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Magic Moon    by Wolfgang Hohlbein & Heike Hohlbein order for
Magic Moon
by Wolfgang Hohlbein
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2006 (2006)
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Tokyopop, one of the leading US manga publishers, has finally taken the plunge into YA fiction. Their Pop Fiction imprint kicks off this fall with four fantasy novels, most based on well-received manga or anime titles. Magic Moon by Wolfgang and Heike Hohlbein is not a prose adaptation of another work but is still sure to appeal to fans of shonen (boys') manga.

Magic Moon tells the tale of Kim, a preteen boy sent into the fantasy world of Magic Moon in order to save his four-year-old sister, who has fallen into a coma. After his space ship crashes on the bad side of the Shadowy Mountains, he discovers the leader of the Black Knights is holding his sister captive. Kim must travel over the Shadowy Mountains to find Themistokles, the sorcerer who sent him to Magic Moon, and fight the Black Knights to get his sister back. Along the way, Kim meets many friends who help him on his quest, but soon he is so caught up in the war between the Black Knights and the White Knights that he forgets his real purpose. In order to save Magic Moon, he must look deep inside himself to find out what is truly important.

The Hohlbeins have written a typical YA fantasy where the protagonist must go on a quest to save someone and along the way meets many friends and learns a lot about himself. However, they have not done anything other than that. At times, Kim's quest seems to have no purpose and there is never a real sense of urgency since no definite time limit is set for Kim to reach his destination. While the conclusion is strong and wraps up all loose ends - including characters met early on and all but forgotten, and the reason why Kim's journey seems to have lost its purpose - the rising action becomes long and tedious at some points.

Although the plot leaves something to be desired, Tokyopop did well by choosing Magic Moon as on of the titles to launch its new fiction line. The storyline gels nicely with many of the publisher's manga offerings and creates a smooth transition from the world of shonen manga to the world of preteen boy fantasy novels. I hope that the new Pop Fiction imprint will release fare that also appeals to shojo (girls') manga readers.

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