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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 01/2024
  • 9798218317959 B0CM41RDRD
  • 322 pages
  • $4.99
Hardcover Details
  • 01/2024
  • 9798218319151
  • 314 pages
  • $28.99
Paperback Details
  • 01/2024
  • 9798218317942
  • 350 pages
  • $16.99
Jess Porto
Author
Isle of Stars: The Second Book of Moon Mountain
Jess Porto, author

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

(Moon Mountain Trilogy, Book 2)

Morgan Thomas has lost the battle.

Her body? Stolen as a new vessel for a mysterious being.

Her mind? Trapped inside a prison within her subconscious, placated by familiar but lifeless settings as she fades away.

But if her former enemy Vera Gallagher has any say, the war against these shadowy and inhuman thieves has only begun.

Bound to Morgan by a bizarre but providential string of events, Vera strikes the match to light a new path for Morgan, leading her out of the darkness. But with deceptions around every bend, Morgan must ultimately find the strength within herself to break free.

Trekking across mind-bending discoveries and with new mysteries to unravel, including the unexpected fate of the noble detective who sacrificed everything for her, Morgan uncovers the only hope of defeating these monsters. But it lies in the most unlikely of places, setting her on a course to face her most perilous task yet… and one step closer to the ultimate showdown against a ruthless enemy.

Reviews
The surprising second entry in Porto’s 1990s-set supernatural Moon Mountain trilogy continues to chronicle the increasingly complicated life of Morgan Thomas, now facing a true nightmare in her charming North Carolina hometown: a mysterious entity has occupied her body as a “vessel” while her mind languishes “deep inside” a subconscious prison. Stranger still, adversary-turned-ally Vera Gallagher, the mother of a friend, actually shares Morgan’s body, and must explain this situation, through Morgan’s own mouth, to those Morgan trusts most. Soon, Morgan embarks on a perilous, twisty quest for survival against elusive foes who possess humans and wreak havoc. She unearths new mysteries, forges surprise alliances, and carries g the burden of those who have given all in the fight against an elusive invasion that, she learns, is led by a “cold and calculating” entity “with no qualms about torturing and punishing its enemies and using those around it for its own pleasure or gain.”

The saga unfolds at a swift pace with ever-rising stakes as Morgan faces the “slithering fingers” of a blankness she could fade into, and possessions continue in the outside world, which powers a strong sense of uncertain anxiety. Pages devoted to Vera explaining things about these “foreign essence”s and “the Beyond” to Morgan—and to readers—find Porto taking full advantage of this imaginative setup, as Vera conjures visions of her own life and Morgan’s efforts to control her own memories kicks up literal storms. Porto skillfully defies conventional good vs. evil tropes by imbuing the invaders with shades of gray, and the subconscious realm and surrealist liminal spaces through which Morgan journeys are, as the title suggests, inventive and evocative.

At its core, this inward-looking thriller is a journey of hope and self-discovery, psyche and sacrifice, a story concerned with what it’s worth risking everything to save. (A character declares, “One word: humanity.”) The characters make clever use of Porto’s worldbuilding, and the ending satisfies, while pointing to revelations to come. New readers should start with the first book.

Takeaway: Tense, effective thriller of body takeovers and what’s beyond consciousness.

Comparable Titles: Sara Gran’s Come Closer, Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 01/2024
  • 9798218317959 B0CM41RDRD
  • 322 pages
  • $4.99
Hardcover Details
  • 01/2024
  • 9798218319151
  • 314 pages
  • $28.99
Paperback Details
  • 01/2024
  • 9798218317942
  • 350 pages
  • $16.99
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