“Below the Moon” by Alexis Marie Chute

Alexis Marie Chute
SparkPress (2019)
ISBN 9781684630042
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (10/19)

“Below the Moon” is the second book in The 8th Island Trilogy, by Alexis Marie Chute, following on the heels of “Above the Star.” Picking up where the first book left off, the author takes us back to the island of Jarr-Way, which sits, on a planet, in a dimension that is parallel to ours.  The Wellsley family continues to try to find their place in this strange world. Ella, the protagonist, is still suffering from cancer. In order to protect Ella, her Bangol boyfriend Luggie must choose a side that might not be in the best interest of his people. Ella’s mother, Tessa, struggles to come to terms with her failing marriage to Ardenal, who has evolved into a different form. His father Archie is also evolving and finding answers, in this strange place, to his own past. The people of this place, namely the Olearons, Bangols, Steffanus, and the Millia continue their struggle for control over what happens to the evil star that is in the sea. The plot thickens when they utilize the portal jumpers called tillastrions to return to earth. Ella holds the key to many answers.

As with “Above the Star,” I found it very difficult to put “Below the Moon,” down. I enjoyed jumping back into this adventure, which is like nothing I have ever read. The uniqueness of the story makes it impossible to guess what might be coming next. I love that aspect! Drama takes place on multiple levels within these pages. At the core is the one that is happening within the family. The struggle to find a cure for the protagonist’s terminal illness, feels real, and at times hopeless. On a grander level, tensions really explode in this story, when the author moves the warring factions into our dimension. She also begins providing the reader with answers that tell us more about these complex characters.

Chute also does an excellent job of bringing her settings to life. Readers can clearly see the places and characters that she is describing. The action also plays out well. There is a lot of violence and loss, so it is best read by young adults and adults. The author also does an excellent job of updating the reader about what happened in the first book. She skillfully blends the details into the second story. I still would recommend that the books be read in order, because readers will find themselves more invested in the characters if they start from the beginning and won’t feel the need to catch up. 

“Below the Moon,” and the entire 8th Island trilogy is highly recommended reading and I look forward to reading the next installment in this remarkable series by Alexis Marie Chute.

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