Moths, Orreries, and Warfare

Moth Saga books 1-3 by Daniel Arenson

This saga has 6 books in total but you can buy them in 3 book sets, so I am going to review the sets individually, but not the books individually as they basically are each a straight follow-on from the previous.

In the books 1-3 you are introduced to a fantasy world where there are two halves. One where the sun never shines and one where it never stops shining.

The world doesn’t turn, it is claimed, because a large [very large indeed] boulder fell from the sky and disturbed the rotation, but before that it did turn and thus the two halves were separated many millennia ago. Each half contains several human races inhabiting different climates and evolving into different nations with different physical characteristics. There are a number of characteristics that every nation of each half has in common however.

Those inhabiting the light side of the planet, are generally very tall, brownish or tanned, and muscular – with extremes of this characteristic in certain areas such as the deep forests and the cold lands where the inhabitants are more Norse god like and very tall and very burly.

Those inhabiting the dark side of the planet have very large eyes indeed in order to be able to see in the dark – think marmosets – and tend to be small and thin and pale of skin and with white hair. They have been leached of colour by the lack of light.

The food they eat on the dark side has also been adjusted to the lack of light. Mushrooms of various kinds are key fare and also fish with lanterns on their heads – as in the angler fish that live in the very dark depths of our ocean.

angler_fish

These fish lanterns are very useful as apparently they carry on giving out light even when cut off and so are used within lanterns as a form of light source – in the fish in the depths of our oceans there are about 200 species of anglerfish found throughout our world’s oceans. The angler gets its name from the elongated dorsal spine that supports a light-producing organ known as a photophore. Through a chemical process known as bioluminescence, this photophore can produce a blue-green light similar to that of a firefly on land[http://www.seasky.org/deep-sea/anglerfish.html]

The people on the dark side also like salted bat wings. They don’t seem to have many animals that live in the main areas, but some panthers and other large wolves do manage to live on the dark side. They use these animals as war machines/transport and they are clearly ferocious and fearsome to encounter.

I found that books 1-3 were very compelling and compulsive reading. Loved the armour that different races (can we call them that?) wore especially the different helmets with moustaches and so on.. wish there were some drawings of them. But and this was a big but for me, especially as the saga developed – there was too much blood and gore for me but did think that (young?)males would love the fight scenes.

Just one point – the Chinese had invented canons and a form of a Gatling gun by the 14th century so why hadn’t all these civilisations developed more technology. After all they had had over 10,000 years of the world not turning and unknown numbers of thousands prior to that. Once again, my big grumble, fantasy novels have a habit of setting their stories in the medieval or earlier ages. I was also very concerned about the scene inside the Cabera mountain and the orrery. Was the mechanics of all the worlds disturbed ? was this a control centre for all of them or just a representation? This was not made clear. Neither was the outcome of all the damage the fight made to the orrery. At the end I was left with questions.

Did all the worlds in the system have their own clock?

Will we ever find out?

Who were the master civilisation who made the clearly artificial worlds?

Was this in fact a computer game?

And my final comment is about the ending to book 3. I thought this a cop out. It was so obviously intended to introduce follow on books but…

It seemed to me that a civilisation such as that which existed on the dark side could have invented an herbal sun cream – and sun glasses and worn clothes like desert dwellers. Mushroom farms need shade which is easy to arrange with a few bits of bamboo shelters or caves where daylight is managed. And as for the light side – light more lanterns when it gets dark! And stop complaining about bruises.

Giving it less than a year for people to adjust when it had taken thousands of years for the people, plants and animals to evolve was really lame – especially – spoiler here – in books 4-6 when forced to, people can eat the food from the other side of the world, and live in it for a time, so having both sun and dark is possible.

 

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