Monday, May 04, 2020

Women Are More Than Just Being Beautiful for Men || Book Review: The Moon Hunters by Anya Pavelle

Title: The Moon Hunters
Series: -
Author: Anya Pavelle
Publisher: Chandra Press
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: September 3rd 2019
Pages: 399

Synopsis (Goodreads): The Pestilence sweeps the globe with terrifying speed. A group of survivors finds an island sanctuary.

Three generations later, no one has heard from the outside world in years. The old radio only crackles with static. The Pestilence either finished its job or the world tore itself apart.

In the Village of Lehom, Leilani has been called to court as a Virtue by the King. Going to court means losing her independence and self-respect. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a choice.

Leilani decides to take a stand; the King be damned. She plans a daring escape and sets in motion a series of events that will shake the foundation of her village and the island to its core.


My rating: 4 / 5 ★

Born on an island secluded from the rest of the post-apocalyptic world, Leilani Ani was raised in a village where sexism and discrimination against women were something normalised intensely. Women in the village of Lehom were groomed to be objects of beauty and desire; they were asked to be alluring, but alluring only for the sake of men and not of their own accordance.

Everyone worshipped their King, but when Leilani was forced to lose her job that she loved dearly and become a Virtue at the palace, she soon learned how horrifying the true intentions of the King were. Risking losing more in her life, she planned an escape, yet escaping her grave fate was not as easy as she thought.

Reading The Moon Hunters was not easy for me; it actually took me almost five months to finish it, making it the longest time I took to finish a book despite it not being a too-thick book. Although the plot was interesting enough for me to keep holding on to this book, perhaps I felt that the build-up of it was too slow. Most of the five months that I took was spent on the first half of the book; my mood pretty much went up and down and it felt very difficult to continue reading it. It could be that the story was written the way that Leilani was retelling her memories that put me off of it a little bit, and the excerpts of The Journal of Samsara Ani on the start of each chapter confused me a lot too at first.

But things definitely took a better turn when Leilani was betrayed by someone she cared for so much. The incident just burned fire within her, and she finally took it upon her to leave everything behind and escape. The second half of the book, I devoured in less than five days. I'm glad I continued on reading this book, because Leilani's character is just the kind of women that I love to read about. Strong-willed, compassionate and independent. Yes, unlike how the people of Lehom believed, women can actually stand on their own without men.

It disgusts me how the men of the village of Lehom thought of women. The King collects a group of women whom they called as Virtues in his court. The Virtues did accompany the Queen most times, but in the end, their main job was actually "sit still and look pretty" for the King to feast upon. Women aren't allowed to do what they wish to, lest it being considered as committing a crime. Women even had to pit against each other in order to gain the favour of the same men who oppressed them. It's horrifying to see how Leilani had to pretend that she fits in the concept of the women that the King wants, while she plans her escape.

It was not easy, and she did receive help from people that care about her including a childhood friend-turned-lover, but it was a huge satisfaction to read that she did not depend wholly on others. She sacrificed so much to leave and find a place where she can be who she wants to be. Where she can be herself. It was not a journey full of smiles, but in the end, it was worth it. Although the way the story is written is not exactly my favourite style—I personally think it would have been better if the plot is linear; that way we won't know if Leilani will be able to survive in the end, adding more suspense to the plot—but I still appreciate how the story was concluded with an open-ended ending, where we can understand that Leilani's journey had only just begun.

The Moon Hunters may be just a fiction story, but the things within it, the discrimination and oppression against women are not fiction at all. A lot of women to this day still struggle to live the way they want to be, and I'm glad that this book exists as another reminder that women can be strong and independent. Women being themselves and respecting other women will make them more beautiful.

Overall, it was a great experience to read The Moon Hunters. I would like to personally thank the author, Anya Pavelle, for sending me the ebook copy, and thank you @BookTasters on Twitter for providing me with the chance to read this book.


The palace guards could keep me in here, perhaps lock me in my new home, but the King hadn't successfully claimed me. Because I rejected his offer to maintain my truth, I hadn't been crushed like the nightingale, a courtly trifle with no significance, or smothered like the palm tree within a malignant banyan. I was like the Lady, poised to escape at the proper time. I had claimed myself with my truth. And I would one day escape like she did to a place called Coeur. Heart.

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

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