The Sun And Moon Beneath The Stars by K ParrThe Sun and Moon Beneath the Stars by K. Parr is a wonderful YA fantasy quest novel.

Banished from their home after a terrible incident, Rasha and her family set sail for new life. However, a tragic nautical disaster leaves young Rasha orphaned on a foreign beach. Destitute and alone, she is forced into servitude in Lavigata Palace. Unable to bear the despair of her situation any longer, she plunges a knife deep into her heart. But the act proves fruitless for rather than dying, her body becomes possessed by an icy, familiar presence. It is the same presence she felt before the terrible accident that led to her family’s exile. But in the realm her consciousness dwells while possessed, she encounters the consciousness of her twin brother. He also survived the accident, but his body is now the prisoner of the powerful sorcerer Solaris.

Adriana is preparing for her big day. She is to be named heir to the throne. But before she even dresses the walls of the palace literally come crashing down around her. The Ghulrenos army of the powerful sorcerer Solaris has attacked the castle. In a last-ditch effort to save her daughter, the queen hurries Adriana to a secret passage that leads outside the castle walls.  Pleading with her to run, the queen seals the door rushing back toward the crumbling palace to help her husband. But the palace cannot withstand the invading forces and the king and queen are captured.

Adriana flees as far as she can into the surrounding forest, alone and terrified until she crosses paths with Rasha. Ultimately realizing both of their loved ones are prisoners of the same sorcerer, they decide to join forces in a quest to free them all. Whatever Solaris’s plans may be, they can’t be good, and alone, the girls are no match for his power. Adriana and Rasha must set aside their differences, prejudices and the actions of the past to work together, and with the help of a few friends they meet along the way, they just may have a chance to defeat him and free their families.

The Characters

Rasha is only 15 but she has already led an extremely hard life. She attempts suicide to end her suffering but thoughts of ending it all are quickly cast aside when she discovers her brother also survived. What I liked most about her character is that after going through all of pain in her life, she still manages to find the strength to go on and even finds compassion for those who tormented her. She is a brave, noble and passionate young woman.

Adriana has led a life of privilege. As the princess and heir to the throne, she is spoiled and quite the snob. Her selfishness has had dire effects on others as Rasha found out at an early age. However, the shock of the castle siege and the time she spends with Rasha bring forth stark realizations and I enjoyed watching her change and mature after recognizing the repercussions of her actions. The two young women are opposites in many ways so watching their relationship develop is exciting and endearing

The Writing Style

There isn’t an overly complex plot to this book. There are some interesting twists but for the most part it follows the standard quest format which I think is well suited for the intended audience. The characterization is the strongest aspect with arcs that progress wonderfully, and a very sweet romance. It is mostly well-paced throughout although there are a few occasions when it does slow down a bit. 

The Pros

This is the kind of fantasy book I craved when I was younger. Two strong, young women on a quest who develop a beautiful relationship in a world where such a thing is normal. Yes! I also really enjoyed the mythology created in the story. Oh, and the cover of this book is gorgeous.

The Cons

There are some heavy topics the reader should be aware of, such as suicide, slavery and punishment, as well as racial and class discrimination.

The Conclusion

This is fabulous fantasy quest tale with compelling characters and a sweet romantic subplot. It is perfect for young fans of fantasy who are craving representation in the stories they read.

Excerpt from The Sun and Moon Beneath the Stars by K. Parr

In the distance, Rasha imagined the twinkling lights of her homeland, the island of Kcharma. Even though her people had cast her out, she refused to waste her last breath among those who reviled her simply for being Numenarkan. Eight years of punishment was enough. She’d served her penance and would join her family in the afterlife. She prayed whatever gods existed would allow her that much, at least.

Rasha tilted the knife so the tip pressed beneath her sternum, angled up toward her heart. She inhaled a shaky breath and drew back the weapon, visualizing the arc from air to flesh. She couldn’t miss.

She closed her eyes. The waves crashed.

She plunged the knife into her chest.

For an instant, blinding, searing pain screamed through every nerve in her body.

And then…nothing.

Rasha opened her eyes. The hilt of the knife protruded from her chest, but no blood pooled, as if she’d stabbed a doll, only she couldn’t breathe.

An icy sensation started in her toes, and the tingling numbness spread up through her calves, then her thighs. The cold froze her pelvis and stomach and locked her arms to her sides. She trembled and fought the feeling, envisioning warmth, but it was too late. The ice darkened her vision, and she remembered.

When the ice first claimed her long ago, she and her family were banished.

Now, right before the cold wormed its way into her mind, her last thought was fear over who she would hurt this time.

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