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The continuing saga of the Moon's Five Dragons, already under option from CBS, a fast-paced, intricately plotted space opera pitched as Game of Thrones meets The Expanse A hundred years in the future, a war wages between the Five Dragons—five families that control the Moon’s leading industrial companies. Each clan does everything in their power to claw their way to the top The continuing saga of the Moon's Five Dragons, already under option from CBS, a fast-paced, intricately plotted space opera pitched as Game of Thrones meets The Expanse A hundred years in the future, a war wages between the Five Dragons—five families that control the Moon’s leading industrial companies. Each clan does everything in their power to claw their way to the top of the food chain—marriages of convenience, corporate espionage, kidnapping, and mass assassinations. Through ingenious political manipulation and sheer force of will, Lucas Cortas rises from the ashes of corporate defeat and seizes control of the Moon. The only person who can stop him is a brilliant lunar lawyer, his sister, Ariel. Witness the Dragons' final battle for absolute sovereignty in Ian McDonald's heart-stopping finale to the Luna trilogy.


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The continuing saga of the Moon's Five Dragons, already under option from CBS, a fast-paced, intricately plotted space opera pitched as Game of Thrones meets The Expanse A hundred years in the future, a war wages between the Five Dragons—five families that control the Moon’s leading industrial companies. Each clan does everything in their power to claw their way to the top The continuing saga of the Moon's Five Dragons, already under option from CBS, a fast-paced, intricately plotted space opera pitched as Game of Thrones meets The Expanse A hundred years in the future, a war wages between the Five Dragons—five families that control the Moon’s leading industrial companies. Each clan does everything in their power to claw their way to the top of the food chain—marriages of convenience, corporate espionage, kidnapping, and mass assassinations. Through ingenious political manipulation and sheer force of will, Lucas Cortas rises from the ashes of corporate defeat and seizes control of the Moon. The only person who can stop him is a brilliant lunar lawyer, his sister, Ariel. Witness the Dragons' final battle for absolute sovereignty in Ian McDonald's heart-stopping finale to the Luna trilogy.

30 review for Moon Rising

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Ian McDonald is one hell of a writer. I've been following his career rather closely and I've loved the kinds of intricate people-centric webs he weaves. They always appear rather rambling and exploratory but more than that, they're deeply about the characters. Fascinating doesn't begin to describe them. And these three popular Luna novels give us the full run of the five families on the Moon and the gory feud that culminated in mass death in the first book and ending with a fully brilliant realiz Ian McDonald is one hell of a writer. I've been following his career rather closely and I've loved the kinds of intricate people-centric webs he weaves. They always appear rather rambling and exploratory but more than that, they're deeply about the characters. Fascinating doesn't begin to describe them. And these three popular Luna novels give us the full run of the five families on the Moon and the gory feud that culminated in mass death in the first book and ending with a fully brilliant realization in the third. Is this final book in the trilogy worth the wait? Oh, yes. I was glued to the pages, loving the intrigue, subterfuge, the revenge planning, the thwarted love, the epic battles against bots, and the near-gladiatorial-style combat as the resolution for legal battles. We may as well be in Verona during the Renaissance or experiencing a Godfather epic taking place on the moon. But you know what? I liked this book a lot more than the second. It not only felt more vital but it held my interest so much more. It's almost exactly like the feel of the first, only in reverse. :) And the end? Well, the end is the best part. No spoilers. I really can't believe how it got resolved. Very satisfying. :)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Silvana

    What an ending! This is one of my most awaited books for 2019, as I absolutely adore New Moon and Wolf Moon. I already sang praises on the characters and the writing in my previous reviews, in this final review I will focus on the worldbuilding aspect. I have to admit I was a bit surprised that the author actually expanded the world by adding new settings, new characters, and even new subplots. As with the previous books, the pacing is fast, details might be missed, yet everything came up nicely What an ending! This is one of my most awaited books for 2019, as I absolutely adore New Moon and Wolf Moon. I already sang praises on the characters and the writing in my previous reviews, in this final review I will focus on the worldbuilding aspect. I have to admit I was a bit surprised that the author actually expanded the world by adding new settings, new characters, and even new subplots. As with the previous books, the pacing is fast, details might be missed, yet everything came up nicely at the end. When in the previous books the power struggle was between the Dragons (with some civil war in between) and some hints about conflict between the Earth nations/corporate with the Moon, the scale has become much bigger. Each family has their own agenda, own plan on the moon's future, what humanity would become. Oh I love these kinds of stuff, since I love reading about societal experimentation, different forms of governance and the likes. The book's political plots reminded me of the excellent The Moon and the Other and The Dispossessed; every time a new agenda was mentioned, it made me wonder. Which one would work best? A utopia of a post-labor society with no want for resources? A full-blown exploration in the deep space? There were lots of possibilities. And the families fought for it. It was no longer a war between the Cortas vs the Mackenzies vs the Suns vs the Asamoahs vs the Voronsovts. No, it has become more complicated. Old regimes fell, new regime rose. But even the political assassinations and all the grisly revenge were just setting up the stage for something bigger. The expanded worldbuilding, however, also brought some distraction when it came to new characters and added subplots. I wished more focus were given to the main POVs as this is the last time we'll ever read about them and I love them so much I just wanted to be in their heads much longer. That's why I gave this four, not five stars, I guess. (Well, and there's the factor of typos and errors, there were more than a dozen of them it is ridiculous. Seriously, who was the proofreader? I'd do it for free!) All in all, it has been a marvelous, gut-wrenching, exhilarating journey on the moon and their ambitious, gorgeous, arrogant, resilient and tenacious citizens. I highly recommend the trilogy to all SF fans.

