A debut secondary-world fantasy charts the story of two peoples at war across a backdrop of mysticism, celestial power, and forbidden love. Kai is a Moonburner, born with the ability to channel the energy of the moon and release it in spectacular ways. But her kingdom, where the Sunburners rule, prohibits this practice, and she lives in fear with her family. When her secret is exposed, Kai is sent to the desert to die. While struggling to survive, she finds her spiritual guide, or seishen, a talking silver fox named Quitsu with extraordinary skills. The fox can telepathically communicate with other seishens, walk through walls, become invisible, and see in the dark. They are eventually rescued by Pura, a Moonburner. Taken to the capital of the Moonburners, Kai learns to master her immense powers. But the Moonburner queen, Airi, looks on her subjects more as weapons and harbors dark designs for the Sunburners she captures. The queen s mad quest for supremacy may be her citizens undoing, unless Kai makes a dangerous alliance. Hiro, handsome prince of the Sunburners, seems inclined to listen. But is the spark between them destined enmity or something more? In either case, it could easily consume them both. Is the risk worth the reward, and can two peoples be saved from a devastating war? If anyone can do it, Kai can. Kai is a well-drawn, resilient female lead, her compassion as much a source of her dominance as her Moonburning. While her romantic subplot with Hiro turns out to be unsurprising, it is nonetheless sweet. This is true of most relationships in the book, romantic or platonic. They are the strength of the narrative and help make up for an otherwise unexceptional, if serviceable, plot. Kai s relationship with Quitsu becomes particularly endearing. The fox s quips and personality add a great sense of mischief to the narrative. And the worldbuilding enjoys a few outright fantastic flourishes, such as the giant bats the Moonburners use as flying steeds. A promising start to a fantasy series that delivers a superb sense of fun and strong female characters who are both heroes and villains. --Kirkus Reviews
Luana writes an intriguing story set in a fictional Japanese-like setting, with a main character that must hide that she is a Moonburner, a woman born with the power of the moon. Kai must pretend to be a boy to keep the façade that she is not dangerous to the opposing Sunburners in her village. Eventually, however, she is discovered and exiled to the desert to die. She makes her way to others like her and learns to distrust the Sunburners, as the Gods of Sun and Moon have been at war for hundreds of years. As Kai grows stronger in her abilities to harness the moonlight, a bewitching stranger on the other side makes her realize that maybe not all borne of the sun are bad. And she realized that the queen of the Moonburners might have a secret that could be an end to both Sunburners and Moonburners forever. I m used to the special-character formula in books. I tire of it usually, but Luana makes the heroine different. She is just trying to get by, forging friendships and admiring the beauty of nature. Kai is endearing without being a Mary Sue type personality, as some of my fellow reviewers like to say. She is tough but tender, brave but bullheaded. And though I believed this novel was going to be a stand-alone, I was presented with a cliffhanger for a sequel that is too good to pass up when it comes out. I m a big fan of Luana and her first novel. Definitely five stars. I m drawn to this imaginative and up and coming author. I even plan to sign up for her mailing list so I can find out when the next installment, Sunburner comes out. I would recommend this book to all my friends of YA fantasy. Or regular fantasy. --Stephanie Plotkin
Kai is a Moonburner—a female sorceress reviled by her people and normally killed at birth. Except Kai's parents saved her by disguising her as a boy—a ruse they've kept up for almost seventeen years. But when her village is attacked, Kai’s secret is revealed and she’s sentenced to death.
Thankfully, the gods aren’t done with Kai. Despite the odds stacked against her, she escapes her fate, undertaking a harrowing journey to a land where Moonburners are revered and trained as warriors.
But her new home has dangers of its own—the ancient war against the male Sunburners has led the Moonburners down a dark path that could destroy all magic. And Kai, armed only with a secret from her past and a handsome but dangerous ally, may be the only one who can prevent the destruction of her people...
For fans of:
Teen Science Fiction and Fantasy
Young Adult Fantasy
Young Adult Action & Adventure
Coming of Age
Strong female protagonists