Killing with the Edge of the Moon: Makes for an enchanting evening

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review A.A. Attanasio Killing With the Edge of the MoonKilling with the Edge of the Moon by A.A. Attanasio

At 151 pages, Killing with the Edge of the Moon is an evening’s read, but what an enchanted evening it is!

I think A.A. Attanasio intended Killing with the Edge of the Moon as a young adult novel, though I’m not absolutely certain of that. If you’re a parent, though, there’s nothing in here that’s inappropriate for your teen. Despite the cover copy’s mention of the “erotic Otherworld,” all sexual content is of the briefly-implied sort. Attanasio’s Otherworld is seductive, but he makes it so without filling the tale with smut.

The plot draws upon several old myths: Orpheus and Eurydice, Tam Lin, the Wooing of Etain, and a dash of the Mabinogion. I’m always up for a good “rescuing a loved one from the Otherworld” story. Killing with the Edge of the Moon has a deeply archetypal feel due to its basis in the myths and, at the same time, the story is made fresh and individual by the delightful protagonists. Chet is my favorite; I love his leap of faith into a world he doesn’t quite believe in, his sense of duty, and little details like the bad poetry he writes for Flannery and his musings about the proper swearwords to use when lost in Elfland. Flannery is also a great character — a defiant girl who cares more for animals than people. And then there’s Nedra, Flannery’s Wiccan grandmother, who is more than she seems.

Attanasio is a strongly visual writer. He bills Killing with the Edge of the Moon as “A Graphic Novel (without illustrations).” He’s equally at home describing an idyllic meadow, a hellish volcanic cavern, and a mundane hospital room. Attanasio uses simpler prose for scenes that take place in our world and lush prose for Otherworldly scenes, and it works well. Like the ritual gown that Nedra makes for Flannery, the prose is studded with bits of shining beauty.

Killing with the Edge of the Moon feels more like a fairy tale than a traditional novel, and will be enjoyed by anyone who likes stories of teens confronting the Otherworld.

~Kelly Lasiter


book review A.A. Attanasio Killing With the Edge of the MoonI enjoyed this story, too. It’s a lovely and humorous modern fairy tale.

I’d like to warn readers about the audio version narrated by Destiny Landon and Lee James. It must be approved by Attanasio since he published it, but it’s pretty awful. Both of the narrators use unpleasant voices, awful sound effects, and mispronounce normal words like chasm, cavalcade, askance, lithely, feral and slavering. The narration got in the way of the story. I suggest reading this in print instead.

~Kat Hooper

Killing with the Edge of the Moon — (2006) Publisher: “Blud-eye-eth is a fabled woman of Celtic myth.” The witch’s eyes shone in the dark like tiny silver mirrors. “The name means ‘Flower Face,’ which is the owl’s poetic nickname, the bird who steals souls — for Blud-eye-eth was a woman made from magic and flowers and, like the owl, she had no soul of her own.” The speaker is a hickory-faced crone trying to explain to Chet, a shy kid with eyeglasses and pocket protector, why he can’t take her granddaughter to the high school dance. For quiet, elfin Flannery is not like other kids. A living Blud-eye-eth, she has caught the attention of the faerie, beautiful evil creatures from a mysterious Otherworld, who seduce their victims with moonlight raves before feeding them to a dragon and hunting souls with a supernatural black dog of prodigious evil. And they have taken Flannery for one of their own. And she won’t be going to the school dance-not unless Chet rescues her. This modern, demonic fairy tale weaves together themes of passion and self-discovery into an intricate Celtic knot of myth, moon magic, and teen romance. Thrust together in a dark, erotic Otherworld, Flannery and Chet discover they know each other better than they know their own hearts… but can they sort things out before the black dog finds them? And what was that about a dragon?

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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