Rise of the Silver Moon, by Kuragari Inuken and K. G. Hobbes – book review by Fred Patten.
by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Rise of the Silver Moon, by Kuragari Inuken and K. G. Hobbes. Illustrated by Shiki Z. Shigls.
Las Vegas, NV, Rabbit Valley Books, May 2016, trade paperback $20.00 (177 pages).
This is a Medievalish fantasy adventure with funny-animal warriors and wizards, including “dragonkin”. I’m not sure what the dragonkin are supposed to look like, despite the picture of one on the cover:
“The dragonkin straightened and unfurled his wings briefly, flexing them in the cool night air then folding them against his back. Adjusting his clothes nervously and checking that he was presentable in his reflection from a window he stepped up to the door, and knocked far more quietly than such a large fist would seem to allow.” (pgs. 2-3)
So the dragonkin have large wings plus clothes. How does that work? Are the shirts or tunics backless? If the dragonkin are humanoid, do they sleep on their backs with those wings?
Never mind. For a funny-animal adventure like this, it doesn’t matter.
Khan the dragonkin/dragon is the monk-sensei of a martial-art school. He is determined to climb a cursed mountain for the healing flowers that grow only at its top. The flowers grow at the foot of a stone statue of a humanoid wolf that comes to life when he picks them. After an exhausting fight, Khan throws the wolf off the mountaintop to its death. But when it dies, the wolf’s spirit possesses Khan:
“He felt something bubble up in his chest and rise in his throat, escaping his maw in a loud lupine howl! Khan clapped his hands over his mouth and shivered as he kneeled, feeling extremely weak and shaky. Another howl pierced the now silent night and made the dragon double over retching on his hands and knees.” (p. 19)
Khan returns to his dojo (he uses his dragon wings, which are not powerful enough for flight, to glide down from the mountaintop) apparently unaffected, but when the moon rises he is felled by an excruciating pain. He begins to grow blue fur beneath his scales; a sign that his body is being taken over by Saaros, an evil wolf god:
“‘I’ve known enough of the Wolf Cult to see the signs but I never thought to see them in you, old friend,’ he [Bosbe, a Bernese mountain dog] muttered, picking up the pestle and starting to grind the herbs into a fine powder.
‘Wolf Cult?’ Khan asked, his tone confused. ‘W-what are you talking about? Oh gods, my head!’ he moaned, laying back in the bed [yep, he lies on his wings] as he blinked at the Bernese in confusion.
‘The cult of the Wolf,’ the canine replied with a sarcastic laugh. ‘Worshippers of an ancient spirit, a creature of darkness, evil, and vile. They seek to bring it physically in to the world again and with it an age of chaos and violence!’ Bosbe finished dramatically a slightly maniacal gleam in his eyes as he turned to look at Khan.” (p. 43)
Doom approaches! To forestall Saaros and the evil Wolf Cult, Genru the husky hunter, another of Khan’s friends, and Lhixe the red fox thief must get The Book from the mage’s library before Fjlow, the leader of the six green-robed and grey-hooded wolves, do:
“Fjlow started pacing the room back and forth. Stopping frequently to check the suns progress as it starting to set behind the horizon. ‘He knows,’ he muttered barely above a whisper. The perked sets of ears twitched trying to catch every word.
‘Uhh, who knows what, sir?’ the wolf at the back said.
It was a minute before Fjlow turned again to his group. ‘The husky, Genru. If he asked about the mage library he must have known that the book with all the information is hidden there. But he does not know that we seek it as well. I doubt he even knows about us,’ he glowered at the wolves as if they had failed him. They took a step back. ‘He probably doesn’t know the significance of that book either. Still though, we must acquire it before he does! He has the help of that little sneak Lhixe also.’” (pgs. 66-67)
Much helter-skelter ensues. It all ends on a cliffhanger, with “To be concluded in Book 2 – Reign of the Silver Moon.”
Rise of the Silver Moon (cover by Shiki Z. Shigls) is very much a funny-animal novel, with an otter barmaid, lion guardsmen, an eagle librarian, a raccoon martial-arts student, a sheepdog medic, and more. Shigls’ illustrations include an impressive double-page spread.
But! Rise of the Silver Moon is poorly proofread. The authors don’t believe in much interior punctuation in a sentence. “You know there is a curse upon that peak right?” “‘Quite the sight isn’t it Khan?’ said a soft voice.” “He was exhausted his body did not want to obey anymore […]” “Khan pulled his cloak off his scales glittered in the bright light, showing off his muscles and curves.” “The dragon’s earlier question about the wolf statues purpose was answered as the large brute stalk towards him stepping on the precious flowers in the process.” “Hearing the ragged breathing from the beast as it approached.”
Some of the descriptive passages could have used more dialogue. “A soldier at the gate stopped him and asked where he was going. He replied back he planned to ascend the mountain. The guard gasped and pleaded for him to not do so, as everyone that has tried ended up never being seen again.” (p. 6)
I could go on for the length of the book, but you get the point. If you’d like a funny-animal Magic Quest-type novel, you don’t mind the cliffhanger ending, and you’re willing to plow through the wonky punctuation and grammar, then you’ll enjoy Rise of the Silver Moon.