  3. 5 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy me mateys!  Grab yer grog!  Here be book 3 of the seventh installment of the 3 Bells trilogy showcase.  While I try to post no spoilers, ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . . luna: moon rising (Ian McDonald) Whew!  It was certainly a rush down to the wire to finish this trilogy and write me review in time.  This review is going to be super short because of a) the time crunch and b) I can't explain much without massive spoilers.  I did think this book was much stronger th Ahoy me mateys!  Grab yer grog!  Here be book 3 of the seventh installment of the 3 Bells trilogy showcase.  While I try to post no spoilers, ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . . luna: moon rising (Ian McDonald) Whew!  It was certainly a rush down to the wire to finish this trilogy and write me review in time.  This review is going to be super short because of a) the time crunch and b) I can't explain much without massive spoilers.  I did think this book was much stronger than the second though still not as strong as the first. This book  jumps right into an action sequence after a smaller time jump, which irked me.  The good news is that much of the focus is back on the characters and especially the youngest generation of the Cortas.  I was able to quickly be engrossed in how the conflict on the moon was going to turn out.  The short answer is not at all like I expected and that was awesome.  The politics were all over the place and lots of fun.  The ending in particular was lovely.  I am definitely team Corta Hélio.  I thought that it was a fantastic ending to a series that I am glad to have finally read. While I have finished the trilogy, apparently the author has written two novellas in the same world.  One is a prequel and the other is a companion story.  I wouldn't be adverse to reading more set in this world.  I also have to check out the author's backlog.  Arrrr!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carlex

