Title: The White Road of the Moon
Author: Rachel Neumeier
Meridy has always been able to see ghosts. With her black eyes and Southern blood, she’s distrusted as a witch even among her own village. But when an encounter with a strange ghost leads her to a journey she never expected, she finds herself in the middle of a conflict that has raged for hundreds of years. And even death won’t stop the fighting . . .
I love the worldbuilding in this. The border between life and death, the ghosts, the White Road of the Moon, the real and the ethreal—it feels like the story explains everything well, but still barely scratches the surface of what might be possible. And as Meridy learns more about what is possible, and what she can do, it’s interesting to see how it compares to the daydreams she has in the very beginning, where she wants to be a sorcerer and delve into the most powerful arts. I also want to mention the bits of poetry, which I’m curious to hear in audiobook format, and whose translations are nicely lyrical.
The characters are equally solid. Meridy is young and ignorant of the wider world, but well-educated for all that. I liked how believable her journey was, both in its events and in her emotions. I also really liked Herren (poor kid). He’s vastly put-upon, but never complaining, and I think he lends a somewhat different facet to all those types of stories about young children being the Chosen One. (Technically, Meridy could also fit that role, but she’s more of the Mentor than the Chosen One herself.) Herren’s fate is something everyone’s squabbling over, but he himself only has the smallest choices in all of it. Yet they are the choices that decide everything.
The ghost characters are also a lot of fun. Being ghosts, they don’t follow quite the same rules as ordinary folk, but with Meridy there to lend a hand, things can get a lot more interesting.
And I especially liked the ending. The imagery of prophecy flows through the events, and I loved the way everything was portrayed.
All in all, this is a great book. It’s pretty self-contained, but I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing a sequel somewhere down the road. I rate this book Recommended.