Moongazer by Marianne Mancusi

Posted on January 31, 2015


Moongazer by Marianne Mancuso


Imagine every night entering a nightmare world you can’t escape and being told real life is a dream. Skye Brown has it all: the cool job, the hot boyfriend, the apartment on New York’s Upper West Side. But lately she can’t enjoy any of it. She’s having dreams of a post-apocalyptic world. Of a bleak futuristic wasteland. Of a struggle against oppression. And she’s been told she’s a… MOONGAZER.

But what is that? And what is reality? In her dreams, she’s not Skye Brown at all, but Mariah Quinn. In her dreams there’s Dawn, the beautiful yet haunted soldier, and Skye is but the empty shell of a girl he once loved. And there was a betrayal, a great betrayal. Ripped between Dark Siders and club kids, the mundane and the mystic, Skye must discover who she is, what she wants and who wants her. And why. But in the glow of the moon, it’s not always easy to recognize the face in the mirror.


Moongazer by Marianne Mancuso (Manga cover)


I chose the top cover for this post because I love its edginess, but the cover of my copy is manga-esque and perhaps because of it I imagined the story in dark and gloomy lines, muted colors, and harsh lights. Indeed, I think someone should turn it into a manga or anime. Its setting is bleak and exotic, and its characters would make really striking characters. This means it’s good and it’s bad, I’m afraid.

On one hand, I find the reality-bending mystery engrossing. I was vacillating between thinking Earth is real and thinking it’s a dream. The revelation is mind-blowing. The post-apocalyptic world with its underground levels, mutant inhabitants and deadly irradiated surface captures my imagination. On the other hand, I find that some of the characters are like card-board cut-outs, especially the secondary characters. Dawn is the mystery man with a tortured past and present, but he comes across as a bewildered juvenile. His dialogue with Skye reinforces that impression.  Skye does grow from her rather vapid existence to someone with a mission but I think she still comes in a pale second to a legendary character in the book.

I am shocked at the revelation, but also rather disappointed. I am led to believe that I am following an epic, but it turns out the epic flat-lined. I am never going to be sure if Dawn loves Skye or if he loves a memory. I hate that an awesome character is so easily dismissed in the end.

Perhaps much of what I am saying does not make sense, and that is because to say more is to spoil the story. I will want to read another story set in this world, but I hope I get a different set of characters next time as I feel the interest level of the current set is good only for one book.


Posted in: fantastic