Harvest Moon was one of MuseItUp Publishing’s first releases last fall, and I have to say, I think it’s one of the best (and that’s not just because I got to read it early 🙂 ) I wanted to wait on reviewing until it had been out a little while, because I think it still deserves a lot of buzz.
Here’s the blurb:
Cursed, abused, and desperate to know her future, Dancing Cat sneaks a glimpse inside her tribe’s Sacred Bundle, a powerful source of spirit magic. Instead of the future, she sees her most powerful ancestor, Small Tree and incurs her wrath. Small Tree strips Dancing Cat of everything — her home, her identity, even her gender – and drops her in the middle of enemy lands.
Injured, and in a strange, new body, she is befriended by Bearclaw who is on a spirit quest. He offers her assistance and asks for nothing in return; a kindness Dancing Cat had forgotten existed. She struggles to weave a path around the obstacles of friendship, identity, and longing in order to survive her eventual return home to face even further punishment.
And she does it while wearing someone else’s skin.
Harvest Moon is a shorter novella, easily readable in a sitting or two. Though once you start, I doubt you’ll be able to put it down. In this story, Krista weaves a powerful tale of identity, culture and gender, using the backdrop of Northern Alberta, Canada. From the first sentence, Dancing Cat is a real, breathing character, with the faults and graces of any young girl. The gorgeous setting becomes a character itself as well, driving Cat forward toward the changes that await her. As you read, you can almost feel the cool Alberta air, the sense of wide open plains, the space and land that surround her and are part of her.
Her relationship with herself and with Bearclaw, the man who saves her, becomes the real center of the story. Cat must learn to accept herself in whatever form she’s in, and she comes to do that through Bearclaw’s acceptance and kindness. And eventually love.
Harvest Moon is full of really cool mystical elements, though I ‘m not sure you could call it a straight fantasy. It feels more like a historical fantasy to me, and I felt, after finishing, that I had gained a glimpse into what the lives of the Canadian native people might have been like during that time period.
Overall, I highly recommend this story – not only does it offer an interesting take on gender and identity issues, it’s a fun read with great characters, a little romance, and a gorgeous setting. How much better can it get?
Krista also has a new short story out this month – Flying Kite, Crashing Ship – that offers a fun sci-fi take on Jane Austen. I’ll be reviewing that later this month.