This is the fourth and final launch title in the new PopFiction line from TokyoPop.

General Information

Title: Magic Moon (Book One of Three)
Author: Wolfgang and Heike Hohlbein
Original Publication Date: English translation first published in October, 2006
ISBN: 159816452X
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A young boy gets transported to a magical land to save his sister from a coma. When he arrives, he gets entangled in a war that’s been raging for years.

High Point

Kelhim, the protector.

Low Point

The “oh, no, I’ve killed a man” reaction that comes long after killing severl others.

The Scores

This was more original when first published than it would seem now. The original language version was published in 1983, which means it was likely very developed when The Dark Crystal came out, and it easily predates Labyrinth. I mention these two because there are remarkable similarities in themes and structure, but (aside from Labyrinth) these were likely developed independently. Aside from those themes and basic structures, the bulk of the novel is the classic swords and sorcery epic that we’ve seen many times. I give it 4 out of 6.

The imagery is well done. Some moments seem like we’re getting too much detail at the time, but those details are returned to later, and often become important in some sort of twist that I didn’t see coming. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story was well plotted, and quite entertaining. Although this is just the first in a series of three, I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t been told by the publicist. This is the only launch title that feels like it’s a complete story already. There’s even a quality message here, and some unpredictable twists along the way to the predictable ending. I give it 6 out of 6.

The characterization includes shades and depth for virtually every character, and they are all clearly distinct. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is strong, with (like the rest of the launch line) a fun and entertaining adventure. This should be quite popular among the target audience, as long as they know how to look for it. I give it 5 out of 6.

The editing, like the other PopFiction launch titles, gets a pass on the typos. (There were more typos in this than the others, though.) The story structure itself was very well done. The plotting, pacing, and details are all there and delivered well. One particular decision near the end seems to undermine part of the message, but there’s no way to change that easily without moving the “big reveal” to an inappropriate part of the story. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s an entertaining book with a great message that doesn’t interfere with the story. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Magic Moon receives 36 out of 42.