Rising above the city of Collis is the holy Sanctum. And watching over its spires is Catrin, an orphan girl with unique skills—for she alone can spot the building’s flaws in construction before they turn deadly.
But when Catrin witnesses a murderer escaping the scene of his crime, she’s pulled into the web of a dangerous man who will definitely strike again. Assigned to capture the culprit is the mysterious, brilliant, and enigmatic Simon, whose insights into the mind of a killer are frighteningly accurate.
As the grisly crimes continue, Catrin finds herself caught between murderer and detective while hiding her own secret—a supernatural sight granted by the moon, destined to make her an outcast, and the only thing that might save her and those she loves from becoming the next victims…
In this medieval YA fantasy thriller, an orphan with a secret, magical sight gets caught between a mysterious genius and the serial killer he’s hunting.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own, and I am writing a voluntary review.
This book was so right up my alley, you have no idea! I love me a good, dark crime thriller, and this one had magic! So, it was perfect, but I am not joking when I say it’s dark and not for the faint of heart…
Blood and Moonlight is a twisting dark mystery in a fantastical world reminiscent of France, and reminded me of Stalking Jack the Ripper, Netflix’s Mindhunter, Criminal Minds, and a dash of magic paired with a Hunchback of Notre Dame setting.
The mystery was extremely, EXTREMELY, well executed! I honestly could not guess who the killer was, and I love how we had several suspects, and it was only when all the pieces fell into place, in the right order, that it made sense and it was so clear. I really appreciate that in a mystery, and Erin Beaty did a fantastic job of sprinkling in clues while always raising more questions. So many questions! About Catrin’s past, about who Simon is, the voices, the Selenae…so many questions, but asked with a trust that the author will reveal all at the right time. There are no loose ends with this story!
It was a very fast-paced story, managing to keep up the intensity while also delivering deep world-building, character development, and a very cool, strict magic system. My curiosity about the world was piqued right from the start, I was immediately pulled into the story, and Catrin was such a incredible protagonist to follow! She has so much spunk and courage, and she didn’t lack relatability and authenticity.
The romance felt very natural—just the way teenagers fall in love. And I guess there was a little bit of love rhombusing in this one, but I truly didn’t mind! In fact, if you can call it a love triangle, it is the best love triangle I’ve ever read, because I didn’t hate it! Or really even think of it that way. It was just two separate situations, without any leading on or playing both sides. Both relationships felt very honest and valuable, and Catrin had very clear intentions with both Remi and Simon.
I also really appreciated the author’s note and Juliane’s character, starting with her strange way of talking, and then learning more about her struggle with schizophrenia. Having had some personal experience with family suffering from this mental illness, I really appreciated the compassion with which Erin Beaty approached the subject, and I think it was very well done. I hope that Juliane helps readers learn not to fear those with extremely difficult mental illness, but to have more compassion for them instead.
Now, the unsavory bits! As I mentioned above, this mystery does not hold back it’s punches, and so it will definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea. I love myself some true crime, so I wasn’t shocked or offended by the content, but those less accustomed to forensic crime (Criminal Minds, SVU, etc.) may have difficulty with some of the content. However, while the content (namely deaths of the victims) are gruesome and disturbing, the descriptions are very simple and not excessive, so you understand what happened without any gratuitous details.
There was something about this book that really grabbed a hold of me and didn’t let go. And it wasn’t just the thrilling mystery. I think it’s that desire for justice we all have, to uncover the truth no matter how ugly it may be. It is only when everything is exposed to the light (or should I say, the moonlight) that we can grieve the truth, process, and find a way forward.
All in all, I have to give this five stars, with a trigger warning. I will definitely be reading this book again when I want a good creepy mystery, or a boost of inspiration! Yeah, I’m a dark soul sometimes…
Trigger Warnings: Rape, Violence, Incest
Gore: 6 (descriptions of murder victims, but murders do not take place on page)