    Four stars for the novel Four and half stars for the trilogy Really, this is a very good trilogy, brilliant in some aspects, as usual in Ian McDonald's novels. I enjoyed it a lot. However, I have read (or reread) the three novels in a row and for now -and for some time I think- I have enough of Cortas and McKenzies. For me, highly recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    A telenovela themed Dune-esque trilogy set on a colonized Moon comes to an end. Full disclosure, I'm a fanboi for this author. I also have a recent fetish for all science fiction set on the Moon. This book was the conclusion of the series. It was well written and richly detailed. The near-future world building was exceptionally good. Of the three (3) books in the series it was the most Dune-like , whereas the middle book in the trilogy (my review) had more of an old fashioned cyberpunk feel A telenovela themed Dune-esque trilogy set on a colonized Moon comes to an end. Full disclosure, I'm a fanboi for this author. I also have a recent fetish for all science fiction set on the Moon. This book was the conclusion of the series. It was well written and richly detailed. The near-future world building was exceptionally good. Of the three (3) books in the series it was the most Dune-like , whereas the middle book in the trilogy (my review) had more of an old fashioned cyberpunk feel to it. It’s a fitting end to the trilogy. However, the ensemble cast, while well-handled, needlessly encumbered an already very complicated story. My dead tree version of the book was a weighty 450-pages. It’s the thickest book in trilogy by 50-pages. Some of these pages went fast and others more slowly. Note that there was a minimum of backstory included in this book. It would be incomprehensible without reading the previous books in the series. I’m a fan of the author. However, I’ll admit not all of the author’s books are epic. For example, I really liked the first book in this trilogy New Moon (Luna #1) (my review) , but did not finish Desolation Road, the author’s first book. My largest problem with this author is his recent books have been very long, complex stories with ensemble casts. Frequently, the characters are from non-Anglo, Earth cultures. This triggers what I call my War & Peace Problem . I frequently confuse and conflate non-Anglo names and locations in long stories. (The first time this happened to me was when reading War and Peace.) In addition, the three (3) books of this series took four (4) years to be published. There was a minimum of backstory in the second and third books. I forgot a lot between books. It takes a lot of concentration and a good memory to read this author’s weightier stories. Writing was good, as with all the books in the trilogy. This includes: dialog, descriptive and action scenes. The tech-speak, and foreign language usage was credible. Readers of this series will come to appreciate the complexity of Portuguese. Note the book contains a Glossary and a Dramatis personæ, both of which I found useful. This story includes: sex, drugs, music references, including M-pop (Moon Pop) and violence. The sex was not all heteronormative. It was also somewhat graphic and athletic, which was abetted by the low lunar gravity. Note also that pedophilia was implied. Substance abuse involved alcohol and futuristic intoxicants. I was tempted to have an accomplished mixologist recreate some of the cocktails. Music and musicians were woven into the story’s plot in several places. However, most interesting to me were music references to Jazz and Brazilian-influenced guitar. The book may also be considered violent. Violence was inflicted by: physical means, edged-weapons and fire-arms. Fire arms are not used in pressurized environments. (Gun play occurs on the surface and lunar orbit.) The violence was graphic. Torture and violence against children was also implied. The body count in the story was high. (Life is cheap on the Moon.) In summary, this book is likely inappropriate for Young Adult (YA) readers. As previously mentioned, the ensemble cast posed the largest problem to me. There are a lot of characters. Some of the characters were much better than others. I had an easier time with the Anglo characters than with the VTO, Sun, Asamoah and Corta dynastic characters. I liked the female characters better than the male. Throughout the series I was crushing on Ariel Corta. I even came to like Luna Corta, a girl-child character which I normally find too cute (in a bad way) in epic science fiction. In some ways character-wise the Dune homage went a little too far. I thought that Bryce Mackenzie developed too much into a Baron Harkonnen-like figure. However, keeping track of a large number of characters, frequently switching POVs and their sub-plots with unfamiliar or unpronounceable names in a foreign-inspired alien land was a chore at times. Plotting was good, but not excellent. The many POVs that drove the plot threads forward were technically well done. Switching was well handled. The inevitable convergence of the plots toward the end of the last book saw both good-guy and bad-guy characters falling like moon dust. In bringing this story to the end, with the convergence of dynastic plots the story very much again reminded me of the end of Frank Herbert’s Dune. (view spoiler)[While I reveled at the humiliation of the Sun's a long-time series antagonist, I thought the Lunar Mandate Authority (LMA) was a rather faceless antagonist introduced too late in the series. (hide spoiler)] In addition, it would be helpful in appreciating this book, if you had some familiarity with telenovelas. There was a very Latin soap opera-like drama to the Corta dynasty POVs that provided the more important characters in the story. The world building for the series was excellent. I remain impressed with both McDonald’s work at creating a credible future history for the Moon and the technical details of Moon colonization. Five (5) families run everything with air, water, carbon and data all metered. If you’re on the Moon, you’re chipped. You pay for every breath. If you're broke-- you're dead. The main dynastic POV was the Cortas, a Brazilian family. They're feuding with the Australian McKenzie's, being manipulated by the Chinese Sun's, allied to the Nigerian Asamoah's, and maybe the Russian Vorontsov's (VTO). Needless to say each family was a pillar of the lunar economy. You can easily see the relationship to Dune? I would be quibbling by making any objections I had over the world building. Well, maybe? The introduction of the Farside University faction was a very late introduction to the story—actually this book. I thought it should have appeared much earlier in the series. Tech was very good. As mentioned earlier I have a keen interest in lunar colonization. The book contains some of the best descriptions of the Moon and lunar colonization I’ve read. Other technical aspects of the book were likewise good. There was a sophisticated description of Maker usage. Description of AI usage was likewise good. There was a significant cyberpunk influence in the story which was very credible. However, I would have thought that computer security with the aid of the already sophisticated AIs would have made hacking by man or machine of critical systems harder than it was. I liked this series. This book was not as good as the first book in the series, but it was better than the second. It did its job to end the series in a satisfactory fashion. This series had a high-degree of high-quality Edu-tainment for folks interested in lunar colonization and futurism. My objections to the books involved its length, which was driven by the many POVs. I didn’t think all the POVs were necessary. I also think the story could have been adequately told in just two (2) books (~800 pages), with fewer sub-plots and characters. However, in general this was a satisfactory ending to a telenovela-like dramatic series set in a near-future, corporate-feudal lunar society where various noble houses controlling lunar economic fiefs vie for dominance of the Moon. Folks that are interested in books on lunar colonization might want to checkout the Goodreads List I created on the subject: Moon-based Adult Science Fiction.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This trilogy got weaker with each book. The final novel was just boring and repetitive. Many of the characters really had no point in the story at all - Robson, Wagner, Lucasinho, Luna - they're all in the story, they all had large parts of the book dedicated to them, but what was the point? It was tedious and dull. I'm really tired of reading about Wagner's dual light/dark sides, of Robson climbing all over the city, of Ariel's endless internal dialogs about fashion, of the extraneous descripti This trilogy got weaker with each book. The final novel was just boring and repetitive. Many of the characters really had no point in the story at all - Robson, Wagner, Lucasinho, Luna - they're all in the story, they all had large parts of the book dedicated to them, but what was the point? It was tedious and dull. I'm really tired of reading about Wagner's dual light/dark sides, of Robson climbing all over the city, of Ariel's endless internal dialogs about fashion, of the extraneous descriptions of every moon location - this book had no new ideas (even the ending with the (view spoiler)[ trial by combat (hide spoiler)] was done twice before in the previous books. Pretty much all the Suns, VTOs, and MacKenzies were interchangeable and hard to tell apart - and it doesn't even matter because they are just there to be red-shirt villains. And then there was the Marina storyline. What the fuck was even the point of that. Her chapters were the most tedious, and then the storyline gets no resolution at all. The first book was great. The second book was OK. The last book was awful.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    Oh man! The Mackenzies may " pay back three times", but damn, don't get ever on the Corta's bad side! This hasn't been the easiest series to get into, and I remember struggling mightily in book one to keep track of everyone and the different motives, and once the violent overthrow of the Cortas began, the deaths were numerous and often horrible, which continued into book two. This book has its share of sudden, violent death, but the Cortas are in a different place at the story's open, with Lucasi Oh man! The Mackenzies may " pay back three times", but damn, don't get ever on the Corta's bad side! This hasn't been the easiest series to get into, and I remember struggling mightily in book one to keep track of everyone and the different motives, and once the violent overthrow of the Cortas began, the deaths were numerous and often horrible, which continued into book two. This book has its share of sudden, violent death, but the Cortas are in a different place at the story's open, with Lucasinho brain-damaged, Lucas the Eagle of the Moon with Alexia his Iron hand, Arial on the run, and Robson under Wagner's care. There is still animosity amongst the families, even with all the contracted marriages between the Asamoahs, the Vorontsovs the Suns, the Mackenzies and the Cortas. Though family is everything to each scion on down, the marriages exert an interesting pull on individuals' loyalties, which has been fascinating to watch in each book. The moon and its anthing-goes society is oddly captivating, and though the environment is inherently dangerous and quick to kill, I was so not ready to say goodbye. I've followed the five Dragons and their machinations since book one, and have enjoyed all three installments of their story immensely. And though this book didn't feel quite like a conclusion, it is the end of the trilogy, with enough threads left open that I'm wishing for McDonald to revisit this series and its people.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    These books are epic on the scale of Game of Thrones, gory on the scale of Stephen King, clever on the scale of Kaz Brekker, and diverse to boot.  I recommend this series every chance I get. But that isn't to say the books aren't without their flaws.  There are definitely some things I would have liked tightened up.  The primary one being the amount of reading between the lines that's needed to fully grasp these books.  I happened to read this with buddies, who were wonderfully patient with me, a These books are epic on the scale of Game of Thrones, gory on the scale of Stephen King, clever on the scale of Kaz Brekker, and diverse to boot.  I recommend this series every chance I get. But that isn't to say the books aren't without their flaws.  There are definitely some things I would have liked tightened up.  The primary one being the amount of reading between the lines that's needed to fully grasp these books.  I happened to read this with buddies, who were wonderfully patient with me, and I like to think I would have understood better if my time wasn't so stretched and I could really sit down and pay attention, but the truth is you have to infer quite a bit of information from these books.  I had to re-read things a few times to figure out what I was witnessing. I'll be the first to tell you I'm really not that reader.  I like books that make me think about life, current events, philosophy, religion you name it, but I'd prefer if the events of the book are pretty straight forward.  This isn't something I detract a lot of points for, because readers deserve to have books that challenge them.  (As an aside- another beloved series, Terra Ignota is written a lot like this.  Maybe it's something I like more than I think I do.) The second thing I would have changed is that, reading this, I felt like a lot of information was purposefully withheld from readers in the earlier books just to make them more suspenseful.  That does annoy me.  One example is Wagner and his "lycanthropy".  It does finally get an explanation in this book but the explanation was so simple that the big reveal felt very anticlimactic. Finally, there were some characters whose storylines I hadn't really invested in in books one and two because their storylines take awhile to get ramped up and they never really felt like the focus.  Those storylines get some pretty thrilling conclusions in book three and I was cursing myself the whole time for not paying better attention to them.  Likewise, I found myself missing some of the characters who were more important players early on and sort of faded to the background here. But in the end, these books are some of the most entertaining books I've ever read.  The world building is solid, and it's never told in boring info dumps.  It throws you head first into this dark, ugly world with little more than a short dictionary to guide you.  The characters are whole and three dimensional, motivated by their own desires, with unique voices.  They're colorful and vibrant and pop off the page.  I adore the "heroes".  I love the justice dispensed to the villains.  I read the last 150 pages almost all in one sitting because the conclusion was so perfect, I couldn't look away for even a moment. I'm sad it's over, but I'm excited to jump into another McDonald book knowing what he's capable of, and even more thrilled by the possibility of a new series to sink my teeth into.  Perhaps most telling, is that I'm sincerely looking forward to re-reading them all when I have more time on my hands. This review can also be found on my blog, Hamlets & Hyperspace

