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This book will delight lovers of Neil Gaiman
“This book will delight lovers of Neil Gaiman. Below the Moon is an accessible but sophisticated fantasy novel that will take readers to a fully-conceived world with characters whose fates will matter to you. Chute is a multi-talented storyteller whose gorgeous illustrations add another deeply immersive and enjoyable element to her imagined universe.”
Book Reviews of Below the Moon
Reader’s Favorite Review
FIVE STAR REVIEW 5/5
Reviewed by Sefina Hawke for Readers’ Favorite
A completely unique story that is unlike anything I have ever read previously
Below the Moon (The 8th Island Trilogy, Book 2, a Novel) by Alexis Marie Chute is a young adult epic fantasy story that would appeal most to an audience of young adults who enjoy fantasy and those who have had their lives impacted by cancer. Below the Moon comes after the first book in the series, Above the Star, and continues to follow teenager Ella Wellsley and her family on the island of Jar-Wya in a parallel dimension. Ella’s cancer may have rendered her mute, but she still has her wits, willpower, and resourcefulness to guide her and her family on her journey to not only find a cure for her illness but to unlock the mystery of the evil Star to save the fate of all worlds.
Would appeal most to an audience of young adults who enjoy fantasy
Below the Moon by Alexis Marie Chute is a completely unique story that is unlike anything I have ever read previously. I loved the way that the plot did not focus solely on Ella, but also on her mother and grandfather who are along for the journey as well. The book was filled not only with unearthly abilities and creatures, but also with life lessons on not giving up, the power of love, and the need to overcome one’s fears. I would highly recommend this book to children and young adults battling with cancer as while the book is a fictional fantasy, it is also a story of inspiration, love, and the drive to overcome cancer with the help of loved ones. Overall, I could not help but enjoy this beautifully written story, though I really wish I had read Above the Star first. Now I plan to read the first book in the series next!
I would highly recommend this book
Forward Reviews – Review published in Nov/Dec 2019 Issue
Below the Moon | by Alexis Marie Chute | Young Adult Fiction
Alexis Marie Chute’s fantasy novel Below the Moon is as fast and bizarre as its prequel, with enough new elements to keep the imagination soaring.
Fast and bizarre
Ella was supposed to be enjoying herself on a cruise before her inevitable death from cancer, but thanks to her grandpa Archie, she and a host of other survivors are stuck in the magical world of Jarr, where everything good is unraveling. More than just Ella are running out of time. In a desperate attempt to save both their worlds, humans and creatures alike must find a way to overcome their differences and fight against the looming darkness.
Below the Moon is refreshing.
Told in alternating points of view, Below the Moon is refreshing. The constant shifts allow for different aspects of Chute’s fantastical world to be enjoyed. Each character brings new light to the story: Ella has an eye for detail, Archie is protective, and Luggie wrestles with conflicting loyalties. Characters from the previous book continue to contribute: Lady Sofia still provides comic relief; Nate, charm. Each individual has to figure out what they’ll fight for, and their continuing development is relatable and realistic, even when situations are anything but.
Sudden plot twists, new rules, and strange enemies keep the story exciting
Fantastical elements are introduced with liberty, sometimes at such a rapid pace that it can be difficult to track what has just happened. Sudden plot twists, new rules, and strange enemies keep the story exciting, if somewhat hard to buy; there always seems to be a convenient magical solution available when things go wrong.
Never a dull moment
With never a dull moment, Below the Moon is an action-packed fantasy sure to excite and engage anyone willing to embrace its magic.
An action-packed fantasy sure to excite and engage
Motherbooker Review – Below the Moon
It’s been a while since I read and reviewed Above the Star the first in Alexis Marie Chute’s Young Adult fantasy trilogy. In an ideal world, I would have reread it before reading the second but, unfortunately, I didn’t have it on me. I’ve been forcing everyone I know to read it because I absolutely loved it. I’m always a bit scared of recommending books that I love to people because, well, what do you do if they hate them? You either have to reevaluate your literary choices or your friend choices. And, let’s be honest, books are going to win every time. But I do make an exception when I think a book is good enough. And I definitely thought that Above the Star was good enough. It was one of my favourite reads of last year and I’ve been eagerly awaiting news of the second book’s release. Luckily for me, Alexis Marie Chute offered to send me an ARC copy so I didn’t even have to wait for the actual release date in October this year. I already had about 3 books on the go when this arrived but I knew I had to start it immediately. And I was hooked from the start. If it hadn’t been for my inconsiderate niece deciding to be born early, I would have finished and reviewed it weeks ago.
I’ve been forcing everyone I know to read it because I absolutely loved it [Above the Star, book one].
Below the Moon picks up exactly where Above the Star left us. Our three heroes have been through a lot since they were transported to the island of Jarr-Wya from Earth. Archie is rediscovering his youth, his daughter-in-law Tessa is fighting to save her daughter and trying to work out what her heart really wants, and his granddaughter Ella is battling cancer and falling in love. All that and Archie is still coming to terms with the fact that his son, Arden, has transformed into an Orlearon: red skinned fire warriors that are native to Jarr-Wya. But he doesn’t have much time to think about any of that, as Archie and his family are caught up in mysteries, wars, and secret identities. Along the way, they will find that the only way to really survive in an ever-darkening world is to keep their family together.
I already had about 3 books on the go when [Below the Moon, book two] arrived but I knew I had to start it immediately. And I was hooked from the start.
