*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.
Antonio is a young man in Dasalin, his home village. He's graduating from high school and his life is changing. He knows there is something more out there for him, but he doesn't know what. But the langbuan that terrorize the village once a month on Ghost Moon Night seem like a good reason to leave, but he can't. His family needs him to stay and help. He will do about anything to help his grandfather who is not well.
The story starts with a mesmerizing tale of how the curse came to be in this village. Years ago, Pirates caught pillaging livestock were punished to death by drowning on the beach. A young boy tries to dig them out, but can't. So before drowning the leader curses the village. Once a month on ghost moon night the evil spirits will rise. Now we live in a world where langbuan terrorize the village one night a month, on Ghost Moon Night.
Keith shows his talent in vocals in this story. He's added an echo type feel to when the langbuan are talking. He's done different tones and personalities in voices to know character to character who is talking. Keith does a wonderful job of pronouncing many of the local words in this story. He speaks them in their sentence as if they roll off his tongue on a regular bases.
We all have those tendencies to do something that's not right, but what do you do with the knowledge after you've done it? Or learned of how things are far worse than you expected? This book is full of these moments as Antonio grows and sees more of the way of the world around him and what Antonio has to work through. Decisions and actions have repercussions.
This story is definitely for middle grade kids. I felt like it the direction of the book was of Antonio's life. The rights and wrongs he did and what he learned from them as he graduates from high school and works around his village. When we first meet Antonio he feels immature for graduation age, and expects more of the world. He knows what's right and wrong but gets caught up in worrying for his family. But, Antonio grows through the book. He seems to learn from his mistakes and becomes a better person for it.
This book was on the slow side for me as a listener. I think because it's of a middle school grade and easier for younger readers to follow and enjoy. For that, it's wonderful for young readers. There is no violence, other than the langbaun who terrorize and cause deaths, and there are no over intimate moments either. It's just right to trust with young readers.
We start in the story weeks away from Ghost Moon Night and this is getting to know the characters before then, but feels as it doesn't have a direction. I thought the book would focus around Ghost Moon Night and it's events. It's something that's a curse in this village and people work around it. It's always in the back of their minds and after the Ghost Moon Night there are consequences that people have to work through. But it's not the primary focus of the story. The story focuses on Antonio. But in the last two hours of the audio book, the story takes off and all that Antonio went though comes back together to solve the mystery of the langbuan and how he can stop them.
I really liked the creation of the beliefs, spirits, and curses here in the village. It was alive and felt real.