  9. 4 out of 5

    Efka

    A great book that finishes a great trilogy. Really, I have no doubts now that a tv-series, if it ever reaches that far, would be a great and popular show, enjoyed by many diverse and different people. The annotations of these books often screams "Game of Thrones" meets "The Expanse" or something similar. While I can find vague similarities with both of these shows, the treachery, politics, absolute ruthlessness and even a few villains brings me up a whole different sci-fi mammooth - the legendar A great book that finishes a great trilogy. Really, I have no doubts now that a tv-series, if it ever reaches that far, would be a great and popular show, enjoyed by many diverse and different people. The annotations of these books often screams "Game of Thrones" meets "The Expanse" or something similar. While I can find vague similarities with both of these shows, the treachery, politics, absolute ruthlessness and even a few villains brings me up a whole different sci-fi mammooth - the legendary "Dune". And yes, "Luna" is more pop, more neon, with a slightly more 90-ies feeling to it than the "Dune", but it is a great book nevertheless. Everything in this book is up for the grabs - money, power, life. A really well thought-out and complete and satisfying end to a great series. I can only recommend it. It might have been too slow and too elongated to receive a full five stars, but rating it 4* is a no-brainer for me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    Well if you made it here to the end, then you know what to expect, and that's exactly what Moon Rising delivers: complicated, political, violent, and full of the expected unexpected. One thing of exceptional note is the writing. In this final book in particular McDonald shows his mastery of language and structure. Many passages are poems in the guise of narrative, adding an extra experiential layer to the story. She is never comfortable now. She has no comfort on this world. This chuckle of water, Well if you made it here to the end, then you know what to expect, and that's exactly what Moon Rising delivers: complicated, political, violent, and full of the expected unexpected. One thing of exceptional note is the writing. In this final book in particular McDonald shows his mastery of language and structure. Many passages are poems in the guise of narrative, adding an extra experiential layer to the story. She is never comfortable now. She has no comfort on this world. This chuckle of water, this seasoning of road dust, this high clear sky and somewhere, turning in it, the eagle, seem thin and translucent. Overlit, colours too bright. Lies. The tree is flat, insubstantial, paint on film. Set hand to that mountain and her fingers would go through it. The moon is ugly and the moon is cruel and the moon is unforgiving but she is only alive there. Come for the story, stay for the experience.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Satisfying ending of the trilogy. 4.5 stars. Probably not perfect but I’m a sucker for happy endings!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maja

    I can't believe that I have to wait until March 2019 for this book!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    3.5 stars I maybe should have read this soon after book 2 as I had a lot of remembering to do, and not always successful. :I

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Szal

    Phenomenal. The third act is absolute bonkers. Never before has the "Game of Thrones in space" comparison hit the mark as much as this one did. Moon Rising was one of my most anticipated novels of 2019, and when my publisher offered me the chance to read a pre-proof copy of the third and final installment of Ian McDonald's trilogy, I dived right in. Knowing it would be a dense and fantastic read, but afraid my expectations wouldn't be met. They were. They were met in spades. The prose is gorgeou Phenomenal. The third act is absolute bonkers. Never before has the "Game of Thrones in space" comparison hit the mark as much as this one did. Moon Rising was one of my most anticipated novels of 2019, and when my publisher offered me the chance to read a pre-proof copy of the third and final installment of Ian McDonald's trilogy, I dived right in. Knowing it would be a dense and fantastic read, but afraid my expectations wouldn't be met. They were. They were met in spades. The prose is gorgeous, the world-building dense and wonderfully detailed, the politics razorsharp, and the narrative revelations are mindbogglingly good. It's quite different from the two books, before we had dynastic families fighting each other, then for control of the moon. This time, they're fighting for the future of the moon, and how it is used as an economic, political and industrial outpost. There's definitely a sense of finality here, and the dread piles on as we see how things start to wrap up. It went in some areas I was *definitely* not expecting it to go, with some characters making some very questionable decisions. If you felt the plot turns were a bit muddy in the previous books, they're almost obfuscated here unless you're really, *really* paying attention to the political layout of the moon. I'd have liked for things to be a little more clearer and have significant narrative turns to be standing out more, if only to make them hit that much harder, but as it as I'm very satisfied with how these characters ended up and the direction the world is going to take. The Luna books have always been in-your-face and harsh, but things really go up to eleven here. The fate of some characters are well-earned, others downright tragic. But all of them (perhaps with the exception of one) feel satisfying. While "Wolf Moon" remains my favourite of the series, I'm hugely pleased with how this trilogy comes to a close. Ian McDonald has outdone himself and I cannot wait to see what others think of this one. Furiously written and unflinchingly fabulous, this one is an easy five stars.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I loved the first two books of this series very much but found the third rather impenetrable, possibly because there are a great many characters and, despite the useful brief synopsis at the beginning, I found it difficult to remember all that has happened to them. I would definitely recommend reading this hot on the heels of book 2. Now the focus is on the future of the moon as the remaining dragons (chiefs of the key familes) scramble for influence, and control of the dominant Corta family. 3. I loved the first two books of this series very much but found the third rather impenetrable, possibly because there are a great many characters and, despite the useful brief synopsis at the beginning, I found it difficult to remember all that has happened to them. I would definitely recommend reading this hot on the heels of book 2. Now the focus is on the future of the moon as the remaining dragons (chiefs of the key familes) scramble for influence, and control of the dominant Corta family. 3.5 stars rounded up. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.

