Digger, a.k.a. Celyn Contrare, is back in the city of Gerse. Following a strange series of events, she learns that her friend Durrel Decath stands accused of murdering his wife, a woman from one of Gerse’s wealthiest merchant families. Digger sets out to clear Durrel’s name, even though, as she puts it, “I had no experience investigating crimes; committing them, yes, but never reconstructing them, piece by piece, backward in time.” What follows is an exciting whodunit… with magic.
In addition to the mystery, Liar’s Moon gives us a fuller look at the world Elizabeth C. Bunce created in StarCrossed. We see the effects of the escalating civil war from inside Gerse: heightened religious tension and persecution, food shortages, and various factions taking advantage of other people’s suffering for their own gain. Digger may be farther from the front lines now that she’s returned to Gerse, but she is well placed to show us the war’s effects on all the social classes in the city, and she has a few opportunities to change the course of “history.”
There’s a love story here too — a refreshingly down-to-earth one. This is no insta-love; it develops as Digger and her love interest get to know each other better. They’re not presented as cosmic soul mates; each has loved before, and one gets the idea that they would love again if this didn’t work out. And if it does work out, they will face a realistic set of class-based problems.
Liar’s Moon is an exhilarating read. This is in part because of the suspense and intrigue that will keep you on the edge of your seat, wanting to know what happens next. It’s also in part because of Digger herself and how much fun it is to follow her through her adventures. A brave and resourceful heroine, she’s always poking into something, always on the edge of danger, and always helping to move the plot along.
When I finished the last page of Liar’s Moon, I felt bereft, both because Bunce ends the book with a killer hook and because I wanted to spend a few hundred more pages hanging out in Gerse with Digger. I can’t wait for book three…