Book Review: "Eye of the Moonrat" by Trevor H. Cooley
The Eye of the Moonrat is the first book of the Book of Souls series. Three of these books are out, with a fourth anticipated soon.
Trevor H. Cooley’s first book Eye of the Moonrat introduces us to the world of Justan, a young man who wants to be a warrior, from the first chapter to the last; we are never to forget just how important this path is to Justan. While Justan may not always give weight to the alternatives to his career choice, we have to sympathize when it gets threated throughout the course of the book. Quirky characters such as the dwarf Lenny (or Lenui) follow Justan on his path and help him to gain perspective on a world outside the Battle Academy that he knows.
We pick up aspects of the politics of the Battle and Mage Academies, but do not yet know the interworkings of either, as Justan is an outsider in both worlds, much as he identifies as a warrior. Still, the interest of the Mage Academy in Justan, in spite of his own reluctance leads us to wonder what role he will have going forward.
But Justan is not the only character we are following. One of the interesting things I found about this book was how it gave viewpoints to non-human or even humanlike characters, as we get to see into the struggles of Fist the ogre, and Deathclaw the raptiod. The unique thought processes of Deathclaw especially gave the reader another outlook on how the wizard Ewzad was threating their world. I found their struggles to be one of the most heart-wrenching parts of Eye of the Moonrat. The moonrat itself, a large rat like creature with glowing eyes, arms growing out of its back, and a hand on its tail, is original and horrifying when the creatures attack Justan on his journey.
And we also get hints of trouble to come through Ewzad, a wizard who is a nasty piece of work and his mysterious conversations with a woman who sees the moonrats as her children, who both serve an unseen Dark Voice.
The prologue is intense and introduces the readers to the stakes of the novel and the series, and lets us know that the characters don’t really know what they are in for. The pacing is slower, letting the reader pick up the world around the characters as the plot unfolds. The ending is a natural stopping stop, but lets us clearly know that there is more of this story to come.
In the end the book introduces us to a young man who wants to be a hero in one way and has blocked out all thoughts of another path, failure is not an option for him. And it tells the story of an ogre who risks his social place in the tribe for the greater good of his society, and a raptiod who is forced to make his way in the world after his way of life is utterly destroyed. We have yet to see the individual roles they will play in the greater series, but I am very interested to find out.