Book Review: The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald

The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald

Publisher: Publishing

Publication Date: November 12, 2019

Edition: Paperback, 155 pages

Genre: Science Fiction, Novella

Rating: 3.5/5

Made me want to go read the full Luna series


In The Menace from Farside, Ian McDonald returns to his elegantly wound solar system of the twenty-second century, full of political intrigue and complicated families.

Remember: Lady Luna knows a thousand ways to kill you, but family is what you know. Family is what works.

Cariad Corcoran has a new sister who is everything she is not: tall, beautiful, confident. They’re unlikely allies and even unlikelier sisters, but they’re determined to find the moon’s first footprint, even if the lunar frontier is doing its best to kill them before they get there.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

First time reading Ian McDonald, and first introduction the the Luna series universe. Was not disappointed with either. The pace of the story does start off slow and did not really “pick-up the pace” until the last 1/4 of novella, but the world and intrigueing society was more than enough to keep me engaged, and left me want to reading the entire series based on that alone.

Cariad is getting a new sister in her family. Her new sister, is tall and beautiful; has full breasts that leaves men’s mouth gaping openas she walked by; a body that is true of a women; she has wings and can fly; is athletic, confident, and shows off… she is everything Cariad is not. However, Cariad will not be defeated; will not take second place. That is why she has a plan that will make her new sister look weak and scared, and will make Cariad strong and the leader.

As I stated in the opening paragraph I know absolutely nothing about the Luna series. I do not know if any of the characters in the novella are from series, if this a side story related to series, or if this is just a short-story that takes place in the Luna universe. With that being said, I cannot and will not comment on whether fans of the series will enjoy this or if they should read this.

What I thought was interesting is how the “family” dynamics work in the world. There are these things called “Ring marriages.” Look at it like this, each person can be married to two other people (male or female or other; there are certain words to describe members of the rings, but I am too lazy to go and look them up): person B is married to person A and C; person is married to person B and D. If person A and D would get married, this would connect all lose ends and complete the ring. If you where to draw the connections on a piece of paper you would literally see that is connects and creates a ring. Then in term of children, it seems they can come in and out of these rings depending on who they want to live with and there is no true “parent” that they have to stay.

Ring marriages and many other aspects of the society is what the book focuses on the first half, and personally, I loved reading about. I have no idea if this already explained in the series, and I won’t mention specifics I was eager to learn more about (leave that excitement for you to read!), but I really wanted to keep learning about what was being mentioned and everything that was going on in this type of society. Even basic stuff like how they got to the moon and how/why they were living there. Exploring this universe was my favorite part. 

In terms of the plot, it is fairly slow to start. The first half seemed to be setting up how things work in the world, the dynamic of the “Ring marriages”, and why Cariad hates her new sister so much. Again, I was all about this world-building, but since this a novella, and its already super short on pages, didn’t fell like the story moved as forward and much or as fast as I would like, and felt like action part of book was quite short.

But once we actually go the mission to find man’s first footprint on the moon, the story flew and was fast! I just wish that either that part had come sooner, and since it takes until the last 1/4 to actually get there, wish that part was longer too. Or maybe if there was more conflict that did happen in that time we were on the mission.

As someone who knew nothing at all about Ian MacDonald’s Luna series, this novella did a perfect job of giving me a taste of what the Luna universe is like and a brief story that was enough to make me want to pick up the first book in the trilogy and give it a shot. 

3.5/5 Rating


Date Read: 11/04/2019 - 11/09/2019
Review Written: 01/01/2020
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One thought on “Book Review: The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald

  1. Tammy says:

    I was wondering if this would work if you haven’t read the series. I think I’d prefer to start it before reading this, but I’m glad you enjoyed it!


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