First person point of view can be difficult to read sometimes, and when the person telling the story is unlikable, it becomes excruciating. Just finishing Moongazer took extreme effort, and if I never read another heroine like Skye Brown, that’s fine with me. This is the second in the Shomi imprint of “speculative romance”, and I hope in the future they come up with better offerings than this one.
Skye Brown has a great life. She develops multi-player game systems, has a great boyfriend, and spends her evenings dancing at Luna, a hip club. Just because she wakes up after terrifying nightmares involving men with needles chasing her doesn’t mean anything is wrong. Her yoga teacher Glenda would tell her to just relax and breathe through it. However, in the strangest dream of all, Glenda tells Skye, “Seek Dawn, avoid Duske, and never, ever look into the moon,”, then shows her some strange symbols. Skye is clueless until one evening she goes to her favorite dance club and ends up somewhere completely different. (Insert not so subtle rip off of the Matrix.)
Skye regains awareness in a small room with goggles attached to her eyes. When she leaves the room, she notices each of the other rooms have a moon symbol on the door. After some confusion, it turns out the strange symbols from Glenda are a phone number to the mysterious Dawn, who comes to take her away from the Moongazing station where she awoke.
On “Terra” there are two classes of people, the Indys, who have the money and power and are ruled by the Circle of Eight, and everyone else, who are basically slaves and work in dangerous conditions to provide the Indys with their quality of life. The atmosphere on the surface is unbreathable, so everyone lives underground. The Indys live on the safe Stratum One, while the rest live in squalor on Stratum Two. Mutations are common in the people, and those who are not Indys are sarcastically called Dark Siders.
Dawn turns out to be a smokin’ hot guy, but he keeps calling Skye by the name of Mariah and telling her that she led a rebellion of some Dark Siders – called Eclipsers – against the Circle of Eight and their new craze, “Moon Gazing.” The Circle promotes “Gazing” as the gateway to “Earth”, where everything is safe and wonderful. They encourage people to buy tickets to Gazing stations to make the trip to Earth and live out their lives there in safety. The Circle sets up the Gazers with new identities and money for them on Earth so they will have no trouble integrating into their new world. Since Skye knows first hand how great Earth is, she wants to return to it post haste, and refuses to believe anything Dawn says about her really being Mariah Quinn.
Turns out Mariah was the people’s heroine, an Indy with a future seat on the Circle of Eight, and she didn’t believe a word of how wonderful traveling to Earth was, until she started Gazing to obtain inside information. One day she didn’t come back at all after traveling to the Gazing station, coincidentally on the same day one of their biggest sabotage events was planned. Many Eclipsers were killed that day and the rebellion was crushed. Dawn firmly believes that Mariah betrayed them to get the money for her final trip to Earth by selling them out to a Duske, a member of the Circle and a former suitor of Mariahs’s. Of course Duske is the archfiend of the book and plays the gullible Skye very neatly into his own nefarious plans. I could almost see him cackling and twirling his mustache in glee. Mariah spends most of her time whether it’s with Dawn or Duske whining about her current cruel and unfair situation on Terra.
When people refuse to see the truth under their very noses it drives me crazy. I hold characters in books to this same standard. Skye played the, “poor me, this can’t be happening,” card throughout the book. Dawn and the Eclipsers demonstrated reality to her over and over again, but Skye refused to believe any of it. I hated her character, and because everything was told from her point of view, the book was horrendous. Dawn deserved a much better heroine. He seemed like an interesting guy, but again, it was all told from Skye’s point of view, and she spent much of her time whining about how mean Dawn was to her, while still lusting after his body, of course.
There’s no real surprise involving the storyline here – and for those confused by my review, I suggest looking up the first definition of “terra” in Webster’s for a clue (to say more would give a spoiler). Anyone can figure out the reality of the situation, which flies in the face of the book’s central premise: that the citizens of Terra believe in Circle propaganda. Of course, if they do, they are idiots. Skye is the number one idiot, and she can take her poor me attitude far, far away from me. Skip this one, it’s not worth it, in any way.