the lunamancers of Dain are beset by the very dragons they once loved. Most horrifying of all, the moon Darwyth has fallen to a villain named Wrengfoul, whose creeping evil now threatens to overshadow all the Realm.
Are Lily and Jasper too late to save the Moon Realm, or will they have enough time to write an ending of their own?
Featuring twenty-two stunning full-color illustrations by Carolyn Arcabascio. Volume One of the young adult fantasy adventure series The Moon Realm.
So what do I personally think?
A beautiful story from this début author that even I who readily admits that fantasy is far from my favourite genre has to say that I liked it, possibly because of the authors talent in the way he tells the story. Lily and Jasper have an Uncle like no other in Uncle Ebb and they have grown up enthralled by his truly amazing bedtime stories. When he disappears for longer than normal it seems natural that they should be concerned about this. Whilst they are searching for clues as to his whereabouts the reader is whisked off to The Moon Realm and the land of fantasies. I am too much of a realist as an adult to fully let myself go but I do appreciate that this sort of fantasy is good for children, there is plenty of time to discover the real world as an adult. In conclusion I think this is a magical and adventurous fantasy that will appeal to fans of this genre from all age groups and I wish the author every success with the series.
Do take three minutes to watch this delightful video made by the authors daughter.
Uploaded by TheMoonRealm on
Richard Due was born on April 2nd 1964 in Baltimore, U.S.A. He first imagined the Moon Realm while telling bedtime tales to his children. He now lives in Southern Maryland, where he and his wife have owned and operated Second Looks Books since 1991. The Moon Coin is the first novel in the Moon Realm series. Visit for The Moon Realm for more information.
I felt the illustrator Carolyn Arcabascio also deserved a mention so I have included a Profile and an interview with her kindly provided by Richard Due.
Carolyn hails from Massachusetts, where she lives and works as an illustrator. At any given time you'll find her reading/writing/doodling - a result of her lifelong fascination with words, images, and the magical places where they meet.
From Sketch to Chapter Art, an Illustrator at Work Interview with Richard Due.
For me, getting to work with Carolyn Arcabascio was a dream come true. On The Moon Coin, we worked from a master list of scene options, with Carolyn picking out scenes she liked and making sketches. For the prologue, Carolyn drafted three options. All three were great, but two in particular were spectacular. I first went with option 3 (one of my scene suggestions). I think we spent more time on this sketch and subsequent color drawing than on any other piece. But it never seemed right. At the eleventh hour, I asked Carolyn how hard she’d hit me if I suggested scrapping the thing and instead going with the pinky promise scene you see below (one of her scene suggestions). Carolyn responded: "There would be no hitting involved!" and told me it wouldn't be a problem. You sure can't ask for better than that.
From the Prologue: Bedtime Tales.
Click on image to enlarge.
Richard: Did you make all these sketches in the same location, Carolyn?
Carolyn: Yes, I do all of my work at a drafting table that's situated in a little nook of my apartment in Acton, Massachusetts. There's a bookshelf to my right and a wall of "inspiration" to my left, where I hang prints of other artists' and illustrators' work. On either side of my drafting table are drawers of supplies, and stacks of sketchbooks and old paintings. The drafting table faces a window overlooking a quiet street and the woods beyond it.
From Chapter Two: A Coin of the Realm.
Richard: Do you use models when you're sketching?
Carolyn: I use a combination of models and photo references. If I need to work out the nuances of a character's posture and really understand the perspective of it, I'll ask whatever friend or family member is handy to pose for a sketch. Often, I'll get into the position myself or mimic the facial expression I want to portray in order to get the feel of it. And sometimes, if there's a character being portrayed multiple times across scenes, I'll make a rough model of their head out of clay so I'll have it to refer to.
From Chapter Four: To Barreth.
Click on image to enlarge.
Richard: When drawing fantastical creatures, do you use bits and pieces of real animals for inspiration, or have you actually seen a wirtle and you're just not telling us? ;)
Carolyn: No wirtles native to Massachusetts, fortunately! When figuring out the look of fantastical creatures, I use photo references of different animals to understand the way the anatomy might work, and then combine features as I see fit and as the story calls for. To understand the wirtle's legs and paws, for example, I referred to a series of photographs of show dogs leaping over hurdles. The severely arched, scruffy back was influenced by photos of hyenas on the prowl. The bone-structure of the face ended up being something of a cross between a cow and a warthog, and I wanted the snout to be bare—kind of gross and raw-looking. Add it all up and, voila! We have a wirtle.
The author also kindly provided the following links to tempt you further.
Free sneak preview: http://themoonrealm.com/2012/05/16/sixchaps/
Here's a free audio version of the first two chapters: http://themoonrealm.com/2011/10/23/free-audiobook-sample-of-the-moon-coin/
The biographical information, photos and video used in this post are with thanks to the author himself and the following websites.