Published March 26, 2017
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About Day Moon
In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global soft-ware initiative his deceased grandfather helped found. Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare’s complete works gifted him by his grandfather.
Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled “Day Moon”. When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose.
Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it.
Ever since I read The Giver in probably fourth or fifth grade, dystopian stories have held a special place in my heart. I loved this premise about knowledge being stored and then used to manipulate others. It reminded me a bit of the Matched series by Ally Condie or The Great Library series by Rachel Caine.
I had kind of a love/hate relationship with the voice of Day Moon. On the one hand, Elliot works as a software engineer, and the way he talks and thinks reminds me a great deal of the way my husband, also a software engineer, communicates. So it felt really authentic. On the other hand, it also tended to be very passive and use a lot of words to say things. I think that kind of writing weighed the story down and kept me at a distance from scenes that should have been super intense.
I enjoyed the use of Shakespeare and the search for clues from Elliot’s grandfather, but sometimes the plot seemed to jump around and leave important threads hanging. For instance, near the beginning, Elliot’s superiors close in around him, demanding he produce the book his grandfather left him, the book which he lent to his friend Lara. Elliot never seems to consider whether this places Lara in danger, even as the guys looking for the book become more and more sinister. For a long stretch, it seems he forgets about the book altogether while he gets wrapped up in the search for his grandfather’s clues. I kept reading scenes thinking, okay, yeah, but where’s the book?! Who has the book?! Are the bad guys about to get it? Where is it?
I also struggled with the timeline of the story. It’s supposed to be set in 2039, which is only about 22 years from now. Elliot recalls stories from his grandfather about driverless cars and combustion engines when it seems like these would be things familiar to his parents’ generation as well. I didn’t understand why everything seemed tied to his grandfather when so little time had passed. Maybe Elliot never knew his father? I don’t recall any explanation on that in the story.
One of the cool elements in Day Moon was the way Elliot and Lara connected over a shared passion for artwork. I liked that they were students in an accelerated program, which gave some reason for them to act a little less like teens and more like college kids. On the other hand, though, I didn’t feel like they had any real teen issues at all. Neither of them lived with parents or seemed to feel close ties with immediate family members. I didn’t get the sense that they were breaking into adulthood, but more like they were experienced participants, so I don’t think I would really classify the story as young adult. It’s more like clean new adult fiction.
While this wasn’t my favorite book, readers looking for a dystopian story featuring a character with strong software talents will find it easy to identify with Elliot’s gentle, sometimes awkward character. Shakespeare fans may enjoy the way quotes and elements from Shakespeare’s works are woven into a sort of scavenger hunt. The light romance between Elliot and Lara may appeal to readers looking for a bit of summer love, too.
Not a lot of ethnic or cultural details in the story.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
A man and woman frantically kiss on top of a hotel bed, but separate before going to sleep. Elliot feels conscious of his attraction to Lara, but also committed to Christian virtues in relationships.
Elliot prays for help in times of need. At one point, he pauses to examine his behavior and worries he isn’t being very Christ-like.
A man knocks someone unconscious with a shovel. At one point, Elliot and his allies leave a man tied up in the trunk of a car while they figure out what to do next.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.