  16. 5 out of 5

    NFG

    While the first two books were gripping and enjoyable, the third fell apart under the weight of its lore, It is an unenjoyable slog through lengthy and often unbelievable prose about characters who've ceased being people and become magnified caricatures. The first two books created a fascinating future with dynasties battling for control of the moon, and the third throws all of that away for a constant barrage of mystical, pointless proceedings that bloom into existence and die immediately afte While the first two books were gripping and enjoyable, the third fell apart under the weight of its lore, It is an unenjoyable slog through lengthy and often unbelievable prose about characters who've ceased being people and become magnified caricatures. The first two books created a fascinating future with dynasties battling for control of the moon, and the third throws all of that away for a constant barrage of mystical, pointless proceedings that bloom into existence and die immediately afterwards, a series of unfocused shotgun blasts that ultimately I can't be bothered to endure.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Shaffer

    I did not enjoy this book as much as the other two in the series, but Ian McDonald's writing is as gorgeous as ever, and his Byzantine Game of Thrones meets the 80's primetime soap Dynasty view of the Moon is as outrageous as ever. The story continues, and I will chomp at the bit for the next installment.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marylouise Dreibelbis

    I missed something here. Did Marina make it back to the moon or what? This series is a wild ride especially with the whole Game of Thrones thing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Teleseparatist

    I read the novel courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. It's rare that cover copy is as accurate as in the case of McDonald's Luna trilogy; I was promised A Game of Thrones on the moon, and I got pretty much that, except with an ending. Moon Rising brings a few excellent plot developments and character beats and a good conclusion to the story, but there was something about the style - the narrative choices of what was and wasn't shown, the omissions and descriptions - that kept I read the novel courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. It's rare that cover copy is as accurate as in the case of McDonald's Luna trilogy; I was promised A Game of Thrones on the moon, and I got pretty much that, except with an ending. Moon Rising brings a few excellent plot developments and character beats and a good conclusion to the story, but there was something about the style - the narrative choices of what was and wasn't shown, the omissions and descriptions - that kept me from becoming as immersed as I would have liked. It's not the grimdarkness (which is not that grim, after all; the story has some sense of humour and distance, frankly) but nevertheless, I think the first volume was the strongest of the three that I read in close succession. I guess my biggest complaint is that while I found the conclusion mostly satisfying, it seemed not quite strong enough for the fascinating, rich world McDonald imagined.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    Great conclusion to a soap opera set on the moon! It’s much more than a soap opera but Ian himself stated he was kind of inspired to write a Dallas set in space. Thankfully no It was all a dream with Bobby in the shower.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ophelia

    what??? I had no earthly idea this was happening and I'm crying a little rn

  22. 4 out of 5

    Liam

    "It is time for me to take the blade." - Lucas Corta Finally. I've been waiting for the finale to this saga for four years. And the result? Slightly disappointing. I'm probably being harsh, there's no way it could have lived up to my expectations. It's no secret I think that this series is the greatest piece of science fiction since sliced cyber-bread, and I recommend it to anyone who sits still long enough. In particular I recommend it to people who think GoT is overrated (my personal viewpoint), "It is time for me to take the blade." - Lucas Corta Finally. I've been waiting for the finale to this saga for four years. And the result? Slightly disappointing. I'm probably being harsh, there's no way it could have lived up to my expectations. It's no secret I think that this series is the greatest piece of science fiction since sliced cyber-bread, and I recommend it to anyone who sits still long enough. In particular I recommend it to people who think GoT is overrated (my personal viewpoint), and I think it does a better job of showing a ruthless, believable dynastic struggle than ol mate George's unfinished magnum opus. I said in my review of Wolf Moon that I felt like the end of the book was teetering on the edge of a precipice. As it turns out, in Moon Rising, it doesn't fall off the edge of the cliff so much as slowly coast down a gentle slope, before rising to a ski jump at the end. Moon Rising definitely takes its time, and reading the books back-to-back as I did, I got some severe whiplash - Wolf Moon's pace ramps all the way up, and then Moon Rising brings you to a screeching halt while you meander through the cast of characters - Lucasinho and Luna beng transferred to Farside (a setting I wish was explored more, as the university and their ghazis seem incredibly interesting), Marina coming to terms with being back on Earth, Lucas struggling with his irrelevance in the top job, and Alexia... building a pipe system for the slums of Barra Ailto? What? I can't say that the first half of the book is focused, because it isn't. It jumps around and the majority of plot threads are mostly unrelated to anything other than themselves, rather than the overarching plot of the book - Earth vs the Moon's independence. The second half of the book however is where it begins to climb that ski jump I mentioned, and I couldn't put it down. It never quite reaches the level of the first book, but in the end I was satisfied with the conclusion - albiet a few threads weren't tied up. As with the other books, there seemed to be very lax editing with the book - I noticed numerous little mistakes and the wrong names used, which still blows my mind. Maybe McDonald has a thing where he doesn't like people editing his books or something? No idea. Regardless, I'm happy with the finale. I do hope that there are more books in this universe as it is legitimately one of the most unique and engrossing settings that I've experienced, and I don't wanna leave. "The terrestrials think they are tough and can cut a shrewd deal but they haven't grown up negotiating every breath of air, every sip of water, every scrap of shelter scratched from the rock. They haven't argued for their lives with Dona Luna..." - Ariel Corta

