Book Review: Moon Rising by Ian McDonald (Luna #3) | Sci-Fi Month 2020


Genre : Science fiction

Publisher : Tor Books

Length : 437 pages

Format : Ebook

Rating : 5 stars

Publication Date : March 19th 2019


A hundred years in the future, a war wages between the Five Dragons—five families that control the Moon’s leading industrial companies. Each clan does everything in their power to claw their way to the top of the food chain—marriages of convenience, corporate espionage, kidnapping, and mass assassinations.

Through ingenious political manipulation and sheer force of will, Lucas Cortas rises from the ashes of corporate defeat and seizes control of the Moon. The only person who can stop him is a brilliant lunar lawyer, his sister, Ariel.


A hundred years in the future, the Moon is ruled by the Five Dragons, powerful conglomerate families that hold influence over resources that are in need back on Earth. The families have been at war with each other for decades but the events of the past books have shifted the dynamic of power completely.

Lucas Cortas, the new Eagle of the Moon, is back from Earth with the support of the Lunar Development Corporation and he is planning to obliterate the Mackenzie family. However, his plan may put an end to the Moon independence and, the only person capable of stopping him is Ariel, Lucas’s own sister.

As you might expect from a Luna book, Moon Rising is bloody, violent, with a lot of betrayals and awful deaths. Some moments are so dramatic and over the top that they would put to shame most soap-operas. However, this final book managed to exceed all of my expectations regarding the trilogy.

I read New Moon when it was first published and I was fascinated by the world, the politics, the constant back stabbings and by the cruel and unapologetic way the Moon worked. However, I was a bit disappointed by the sequel Wolf Moon that I read in 2017. I think it’s probably because at this point, I had forgotten a lot about the characters and the previous events and I was confused during most of the book. I also thought Wolf Moon suffered from a middle book syndrome. Nothing was solved and it felt a bit too similar to the first book. However, it was still entertaining enough that I wanted to read the finale as soon as it came out. Being myself well… I didn’t do that. (of course!).

 So, it’s not that surprising that I was confused for the first 15% of Moon Rising. However, the “confused” period was much shorter than with Wolf Moon and, the moment I remembered who was who and what was happening, I completely adored the book and I flew through it!

For me, Moon Rising was the perfect finale: the ending was satisfying and it tied most loose ends but not all, leaving the reader wanting just a little bit more. This last book also managed to elevate the plot. Indeed, the first two books were very focused on the family dramas and betrayals but the third book expanded the scope of the overall story. It wasn’t just about the Dragons anymore but about the Moon and Earth’s complicated relationship. The book allowed us to see how people back on Earth feel about the Moon and the powers it holds over it. In order to remain independent from Earth, the Dragons will have to work together but, will they be able to, after spilling so much blood and fighting for so long?

It has been a long time since I’ve been that captivated by a book. Even when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it, trying to figure out what was going to happen next to the characters I loved to hate. Every time my favorite characters did something cool (which was often), I couldn’t help myself from exclaiming and cheering for them. Mind you, I might be slowly yet inexorably going mad because of lockdown but, I don’t usually do that while reading (I tend to reserve out-loud fangirling for TV shows).

Speaking of characters, I have to say that Ian McDonald writes female characters very well and that they often outshine his male characters (that are usually quite annoying, at least to me). Alexia and Ariel Cortas are my two personal faves and I was living for their interactions towards the end. Both of them demonstrated perfectly why the Cortas family should always be led by women and not by men (sorry not sorry Lucas!).

I’m sure I’m going to re-read this trilogy and I hope that Ian MacDonald will revisit this world in the future because it can’t end now. I need other stories; I want to know what is going to happen next and I want to learn more about Farside!

Five stars.

(or moons ha ha!)… Sorry.

Artwork by Tithi Luadthong from

10 thoughts on “Book Review: Moon Rising by Ian McDonald (Luna #3) | Sci-Fi Month 2020

  1. Encouraging review indeed! I started reading this one when it came out but I abandoned it partway because… well, no particular reason, but it was not working. Since yours is not the first positive review I’ve read, I’m sure it was a matter of “mood”, so I will need to go back to this and try again.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mayri’s reviews are the best, my own review of this final book is a lot less structured than hers but we both really enjoyed it!
      I don’t love comparing a book to another but some aspects are similar to A Song of Ice and Fire (the betrayals, the awful deaths etc.) but I enjoyed it way more because it’s SF, I loved how the world McDonald created worked, the violence is less unwarranted than in Martin’s works and also, it’s now finished haha.

      Liked by 1 person

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