Reviews

The Moonlight Blade by Tessa Barbosa

joonbug314's review

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adventurous dark mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

alyp01's review

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challenging mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

atrailofpages's review

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4.0

This story follows Narra, whose mother leaves for their home of their birth, Bato-Ko and never returns. One day, Narra receives a notice that her mother has been arrested. Even after promising her mother never to go back to Bato-Ko, she convinces her family to leave and go to Bato-Ko. Narra is determined to rescue her mother, and to do this, she enters a competition called the Sundo which allows her access into the palace to rescue her mother.

I will start by mentioning what I liked about this book: I liked basically the last 1/3 of this book the most. It became much more action-packed and there were some twists that even I didn't see coming that made me reread the page to make sure I read it right. I loved the biggest twist in the book, at least to me the biggest one, and that twist made the book for me to be honest. That twist saved the book from me giving a lower rating, which I will explain below. The other thing I really liked about this book was the romance. The romance at first confused me, but once you finish the book, my gosh it makes so much more sense and I really liked it in the end!

This is more of a 3.5 star read mainly because I really did not understand what was going until about halfway through this book. The story was kind of all over the place, and scenes would change without me realizing, or we would suddenly be in a different area and I didn't understand how that happened. I wish the history of this world was explained better. I actually have no idea how to explain the magic system as well. I never really connected with any of the characters, but I would say Narra and others grew a lot by the end of the book, which again, you would really need to read the entire book to understand. I also did not enjoy the romance until I finished the book. Then I actually really liked the romance! One other thing that confused me was I don't understand why Narra felt like she had to join this random competition in order to rescue her mother. I guess it was so that she had a way to be inside the palace, but I guess I just did not understand the point of the competition aside from adding some extra action and suspense.

Kudos to the author, though, for ending the book the way it did. It explained a lot, and I ended up giving this book a higher rating than I originally was planning! I received a free digital copy to read. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

pagesofnay's review

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adventurous challenging dark tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

shanzehimran's review

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3.0

I need to begin by saying that I am not Filipino, and so cannot comment on the Filipino representation in the book. It was however, refreshing to read books about other ethnicities and cultures.

The book had an incredibly interesting, strong and ambitious premise (themes of fate vs. free will, reincarnation, prejudice and political corruption) but severely lacked in its execution. I was confused for a lot of the book, and skimmed the end, only understanding at surface level what was going on but wasn’t able to figure out the subtleties and nuances. It came down to writing style, there was a lot of description that didn’t make sense, things coming out of nowhere, and a lot of information about the MC’s past lives that blended in together, without real structure or storytelling. More often than not the author would state a particular thing as something else and I could not make the connection, or the positioning of places and settings was impossible to figure out. It got exhausting to read and it turns out I’m not the only one.

That being said, the premise was enjoyable, and I wanted to know how it ended, even if it got tiring trying to figure it out. The romance subplot was done in a more unique way than I usually see fated lover stories, and the male MC is one of my favorite characters in the book, which isn’t something that happens often for me. I hoped to see more development in the end, but the ending was rushed by the author, to my disappointment.

The title of the book appears once in the book (and possibly a second time immediately after, I can’t remember because I was skimming) and I still haven’t figured out what it had to do with anything and why the book is called that at all. This book would have been infinitely better if it went through an editing process that streamlined the writing so that the descriptions were more than a string of sentences that seemed to sound pretty put together.

mrsclappreads's review

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adventurous hopeful inspiring tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25

thenextgenlibrarian's review

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“All my life, I have been shunned, when my only crime is daring to exist.”

booksandchai's review against another edition

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2.0

I was provided with an r ARC from Netgalley for an honest review. The opinions presented below are my own.

I have to admit, I struggled with this book. It was hard to connect with the writing and it felt kind of… juvenile. It is meant for young adults, but I would say it’s a good book for a tween.

The story itself was okay it felt very one dimensional and I found it very predictable. I would recommend it to younger readers, but definitely not to advanced readers.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Teressa Barbosa, and Entangled Publishing for providing this copy of the book.

_reedfish's review against another edition

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3.0

I really wanted to love this book. I'm always looking for more books by Asian / Asian-Am Authors and I was really hoping that this was book was going to hit, but there was something that was missing for me.

Narra Jal enters trials at Bato-Ko in effors to save her mother. The trials are challenging and Narra has no magic, skills or training. I love a good under dog story and this reads like a lot of fantasy books that come before it. I'm not sure if it was because the beginning felt slow for me - but I had quite a bit of difficulty being really invested in the main story line. There is a romance sub plot, and I almost wanted more for it.

The characters them selves are really well done, I loved the intertwining of past and present stories, but the writing itself took me out of it a bit.

Thank you to NetGalley, Teressa Barbosa and Entangled Publishing for an EARC of this book.

_christinacreads's review against another edition

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1.0

The Moonlight Blade by Tessa Barbosa was my most highly anticipated read for March and I'm pretty disappointed because it didn’t live up to the hype at all. It was also the first arc I ever received and so I am so sad that I just had a terrible time reading this. Thank you NetGalley, Tessa Barbosa, and Entangled Teen Publishing for allowing me to read an ARC of this book.

Let me start off with the good. I very much enjoyed reading another book by a Filipino author. I loved seeing Filipino words and Filipino culture reflected in the pages of a book. I also think the premise sounded interesting- I love stories that involve strong FMCs proving themselves as well as competition-trope stories.

That was it. I'm not trying to completely bring the book down- because if anything I would love for everyone to read more books by Filipino authors that are rich in my culture. But I do have to be true and honest with regards to my own thoughts and experiences.

The biggest issue I think the novel has is the lack of outline in terms of world building. I feel like the author wanted to do everything without realizing that readers aren't 1) Filipino and 2) don't live inside her head and therefore cannot understand the context of words, and names, in the same way that the author does.

Formulating an outline on how the world should unfold, as well as defining terms in the way that relates to the story would've helped clear up the majority of the confusion that even I, as someone who knows much about Filipino culture, ended up feeling. I do believe that a book, especially a YA book needs to stand on its own as a cohesive entity without a glossary and map and this book did not.

In addition to this I felt very detached from all the characters and the lack of emotional connection made for my first arc experience seem like work. There were so many characters, so many new names and terms that didn’t seem to be linked together that in the end I was just skimming and not really absorbing much of anything. I read a lot of Adult SciFi and Fantasy so I do not think this lack of understanding is my own fault as a reader.

Finally, the syntax and structure of the writing left a lot to be desired. It felt extremely unrefined and I felt that the author tried very hard to make sure all her ideas were coming across that instead, it came across as unpolished. I feel like words were repeated far too often in close proximity, there were just far too many conjunctions that made sentences confusing, and there were so many word choices that that made sentence structure feel very clunky.

I am no author and will never be one. But one of my favorite authors has said that beyond artistic integrity, a writer needs to be able to edit and narrow down their work, rewriting over and over again even if that means barely 20% of it matches what it was originally.

If you do want to read a book with a lot of Filipino culture in it, please pick this one up. I think Tessa Barbosa does have a lot of potential but overall I feel like this book would've worked so much better with an intense outline and a very a firm editorial hand.