  23. 5 out of 5

    Richard Read

    I admit, my expectations for *Luna: Moon Rising* were high. Maybe they were too high. Whatever the case, the novel failed to meet them. I came across the first book in the series, *Luna: New Moon*, by chance. I hadn't been much of a sci-fi reader before that, but McDonald painted such a vivid, compelling picture of the nearish-future and the families struggling for control of the moon that I was completely absorbed. I wanted to spend time with his well-drawn characters in their surprising, danger I admit, my expectations for *Luna: Moon Rising* were high. Maybe they were too high. Whatever the case, the novel failed to meet them. I came across the first book in the series, *Luna: New Moon*, by chance. I hadn't been much of a sci-fi reader before that, but McDonald painted such a vivid, compelling picture of the nearish-future and the families struggling for control of the moon that I was completely absorbed. I wanted to spend time with his well-drawn characters in their surprising, dangerous, fascinating world. When I put down the book after its gripping conclusion, my heart was racing. *Luna: Wolf Moon* didn't live up to the first novel, but I knew by then that Luna would be a trilogy. I was happy to cut the sophomore title some slack: I assumed it was like the second act in a play, the less-dazzling middle part of a story that joins a showy opening to its unforgettable finale. Sadly, *Moon Rising* failed to deliver, too. The characters I'd gotten to know in the first couple of books felt different, muddier, less distinct, less interesting. The few characters who intrigued me seemed like afterthoughts. (More Abena and Dakota, please!) I think the problem comes down to this: in *Moon Rising*, McDonald tries to show us that the fate of the moon is in the hands of the new generation--characters like Lucasinho and Luna. However, he tells the story through the eyes of its "old guard"--characters like Lucas, Lady Sun, and an indistinct mass of McKenzies. Insofar as there's a coherent theme running throughout the novel, it becomes more focused on nostalgia and loss than on the moon's exciting future. That could've been a viable option, but nostalgia depends on sadness, and I didn't feel sad for any of these people. The novel also suffers from an abundance of superfluous characters. We could probably do without Darius McKenzie and the many permutations of Vorontsovs. And the less said about the deeply unsatisfying Marina Calzaghe subplot, the better. One last thing: the Kindle version of the novel that I read was riddled with grammatical errors, like it had been rushed into production without the benefit of a decent proofread. Sometimes, character names were even jumbled--I remember Alexia and Ariel's names getting reversed on a couple of occasions, which is yet more proof that McDonald could've done with fewer characters. Don't misunderstand me: McDonald is an excellent writer. His gift for language is extraordinary, his turns of phrase will stop you in your tracks, and his worldbuilding skills are top-notch. In this case, though, I think he and his editor could've spent more time shaping the story to transform it from one that was merely good to one that stood up to the very best of sci-fi.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    This probably deserves 3.5 stars, but I'll throw in the extra half for pulling off the tricky task of closing out a trilogy. On its own, Moon Rising struggles to get going and takes a rather laborious route to get to the final third when all the shit goes down, but that final third is a lot of fun. And while neither of the second two books in this trilogy quite live up to Luna: New Moon, which I would still rate as one of the most entertaining books I read this decade, Moon Rising does a satisfa This probably deserves 3.5 stars, but I'll throw in the extra half for pulling off the tricky task of closing out a trilogy. On its own, Moon Rising struggles to get going and takes a rather laborious route to get to the final third when all the shit goes down, but that final third is a lot of fun. And while neither of the second two books in this trilogy quite live up to Luna: New Moon, which I would still rate as one of the most entertaining books I read this decade, Moon Rising does a satisfactory job of tying off (most of the) loose ends, giving most characters closure or comeuppance, and using the end of the cycle of change begun in the first book to set the stage for a new era on the moon, which we may or may not see. And yes, there's cake.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nick Lechler

    Let me try to find words for this book, this whole trilogy. Ian McDonalds „LUNA“-series is inaccessible, even repulsive at times. Its highly complex story wrestles with you. Its grim, sharp-edged world does not want you in it. And the character’s soulless business (driven by a very own sense of ethics) doesn’t want any spectators. Or witnesses. ° ° ° But if you let yourself in for these novels, you’ll discover ingeniously plotted and stunningly realized Sci-Fi. Pt. 3 is a near perfect (and surpris Let me try to find words for this book, this whole trilogy. Ian McDonalds „LUNA“-series is inaccessible, even repulsive at times. Its highly complex story wrestles with you. Its grim, sharp-edged world does not want you in it. And the character’s soulless business (driven by a very own sense of ethics) doesn’t want any spectators. Or witnesses. ° ° ° But if you let yourself in for these novels, you’ll discover ingeniously plotted and stunningly realized Sci-Fi. Pt. 3 is a near perfect (and surprisingly „happy“) end to this trilogy which means that this is the first time EVER that I award each and every book in a series with a review of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

  26. 5 out of 5

    Radiantflux

    108th book for 2019. A disappointing ending for what should have been a excellent trilogy. The first book was great and then, it just went down hill. Lots of characters are mentioned here, without much purpose. I strongly get the idea that McDonald had a lot of passion for this project but lost interest, or simply didn't know how to conclude things. Too bad. 2-stars.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mitchell

    Overwhelming. Disappointing. Incoherent. And not especially well edited - especially in the first third of the book - there were missed words, misspellings and even the wrong name. I think the book just got away from the author. There's a lot here. And the world and the characters are interesting and fascinating. But also ugly. And violent in a quite uncomfortable way. I was hoping for a different book. I think this series is still worth reading, including this book. But not I was hoping for.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Patrick St-Denis

