West of the Moon
By Margi PreusBlurb: Astri is a young Norwegian girl desperate to join her father in America. After being separated from her sister and sold to a cruel goat farmer, Astri makes a daring escape. She quickly retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, they set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent “goatman” in pursuit, the girls head over the Norwegian mountains, through field and forest, and in and out of folktales and dreams as they steadily make their way east of the sun and west of the moon.
Genres: Juvenile, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
My Rating: 3 stars
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
West of the Moon is different. What does that mean, exactly? Well, it means that this book is basically like nothing I have ever read before, which doesn't happen often. However, the ending sucked, to be blunt. So, that kind of brought down my love for this story.
What's nice about this book is that it is somewhat fantastical, but not really. I thought this really captured the feel of the book; it gave it a unique, authentic flavor that made the story feel a bit like an actual Norse folk tale. This is what I most liked about West of the Moon.
Astri, the main character, can be rather selfish at times, and she does things without the purest of intentions. I got mad at her more than a few times during the book. But she still manages to stay one of those characters that you want to have a happy ending.
The plot is interesting; it takes little bits from different folktales and fairy tales and weaves them into the story, and there's an aspect of mystery, which I always love. I went through the book wanting answers to Astri's past and the silent little girl that she traveled with. I got hints throughout the book, but it wasn't until the end that everything was revealed.
And that is where my liking of this book turned into disappointment. This ending is not happy in the slightest. It is not blatantly sad, but it definitely made me mopey. West of the Moon has more of an open ending, which is okay with some books, I suppose, but none of the things that I wanted to be resolved were! Or, if they were resolved, they were resolved in a way that made me mad, which is just as bad, if not worse, than having them left open.
This book did slightly redeem itself after the ending, though, because I read the author's notes. These are usually not that interesting (to me at least) but in this story, I really loved the explanations and the background history we got for this book. The story behind the idea for this book, for some reason, fascinates me. I want to know more about it, but I guess I won't be able to--it's history that we only get a snippet of.
The story is great, the ending is not. There's my warning to you for this book; if you want to take your chances, that's up to you. Personally, I'm not disappointed that I did.