Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald is a Science Fiction story about the struggles and strife of a new emerging powerful family empire living on The Moon.
Corta-Helio is the newest of the five ‘Dragons’ in Luna society. Each Dragon being a family run empire controlling important resources and infrastructure; think of Mafia families but on the Moon. Adriana Corta is the matriarch of Corta-Helio and is in the twilight of her years; the business being run more by her five children than herself nowadays. She wants to ensure expansion and more stability for the business before she steps away from it all completely. The enemies she made during her famous rise to power will cause her and the family more problems than anyone could have expected.
There is no one central main character; the focus shifts between the Corta family members and a few other important figures. This shifting style is very hard work at the beginning of the book as I found it difficult to track who each person was and what part they play in events. That is only an issue at the very start; within 3, maybe 4, chapters I was adjusted to the characters and their own styles.
Adriana Corta, as the matriarch of the family, is the closest person to a central character in the book. She’s a strong character with personality and a surprisingly deep history. She is not the only strong female character; McDonald has managed to write multiple female characters who actually stay strong and don’t end up needing a male character for help, which is not uncommon in a lot of books.
Subjects that McDonald investigates and brings to the fore are gender, sexuality and self worth. Due to the nature of Luna and its culture these can be explored and brought to the fore remarkably well. It’s a relatively small society which has no real laws as we know them on Earth. The five ‘Dragon’ corporations control everything and the courts dispute claims between them. Anyone who manages to live for awhile has to have mental strength and this brings up interesting ideas on sexuality and its choice; along with social stigma and related matters.
I was unsure whether to give this a 4 star rating rather than the 5 I have given it due to the very harsh and, to be honest, slightly off-putting start. However that same harsh feeling that I had at the start, along with the unforgiving world and society, made it demand more; hence it’s rating. It’s more than the sum of its parts essentially.
I didn’t realize until after I’d finished reading this is part one of a duo logy so I’ve got a bit of a wait until the other part. I wish I had it available now but oh well; I suspect it will be well worth the wait.
In Summary: A harsh start belies an amazing story with strong characters set in an interesting and unusual world. This book will give you an entirely new perspective on family politics and power and possibly even life on the moon itself. This book is definitely worth the space on your Kindle or bookshelf, and I’ll be reading the second book for sure.
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