    If you've been following the Hotlist for a while, you are aware that every single Ian McDonald adult novel I've read since creating this blog has ended up in my Top 10 for that year. Hence, I was pretty excited when I learned that he was taking a break from his foray into the YA market to return to the more hardcore science fiction works that made him an award-winning author. And yet, although Luna: New Moon was another quality read, it wasn't quite as captivating as books such as River of Gods, If you've been following the Hotlist for a while, you are aware that every single Ian McDonald adult novel I've read since creating this blog has ended up in my Top 10 for that year. Hence, I was pretty excited when I learned that he was taking a break from his foray into the YA market to return to the more hardcore science fiction works that made him an award-winning author. And yet, although Luna: New Moon was another quality read, it wasn't quite as captivating as books such as River of Gods, Brasyl, or The Dervish House. As the first installment in a promising two-book cycle, it wasn't as self-contained and satisfying as those stand-alone novels. Imagine my disappointment when I learned--after finishing reading Luna: Wolf Moon, it must be said--that this series was now a trilogy. I was expecting a thrilling endgame and a great finale. Not a middle book. Still, McDonald definitely upped the ante and that second volume set the stage for what could be a memorable finale. Which brings us to Luna: Moon Rising, the final chapter in this series. I had high expectations for this one, it goes without saying. And unfortunately, suffering from the same shortcomings that plagued its predecessor, the book failed to live up to the potential generated by the first two installments. It's a good book, mind you. Trouble is, Ian McDonald has accustomed us to great scifi works, not merely good ones. Here's the blurb: The continuing saga of the Five Dragons, Ian McDonald's fast-paced, intricately plotted space opera pitched as Game of Thrones meets The Expanse. A hundred years in the future, a war wages between the Five Dragons—five families that control the Moon’s leading industrial companies. Each clan does everything in their power to claw their way to the top of the food chain—marriages of convenience, corporate espionage, kidnapping, and mass assassinations. Through ingenious political manipulation and sheer force of will, Lucas Cortas rises from the ashes of corporate defeat and seizes control of the Moon. The only person who can stop him is a brilliant lunar lawyer, his sister, Ariel. Witness the Dragons' final battle for absolute sovereignty in Ian McDonald's heart-stopping finale to the Luna trilogy. Understandably, Tor Books continues to market these novels as Game of Thrones on the moon. With rivalries between families/corporations at the heart of the story, to a certain extent it is an apt description. But it is much more than that. To all ends and purposes, it has more to do with rival mafia families than competing corporate entities, so in many ways it is more The Godfather than Game of Thrones. Like George R. R. Martin's bestselling A Song of Ice and Fire, it's an extremely devious and cutthroat environment where absolutely anything can happen. There is no law on the moon. Everything can be negotiated. And in the end, everything is. As always, Ian McDonald's worldbuilding is incredible. Using the moon as a backdrop, the author managed to capture the essence of what living and thriving in such harsh conditions entail. His prose once again brought the moon and its inhabiants to life in vivid fashion. His eye for details creates an imagery and an atmosphere that is nothing short of stunning. Whatever the premise of his novels, McDonald's narrative always makes you feel as though you're part of the action. In that regard at least, Luna: Moon Rising features the same kind of superior worldbuilding that made River of Gods and The Dervish House such amazing reads. Once more, characterization was the aspect of this book that left the most to be desired. The multi-perspective narrative habitually works well for Ian McDonald. Still, one has to wonder if there was need for so many POV characters in Luna: New Moon and Luna: Wolf Moon. Too often in this trilogy, it feels as though lots of scenes and/or points of view turn out to be extraneous material that bring little or nothing to the storylines. The enormous cast of characters is comprised of disparate protagonists and you can never tell how these multilayered plotlines will come together at the end. As always, there is the usual confusion of not really understanding where the author is taking the plot. If you are an Ian McDonald fan, that comes with the territory, no matter what book you're reading. And when the various threads come together and you finally understand what is actually going on, it is usually awesome. Problem is, the Luna novels are a veritable mess of POVs. And since most of the names sound the same, too often was I forced to go to the back of the book to peruse the Dramatis Personae. As a big Malazan fan, numerous protagonists/plotlines have never been a problem for me. But when it's hard to differentiate them from one another, regardless of what family they're from, it becomes a serious issue. Ultimately, I felt that Luna: Moon Rising would have benefited from a more limited amount of perspectives. In terms of rhythm, Ian McDonald more or less followed the same blueprint he used for the first two volumes. The pace is relatively slow for the first 2/3 of the book, and then things pick up and the endgame turned out to be quite unpredictable. The finale was compelling and closed the show with style. Still, as was the case with its predecessors, a more balanced rhythm would have made Luna: Moon Rising more enjoyable. Mostly known for his stand-alone science fiction works, given the smaller wordcount Ian Mc Donald has always excelled within a more constraining framework. Writing a trilogy meant that he could really open things up and it appears that the author may have gone a little too over-the-top with the characterization. Which, in the end, certainly didn't work as well as I thought it would. As I mentioned, the Luna trilogy is a good series, but not as gripping and engrossing as some of his previous works. As such, if you are not yet acquainted with the author, these books may not be the best jumping point for new readers. I'd recommend reading the aforementioned science fiction titles by Ian McDonald before giving his latest series a shot. For more info about this title: www.fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    "That old Sun proverb: even the gods cannot help a woman who will not take an opportunity." Luna: Moon Rising follows in the footsteps of its predecessors. There are too many characters, too many political machinations, and a lot of sex and violence. This is one of my favorite series, so I think it's fair to say all of that is good with me! The four remaining Dragons and new Eagle of the Moon continue to struggle over control of the moon, while also working on a deal with the terrestrials to "That old Sun proverb: even the gods cannot help a woman who will not take an opportunity." Luna: Moon Rising follows in the footsteps of its predecessors. There are too many characters, too many political machinations, and a lot of sex and violence. This is one of my favorite series, so I think it's fair to say all of that is good with me! The four remaining Dragons and new Eagle of the Moon continue to struggle over control of the moon, while also working on a deal with the terrestrials to supply Earth with energy from the moon. Unbeknownst to the characters, the terrestrials have a plan that would bring life on the Moon as they know it to an end. Moon Rising opens with an action scene, but the first half of the novel is a bit slow-moving, though still interesting as it sets the board and positions the players to make their moves in a late, quick moving climax. There is a lot of action-buildings are blown up, Denny Makenzie fights in the rain, battles are fought in the moondust and on top of moving shuttles, and there is even a car chase. The political game is a strong point in the series, and that was really interesting in this one as well. "‘The Cortas are the most egocentric, narcissist, arrogant – outright weird – pack of fucks I have ever met,’ Marina says. ‘And every second I am away from them, it kills me.’" As usual (in my opinion) most of the emotional beats lie with the Cortas, whose family motto has always been "Family first", and is where the series always gets me the most. Little Luna Corta spends much of the novel taking care of her cousin Lucasinho, who gave her the last of his oxygen in the last book and starts off this one in a coma. The love she shows for Lucasinho is touching, as are Lucas's emotions over the state of his son. Wagner Corta's growing parental love for Robson and Robson's affection for Wagner is really great to read as well, especially after all the two have been through. Even Ariel, who has separated herself from the family business, shows her love for her family in her own way. The problem, though, is that while the Cortas and their intra-family relationships are well-developed, I struggled to be interested in most non-Corta characters. I love Abena and Lousika Asamoah, as well as Dakota and Rosalie, who are newcomers in this book, but I find most of the Makenzie characters to be indistinguishable. The Vorontsovs are uninteresting because they are underused and rarely get a POV section, and the only Sun I somewhat care about is Darius. There are also a lot of unfinished plot threads. Darius makes a bid for Makenzie Metals, has half a fight scene, and disappears the rest of the book. Abena finds Ariel a new fighter for court and she never gets used. Even Dakota, a new character introduced in this book who is an incredibly skilled fighter, is given little more to do than babysit the Cortas. But the most egregious of these dropped threads, and the one I'm not quite ready to forgive even though I finished this a month ago at the time of writing, was Marina's plot. McDonald did a great job of developing Marina and Ariel's relationship in the previous book, and showing their developing feelings for each other even while Marina's return to Earth loomed over her. He builds off of this in Moon Rising and then! completely just drops it at the last minute, leaving the reader with a terrible cliffhanger in their relationship that I think about constantly. I really missed having Lucasinho as a POV in this one, as he's my favorite character in the series. I also think the end was kind of abrupt and rushed, and there were quite a few errors (mixed up character names, spelling, etc.) so I think perhaps it was rushed a bit. But overall, I still liked this! I love reading the world that McDonald has created-the culture of the moon society is well-crafted and lived in, with detailed customs and differences between living on Earth and living on the Moon. I love the Cortas so much and it was nice to see them again. It's weird to think that I have no more of these to read. Ian McDonald please give us a Marina/Ariel novella because I cannot live on this cliff forever! blog