After the events of the first book, our trio is about to set out towards the mysterious Star that lives under the sea. They hope to destroy it, bring peace back to Jarr-Wya, and discover the secret to healing Ella’s cancer. Joining them are their fellow human travelers, Duggie-Sky, Captain Nate and Lady Sophia; a group of Orlearon warriors; the Lord of Orlearon; and Luggie, the son of the tyrannical Bangol King and enemy of the Orlearons. As darkness and evil makes its way throughout Jarr-Wya, the party encounter a great number of problems along the way. They have to battle against a host of different foes and use all of their cunning to survive. But can they actually make it to the Star and bring life back to Jarr-Wya?
[Below the Moon] has all the great aspects of the first book but it has definitely upped the ante.
This book has all the great aspects of the first book but it has definitely upped the ante. The world we were introduced to has is ever expanding and we’re meeting new species all the time. Alexis Marie Chute’s background as an artist really comes in handy when it comes to world-building. The description is as lush and artistic as they were in the last book. Everything feels so vivid and real. Obviously, this is aided by the amazing illustrations that accompany the story. The illustrations are drawn from Ella’s point-of-view as they are her only real method of communication. They not only help bring life to the world but add an extra element of immersiveness. Ella is communicating with her family and the reader.
The description is as lush and artistic
Below the Moon is a sophisticated but fun story. It has everything you could want and manages to avoid the typical cliches of fantasy novels. It is full of magic and quaint creatures, yet, but there is a maturity to everything. This narrative is fast-paced and full of action. Just like the first book, this novel doesn’t shy away from violence and danger. There was plenty of death within the first book and it’s a big part of this novel too. It isn’t too gratuitous and it elevates the book beyond your typical YA fantasy. Last time, I compared the writing to Neil Gaiman and I maintain that they share a certain darkness that is kind of irresistible.
I compared the writing to Neil Gaiman and I maintain that they share a certain darkness that is kind of irresistible.
Thankfully, there is plenty of good stuff to balance out the evil. This series is, at its heart, the story of a family who loves each other enough to risk their lives. There is plenty of heart and charm within this story that you can’t help but fall in love with these characters. They feel as real as they did before and that’s even with the magical changes that they’ve all gone through. Alexis Marie Chute has done amazingly well to write these characters and their relationships. Particularly the interactions between Tess and Ella. She manages to accurately portray the mother/daughter bond and discuss how Ella’s illness has altered that. There are some highly emotional scenes that had me on the verge of tears, which, if I’m honest, is something I don’t often associate with this genre.
There is plenty of heart and charm within this story that you can’t help but fall in love with these characters.
Do I have quibbles? Yes. But that’s only because I selfishly wanted more of certain things. Because I selfishly wanted things to go on longer. This book is so similar to the first one yet has a completely different feel about it. It has the same sense of heart and humanity about it but it has so much more energy to it. Things are happening and they’re happening quickly. It feels so much more alive and chaotic. Chaotic in a good way though as the mood fits with the narrative. This second installment is building to something and, I for one, can’t wait to see what that is.
… sense of heart and humanity… alive and chaotic…
The US Review of Books – Below the Moon, book two
BELOW THE MOON
Alexis Marie Chute
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (10/19)
“Below the Moon” is the second book in The 8th Island Trilogy, by Alexis Marie Chute, following on the heels of “Above the Star.” Picking up where the first book left off, the author takes us back to the island of Jarr-Wya, which sits, on a planet, in a dimension that is parallel to ours. The Wellsley family continues to try to find their place in this strange world. Ella, the protagonist, is still suffering from cancer. In order to protect Ella, her Bangol boyfriend Luggie must choose a side that might not be in the best interest of his people. Ella’s mother, Tessa, struggles to come to terms with her failing marriage to Ardenal, who has evolved into a different form. His father Archie is also evolving and finding answers, in this strange place, to his own past. The people of this place, namely the Olearons, Bangols, Steffanus, and the Millia continue their struggle for control over what happens to the evil star that is in the sea. The plot thickens when they utilize the portal jumpers called Tillastrions to return to earth. Ella holds the key to many answers.
As with “Above the Star,” I found it very difficult to put “Below the Moon,” down. I enjoyed jumping back into this adventure, which is like nothing I have ever read.
As with “Above the Star,” I found it very difficult to put “Below the Moon,” down. I enjoyed jumping back into this adventure, which is like nothing I have ever read. The uniqueness of the story makes it impossible to guess what might be coming next. I love that aspect! Drama takes place on multiple levels within these pages. At the core is the one that is happening within the family. The struggle to find a cure for the protagonist’s terminal illness, feels real, and at times hopeless. On a grander level, tensions really explode in this story, when the author moves the warring factions into our dimension. She also begins providing the reader with answers that tell us more about these complex characters.
… like nothing I have ever read. The uniqueness of the story makes it impossible to guess what might be coming next. I love that aspect!
Chute also does an excellent job of bringing her settings to life. Readers can clearly see the places and characters that she is describing. The action also plays out well. There is a lot of violence and loss, so it is best read by young adults and adults. The author also does an excellent job of updating the reader about what happened in the first book. She skillfully blends the details into the second story. I still would recommend that the books be read in order, because readers will find themselves more invested in the characters if they start from the beginning and won’t feel the need to catch up.
Highly recommended reading
“Below the Moon,” and the entire 8th Island trilogy is highly recommended reading and I look forward to reading the next installment in this remarkable series by Alexis Marie Chute.
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