Red Moon and Black Mountain by Joy Chant

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Book Information  
AuthorJoy Chant
TitleRed Moon and Black Mountain
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Dan Lindsay 
(Oct 13, 2005)

Red Moon and Black Mountain is perhaps the richest, most thoroughly realized, creation of another world that I have ever read. Not Tolkien, not C. S. Lewis, not Peter Beagle, not Robert Heinlein, has surpassed Chant's depth of creation.

This could have been a wonderful adventure story of three children spirited away into an alien world by supernatural beings in order to defeat a terrible villain -- and nothing more. Instead, Chant creates several cultures and displays them in depth, making them as real to the reader as they are to the three children who are dropped into them, each having a key role to play in the drama. Yet there is nothing dry or scholarly about this book; it is a gripping exciting tale, with delightfully lifelike characters, marvelous descriptions, and a plotline both intricate and clear.

As characters and cultures flow across the page, the reader understands that, like our own world, this place has millions of stories to be told. I was ready by about page 5 for there to be sequels, side stories, other ventures into this wonderfully varied magical world. Much to my regret, Chant has written only two other books about the world of Red Moon and Black Mountain: The Grey Mane of Morning and When Voiha Wakes.

In short, this is a book which can be read many times, and on many levels. I highly recommend it for any fantasy reader beyond the age of 12. (For younger kids, many of the motivations and conflicts the characters experience will be too obscure for the book to be enjoyable.) Red Moon and Black Mountain deserves to be considered one of the very few truly great fantasy novels.

Submitted by Ariel 
(Oct 18, 2004)

Joy Chant's Red Moon and Black Mountain was probably my favorite book as a young adult. Though obscure and woefully under acknowledged, this 'modern day people drop into alien world' saga is the absolute BEST of it's ilk. It combines both mysticism and fantasy, battle and intrigue into an absolutely spellbinding story. I truly think this marvellous work is dismissed by many as being another 'Tolkien lite' but the story is so much, MUCH more. Like Tolkien, Ms. Chant is able to define several rich and varied cultures and do so skillfully in the same book - but that is where the similarity ends! The Hurnei bear very little resemblance to Tolkien's horse peoples - and their culture is, in fact, much more richly detailed (in The Grey Mane of Morning - another of Ms. Chant's books in this universe) than Tolkien's Rohirrim.

There are images and names in this book that I have kept in my heart for more than 30 years. That of Vir'vachal riding her earth colored pony through the earth, of the flame and gold of Dur'chai's coat, the sweet terror Li'vanh Tuvoi feels when he jumps to his death, the beautiful but terrible face of the fallen Prince of Heaven as he sees the little being who has defeated him. The Dancer at his Fountain... The child 'death-eyed'... I have not laid eyes on this book for more than 20 years and STILL I remember these details! This was a story that sang to me, that made me ache and filled me with joy at the same time. Perhaps I am the only person on the planet for whom this book spoke such volumes, but if I can convince another of its worth, another who would hear this story, these peoples, sing as I have, then it is worth the time I take to write this review.

Read this one. You will not regret it.

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