  30. 5 out of 5

    Paul Spence

    Ian McDonald's Luna trilogy has been a favourite of mine and it reaches its conclusion with the final book Moon Rising. The series is epic on the scale of Game of Thrones and clever on the scale of Kaz Brekker, and diverse to boot. I recommend this series every chance I get. But that isn't to say the books aren't without their flaws. There are definitely some things I would have liked tightened up. The primary one being the amount of reading between the lines that's needed to fully grasp these bo Ian McDonald's Luna trilogy has been a favourite of mine and it reaches its conclusion with the final book Moon Rising. The series is epic on the scale of Game of Thrones and clever on the scale of Kaz Brekker, and diverse to boot. I recommend this series every chance I get. But that isn't to say the books aren't without their flaws. There are definitely some things I would have liked tightened up. The primary one being the amount of reading between the lines that's needed to fully grasp these books. I happened to read this with buddies, who were wonderfully patient with me, and I like to think I would have understood better if my time wasn't so stretched and I could really sit down and pay attention, but the truth is you have to infer quite a bit of information from these books. I had to re-read things a few times to figure out what I was witnessing. I'll be the first to tell you I'm really not that reader. I like books that make me think about life, current events, philosophy, religion you name it, but I'd prefer if the events of the book are pretty straight forward. This isn't something I detract a lot of points for, because readers deserve to have books that challenge them. (As an aside- another beloved series, Terra Ignota is written a lot like this. Maybe it's something I like more than I think I do.) The second thing I would have changed is that, reading this, I felt like a lot of information was purposefully withheld from readers in the earlier books just to make them more suspenseful. That does annoy me. One example is Wagner and his "lycanthropy". It does finally get an explanation in this book but the explanation was so simple that the big reveal felt very anticlimactic. Finally, there were some characters whose story lines I hadn't really invested in in books one and two because their story lines take awhile to get ramped up and they never really felt like the focus. Those story lines get some pretty thrilling conclusions in book three and I was cursing myself the whole time for not paying better attention to them. Likewise, I found myself missing some the characters who were more important players early on and sort of faded to the background here. But in the end, these books are some of the most entertaining books I've ever read. The world building is solid, and it's never told in boring info dumps. It throws you head first into this dark, ugly world with little more than a short dictionary to guide you. The characters are whole and three dimensional, motivated by their own desires, with unique voices. They're colourful and vibrant and pop off the page. I adore the "heroes". I love the justice dispensed to the villains. I read the last 150 pages almost all in one sitting because the conclusion was so perfect, I couldn't look away for even a moment. I'm sad it's over, but I'm excited to jump into another McDonald book knowing what he's capable of, and even more thrilled by the possibility of a new series to sink my teeth into. Perhaps most telling, is that I'm sincerely looking forward to re-reading them all when I have more time on my hands.

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