Below the Moon
Alexis Marie Chute
Reviewed by Jennifer, YA Reviewer for Reader Views (2/2020)
“Below the Moon”, the second novel in the 8th Island Trilogy by Alexis Marie Chute, is truly a work of art that will challenge your imagination. However, I must encourage you to begin with book 1, “Above the Star” to truly appreciate the story.
Ella is a teen girl who has been fighting cancer for too long. In an attempt to find her cure, and through a very interesting chain of events, she and her family end up on the island of Jarr-Wya. This island is filled with fantastical creatures described by the author with great detail. Ella, her family, and the other surviving passengers from the cruise ship, are learning to live on this island alongside the natives. However, they still have not found Ella’s cure and it seems a war is looming.
The entire setting is unique and well described. The characters each have their own backstory and agenda it seems. The relationships between the characters have developed significantly in this second book as well. There are many real-world issues tackled in this completely imaginative world. Race, familial love, romantic love, terminal illness, to name a few. Ella’s character has matured and grown since the first book and we realize that she really is stronger than she seems, even though we do still see some glimpses of the child she was.
Being as Ella is mute, the addition of pictures from her journal are very helpful in my opinion. I really enjoyed the fanciful creatures and locations. The intense emotion between mother and daughter in this book really hit home to me and helped me understand Tessa much better.
The addition of new creatures brings new friendships where race and differences are put aside as most work together for the greater good. There are also many plot twists and surprises along the way. As well as a love triangle of sorts between Ella’s mother, her father (who is now one of the non-human Olearons) and the captain of the ill-fated cruise ship, Nate. We get to hear Ella and Tessa’s deepest thoughts about each other and about their prospective loves.
Again, the author has included a glossary to help us get to know, and pronounce, some of the characters and creatures. I find this very helpful and enjoyed reading the descriptions. If I were asked to describe the meaning of this book in a few words, I would say love is sacrifice. Many of these characters give of themselves for others. I feel as though I am emotionally invested in this work, and I‘m very anxious to see where the third and final installment will take us.