Friday, 25 March 2011

Moonshadow 3: The Twilight War

Moonshadow 3: The Twilight War by Simon Higgins (Random House)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 978-1-8647-1977-2
Reviewed by Oliver Phommavanh

Moonshadow returns in his most deadly mission yet in The Twilight War. It is a novel for younger readers that focuses on Grey Light Order, a clan of samurai caught up in a feud with the Fuma Clan.

Fans would have noticed Moonshadow’s friend Snowhawk, an ex-member of the Fuma Clan is now accepted by the Grey Light Order, but there are still lingering doubts. Is Snowhawk really a double agent? 

The Fuma Clan attack the Grey Light Order’s headquarters and snatch Snowhawk, but no one knows for sure if she was kidnapped or willingly left with them. Moonshadow is determined to find out the truth. He is sent to track Snowhawk down and see which side she’s really on.

Higgins’s expertise in Japanese martial arts and ancient history adds an extra layer to this exciting story. Like with other books in the series, there’s a glossary with Japanese terms. I’d recommend it to anyone who is learning about Japan at school or just interested in Japanese culture. The action is relentless as Higgins gives detailed descriptions of all the moves and strategies. It’s like reading a manga without the pictures, though it’s easy to really picture this like it’s an anime adaptation.

The characters have their quirky personalities. I loved reading more about Groundspider as he accompanies Moonshadow on the mission. He’s a dependable guy with a wicked sense of humour. He supplies most of the lighter moments in a tense story. Regular favourites also return but essentially this is all about Moonshadow.  

The Twilight War sets things up for another heart-thumping book. You don’t need to read the previous books. However, I’m sure new fans will want to read them all after this latest instalment. Highly recommended for ages 9 and up.  

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