Review - Luna New Moon by Ian McDonald

Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The moon has a cold heart.

For me, this was a frustratingly great read which should have received a full five stars. However, due to the many, many mistakes I had to lower my rating.

Hailed the “Game of Domes”, the story follows one of the five dynasties, or ‘Dragons’, who control the moon. We follow all members of the Corta family, and some others, through their various political, financial and romantic challenges.

McDonald cites the Godfather as a key influence and you can see that throughout. The interfamily struggles and the battles with the other Dragons are all handled superbly and remain intriguing all the way from start to finish.

McDonald won a Gaylactic Spectrum Award in 2016 for this book, which was well deserved. In the world he has created, discrimination against sexuality doesn’t exist and people can marry whoever they want. Reading this gave me hope for what could become a reality, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Another great thing about this story is McDonald’s description of the difference between poor and rich. Anyone who has ever been in financial difficulty will be able to relate to this.

Poverty stretches time. And poverty is an avalanche. One tiny slippage knocks on another, knocks loose yet others and everything is sliding, rushing away.

The might and magic of money is not what it allows you to own; it is what it allows you to be. Money is freedom.


The characters are sculpted really well, probably one of the crowning achievements of the book is how McDonald is able to write so many good characters, storylines, trials and tribulations within 400 pages. A lesser author might have had to write 800 pages but McDonald is able to write concisely, which moves the story along.

Notable issues

The writing is altogether beautiful, jarring and erroneous. Most frustrating of all is the sheer amount of errors. I’m not sure who is at fault but another pass by the editor should have fixed this.

Forgetting to include full stops at the end of sentences, or place commas anywhere in sentences that clearly need them are huge mistakes in my view. And this happens often.

There is a whole interaction in chapter four where speech marks are totally forgotten about.

There are just some obvious spelling mistakes. blood oh-two = O2. Plashing = Splashing.

There is an absolute doosey near the end where something is happening between the Cortas and the MacKenzies. In the Corta dock, Rafa, Lucas, Wagner and Ariel Mackenzie. It isn’t the Mackenzies, it’s the Cortas.

Some of the writer’s style choices annoyed me, namely his need to say things three times. Every time this happened it jarred me out of the story. To me it was a bit much.

…out of boredom and familiarity and monotony. Flat flat flat. Monotony monotony monotony.

Is it a minimalist refuge from the endless voices and colours and noise and rush of people, people, people?

…all wrong, and real real real.

I just saw faces faces faces, all around me…

...question after question, questions, three hours of questions. Details. Memories. Tell me again again again.

I might just be nit-picking, but all of the above, and the multiple other mistakes throughout the book tear you out of the world in your head and stop the flow of the story. Above all, they could’ve been easily fixed.

Final thought

You shouldn’t let my minor rant about the mistakes above stop you from reading the book. It was a great story and I will be reading the next book very shortly (release date 23 March). This should have been a five star book as it got everything right, it was just too many errors that knocked down my rating.

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