Hillary Hause is not a witch. But, everyone in her conservative small town thinks so. When she is given a trip to Hawaii for graduation, this energetic eighteen-year-old anticipates adventure but gets more than she bargained for when Moa, an ancient Hawaiian spirit, pays her an unexpected visit.
With the help of her older sister, Molly and her seven-year-old niece, Heidi, Hillary embarks on a journey in which she not only saves herself, her family and Moa, but also the Hawaiian Islands. In the end, she learns to accept herself and her spiritual gifts warts and all.
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The ReviewThe Bad and the Good
The plot. I had mixed feelings on the plot. At the first part, I was drawn in. Everything was so mysterious and unlike anything I'd ever read before. Hilary was an enigma to me, and even a bigger enigma was the narrator of the novel. I liked the way the mystery shrouded the book for the first part, and the way hints are dropped along the way. But then again, I felt that in a way, there were portions of the book which slightly disappointed me and left me feeling confused. There were some scenes wherein I would go all "Huh? What just happened?" But luckily, at least I got the total gist of what was happening.
The charater connection. I, to be honest, found this part both hard and easy. Even though Moa was the narrator, I found it hard to really connect with her as a character. Hilary though, I could sympathize with. What she's gone through and what she's going through- it's tough on the girl, and I could understand what she was going through. Molly was yet another mystery. I didn't really like her as a character, and I felt that she was a bit detached from the rest. Heidi, however, her little daughter, is the complete opposite. I adored Heidi, and she was possible my favorite character in the book!
The setting. I for one was intrigued by the setting of the story. Most books take place in common US states- like California and New York, to name a few. I don't quite recall reading any other book that took place in Hawaii, and it didn't disappoint. This book was full of Hawaiin culture, and I even learned a few things from it!
The mythology. I've never quite read anything that was written like this. I like the new spin it took on the supernatural, and perfect for those who are tired of the same creatures used again and again. It had a mix of angels and souls, white witchcraft and death, and it was really quite fascinating to read about.
The cliffhanger ending. And yet again, another book ends with a cliffhanger. I was actually not expecting it, since things were wrapped up nicely around 90% into the book. I was actually shocked when the... "event" happened. Now, I'm not gonna say what actually happens as to not spoil it for anyone, but the next book? It's not happening in Hawaii anymore. No, it actually takes place somewhere else. Somewhere far away... Like a whole new continent faw away.
And last, but definitely not the least...
The food. Bear with me on this, but oh gosh, the food in this book! There were a lot of scenes where Hilary, Heidi and Molly eat food, and the food they ate- wow, did they make me drool! Read for yourself, and drool with me:
Dinner is a feast of local fare. They found a variety of lau lau- chicken, beef, pork or, Hillary's favorite-salted butterfish wrapped in Taro or Ti leaves. Molly steamed white rice- one of the island staples, along with macaroni salad. Before Steve passed on, he showed Hillary a way to make the meal even more delicious by drizzling a little shoyu onto the rice and macaroni salad before eating. Just as it is with her essential oils, when mayonnaise and soy sauce mix, two very different flavors create a fabulous new one!
They pull together a wonderful dinner of rice and Nori, miso soup and Huli Huli chicken. Molly makes the chicken's sauce by simmering pineapple juice, ginger and a little shoyu until it thickens. The result is an intense tasty sweet-and-spicy mixture.
Molly greets the two in the kitchen with a lovely breakfast of huevos rancheros, eggs over easy on a bed of corn tortillas with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and pico de gallo on top.
Okay, I didn't mean to sound that wacky when I originally thought of mentioning this area of the book- but I couldn't resist! :) But come on- you know you're drooling with me! :D
Okay, this is getting quite long, so I'd like to wrap it up here. I am giving this book 3 stars. It was a pretty good debut. While it wasn't perfect, it wasn't bad either. The story was actually wrapped up quite nicely, with just a few answers left unanswered to continue the mystery. So if you're into unique mythology, the metaphysical, books filled with local culture, or just want a break from the usual books, then this book's for you!
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About Moa: Eighteen-year-old, Hillary, anticipates adventure as she embarks for trip to Honolulu, but gets more than she bargained for when Moa, an ancient Hawaiian spirit, pays her an unexpected visit. Get it on Amazon.
About Statue of Ku: The second book in the Moa Book Series, "The Statue of Ku" follows Hillary and Moa as they jet to Egypt on the Prince’s private plane to reclaim Moa’s family heirloom, the inimitable statue of Ku. Get it on Amazon.
About the author: Tricia Stewart Shiu combines her addiction to the written word with her avid interest in the healing arts and all things metaphysical in her novels Moa and Statue of Ku and looks forward to finding new ways to unite her two loves. Visit Tricia on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.
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