The Moon Dwellers ~ David Estes
This is a young adult dystopian novel (Rated PG)
5 out of 5 stars
In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms.
After her parents and sister are abducted by the Enforcers, seventeen-year-old Adele, a member of the middle-class moon dwellers, is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for her parents' crimes of treason.
Against all odds, Adele must escape from the Pen and find her family, while being hunted by a deranged, killing machine named Rivet, who works for the President. She is helped by two other inmates, Tawni and Cole, each of whom have dark secrets that are better left undiscovered. Other than her friends, the only thing she has going for her is a wicked roundhouse kick and two fists that have been well-trained for combat by her father.
At the other end of the social spectrum is Tristan, the son of the President and a sun dweller. His mother is gone. He hates his father. Backed by only his servant and best friend, Roc, he leaves his lavish lifestyle in the Sun Realm, seeking to make something good out of his troubled life.
When a war breaks out within the Tri-Realms, Tristan is thrust into the middle of a conflict that seems to mysteriously follow Adele as she seeks to find her family and uncover her parents true past.
Okay, the characters. Adele is strong and everything a girl on a mission should be. Her circumstance is not good, yet she rises to the occasion. Tristan is everything he should be considering his station in life. Together, their paths cross but for different reason.
The plot, well, it’s the weaker against a strong government or organization that is corrupt of fallible. Although that is the definition of dystopian novels, this story is still fresh and is told in its own way and time.
Romance may not be at the forefront of this one. But it’s the undercurrent of the story that simmers and keeps the blood boiling. Still, it was the right mix of action, adventure and romance that are key in making this story great.
I have to say that I read a lot of books. In fact, I’ve read over 130 books so far this year. A lot of them are from authors not traditionally published but no less talented than those that are. This story is an example where if a publisher turned this one down, they missed out.
Overall, for me it was great. Again, if you like dystopian novels, read this one. I can say, I’m begging for the next one. It ended in a place where I need to know what happens next.
My book boyfriend, Tristan.
Read a page out of Tristian's diary. A prelude to the story and an exclusive for all of you. YAY!
A Prelude to The Moon Dwellers
A passage taken from the diary of Tristan Nailin, a sun dweller and the eldest son of President Nailin, ruler of the Tri-Realms, in the year 490 P.M. (Post-Meteor), nine years before The Moon Dwellers was written.
Bright light from the artificial sun shines through my stained-glass window, sending brilliant red and blues and greens dancing across the white-painted stone walls. I should be up already, but I’m still groggy from the late-night festivities from last night. You see, it was my eighth birthday, and my mom let me stay up till midnight. Last night I was happy, but today I’m sad. Because today is Roc’s eighth birthday. The day he becomes a man. My father calls it the age of accountability, which for me is awesome, because I get to stay up later, start real sword training, and brag to my brother about how I’m a man now.
But for a kid born into a servant family, like Roc, turning eight means no more fun, no more playing, time to work. Today he’s my best friend, my playmate, like a brother to me; and tomorrow he’ll be my servant, charged with cleaning my armor after training, serving me my meals, answering my every beck and call. Father sat me down and explained everything. He has to call me sir, and he can’t laugh around me. We can’t joke around, or play tricks on my brother, Killen, or do anything fun together. No more friendship, no more brotherhood. So I’m sad.
I slip out of bed and pad down the white, stone hallway. The lights are on in the presidential house, making the place feel bright and cheery. In the Sun Realm, things always seem bright and cheery. Roc said he hears his dad talking about the other realms sometimes. That they aren’t bright…or cheery. That he and Roc are lucky to be living up here, even if only as servants. That the Moon and Star Realms are dreary and not a place you’d want to visit—not even for a day. All that just makes Roc and I want to visit the other realms even more. But I’m not even sure I believe him. Roc can be a bit of a fibber sometimes, but I don’t mind.
The long dining table is empty when I arrive. Everyone else had to stick to the schedule, and have long since finished their breakfast. But not me, not today. Because of my birthday, and because of Roc’s. My mom’s orders.
I even take a risk and sit down at one end of the table, instead of in the middle, like I’m supposed to. I sit impatiently, sliding the bottoms of my socked feet against the floor as I swing my legs. A minute later I feel a tap on my right shoulder and I swing my head around to catch the culprit. No one’s there. Someone snorts to my left, a clear attempt to disguise a laugh. Roc.
I turn sharply to the left, wrenching my elbow to the side and behind me. “Oomf!” Roc hollers, as my bony elbow cracks him in the shoulder. Now it’s my turn to laugh. Roc may be a better prankster, but I’ll beat him in a fight any day.
Roc is rubbing his bruised shoulder, but his olive-skinned face isn’t angry—he knows he had it coming. He’s even sort of grinning, but wincing too, like he wants to laugh but is in too much pain to do it properly. What a dork.
He sits down next to me, still rubbing his shoulder. “You should have seen your face,” he says. “You were like, ‘what the heck!’”
“Like you can talk,” I say, pointing at his pained expression.
We are interrupted when one of the servant girls brings us our breakfasts. She’s one of my father’s personal servants, blond-haired and blue-eyed and kind of small, but with big bumps on her chest. Roc calls them her pillows and they’re way bigger than my mom’s. She looks like what I think an elf would look like, if there even are elves anymore. I’m not sure what she helps my father with, but it must be important.
We devour our breakfasts without speaking, occasionally flicking bits of food at each other with our forks and laughing. Good old Roc. My best friend. At least for one more day.
We hurry off to find my mom. It isn’t hard because she’s always in the palace gardens, and we find her at her favorite spot, sitting with her back against the biggest tree in all the Tri-Realms, with a thick trunk and gnarled branches that are perfect for climbing. She tells me she loves the gardens because they’re peaceful, away from all the politics and hubbub of the government buildings. I like that word, hubbub—it sounds funny when you say it.
When my mom speaks of the gardens it’s all about the beauty of nature and the serenity—which I think means peaceful—of wasting away the day dreaming on the lawn. When my father speaks of the gardens all he cares about is how smart his engineers are who figured out how to make artificial sun powerful enough to grow plants underground. My parents are so different.
My mom looks sad when I first see her, her eyes wrinkled and tired, and her mouth thin and drooped. But as soon as she spots us, her eyes come alive and sparkle, prettier than the flowers that dot the gardens, erasing the weary lines underneath them. Her mouth sprouts wings and curls into a smile that warms my heart and soul. “Tristan, Roc—I’m so glad you’re here. I was afraid I’d have to tell myself stories all day. And that can get pretty boring. Plus they’d probably lock me up for insanity.” My mom’s smile somehow manages to get bigger as she talks.
I crack up and Roc giggles next to me. The thought of Mom sitting there talking to herself seems funny for some reason. “You can tell us the stories,” I say, right away taking control of things.
My mom ignores me and looks at Roc. “It’s your birthday, kiddo, so it’s up to you.”
That’s just the way my mom is. She treats both Roc and I like sons, which is probably why I think of him as a brother. I wonder what will happen tomorrow, when he’s not my brother anymore.
Roc’s brown eyes light up in a way only my mom can cause, and he says, “I’d love a story. For my birthday.”
Mom gestures with her arms and we sit next to her, one on each side. She pulls us in close to her shoulders, kisses us each on the forehead, and says, “Once upon a time, when humans lived aboveground…”
We dream the rest of the day away in the gardens, me, Roc and my mom. It is a perfect day and I know it’s probably the last one I’ll ever have.
AND NOW.... Tristan