Title: Hidden Moon
Author: K.R. Thompson
Publisher: Createspace (self-published)
Release Date: June 17th 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Mystery
Seventeen year-old Nikki Harmon knows that her life will never be the same. Forced to move after her father’s death, she is determined to keep what is left of her family together, even if she can’t get cell service.
What she doesn’t know, is that she will encounter mythical creatures in her quest to solve the mystery of the Trail Killer, and that she will be torn by her feelings for two very different guys.
As she unearths the deadliest secret of all–will she lose her heart to one of them…or will she lose her life?
My First Thoughts:
I’m all about supporting local authors, especially if they write fiction set in places that I know, so I wanted to give this story a try. The cover throws me off a little, but the summary sounds well enough for a first book from a first-time author!
Was there a love triangle? I was expecting to see a love triangle somewhere within these pages. However, all I saw was a love that apparently defied science by affecting the characteristics of air. Sure, I could see the love between Nikki and Adam, but all I saw between Nikki and Brian was friendship, nothing more. However, sometimes Thompson would throw in weird trains of thought for Nikki in which she briefly and randomly thought about her relationship with Brian and how there might be something more. I could see Brain’s love for Nikki, but it always seemed unrequited to me.
With that said, the novel wasn’t a bad start for a first-time author, especially a self-published one. The story was unique, one that I haven’t run into before, though I don’t read much in the way of murder and mysteries. However, this story flowed rather smoothly and every scene counted. The characters were likable and were not easily forgotten, especially the ones that didn’t show up within the story often. The description was lacking, but that’s mostly because I love reading descriptions and painting the scenes from the book with the author’s words. Being set in the Appalachian Mountains, Thompson missed a wonderful opportunity to describe the mountains’ majestic beauty and the unique characteristics that define the land and its people.
Some of the things that bothered me the most about this book are some details most people don’t think twice about. Sorry, but as a person who has to take a lot of science classes and is going into a scientific field, I can get picky with how writers use it in their novels. Air doesn’t sizzle, or snap, or pop, or crackle. Air doesn’t get heated by the presence of two people or by whatever emotion they’re feeling at the time. Also, water is rarely warmer than air. If water is warmer than air, then that means there is a breeze, which doesn’t normally occur in an enclosed area. Also, water has this nasty property of being able to suck the heat out of your body really quickly, increasing a person’s risk of hypothermia in cold conditions. One more thing, a split lip or open wounds don’t go away quickly, they tend to stick around for a few days.
Some of the other things that bothered me were about the area itself. No, I am not from Bland, the area that the book is set in. However, I am familiar enough with the area to know when a writer is making something up, which they are allowed to do but it’s distracting for the people that know the area. I know enough that the high school scenes kind of grated on me because that’s not how things would have happened. Also, the athletics bothered me because they were just kind of thrown in there, they weren’t really developed, and they didn’t match the way things are done in the area either.
I have no problems with authors using their creative licenses, like when Thompson created an American Indian reservation for the setting of the book. In real life there isn’t one; in fact, the group she uses is mostly concentrated at the top of the Chesapeake. However, not many people are going care about that tidbit of information. And Thompson does make an effort to add American Indian lore into her book. The things she uses are just skin deep, but it’s enough for people without a tie to that background to notice. I also liked how the author created her own type of faerie. Sure, there are tons of different types of faeries from mythology and lore that she could have used, but it shows a level of creativity to create one. I would be interested to see how she fleshes out the character later.
While I am a picky when it comes to basic science and other details most people don’t focus too much on, I found this story enjoyable. It was not the most amazing first novel that I have read from a new author, but it was not the worst either. Writing is a skill that must be honed over time, and I believe that Thompson has a good start; she definitely has guts to be a self-published author.
The story was unique and the characters were likable and easy to tell apart. Sometimes I wished that some of the minor characters played a bigger role. Other times I wished that they didn’t act so juvenile for senior high school students. However, they were well fleshed out and easy enough to relate to. I could have gone without the high school drama and class-by-class play, but I feel that way about most books set in high school.
Like every novel there were grammar mistakes, but those are a lot harder to catch when you are your own publisher. And other things like continuity errors, linguistics and other things that a publisher usually looks for are harder to find as well. Thompson could have used more description, but that could also be a personal taste rather than a point against her writing.
The mystery of the book was easy enough to follow and she didn’t beat you over the head with who did it. I was able to guess who the killer was about halfway through, but I tend to be a rather good investigator and can guess the major twists in most books. The romance was well enough, not necessarily as science defying as it was described, but you could see the progression of the love through the book. It was a nice average story from a first-time author.