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Forest Kingdom #1

Blue Moon Rising

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Rupert didn't especially want to be a prince. And he certainly never asked to be the second son of a royal line that really didn't need a spare. So he was sent out to slay a dragon and prove himself-a quest straight out of legend. But he also discovered the kinds of things legends tend to leave out, as well as the usual demons, goblins, the dreaded Night Witch-and even worse terrors hidden in the shadows of Darkwood.  
Rupert did find a fiery dragon-and a beautiful princess to rescue. But the dragon turned out to be a better friend than anyone back at the castle, and with the evil of Darkwood spreading, Rupert was going to need all the friends he could get.

480 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1989

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About the author

Simon R. Green

283 books3,030 followers
Simon Richard Green is a British science fiction and fantasy-author. He holds a degree in Modern English and American Literature from the University of Leicester. His first publication was in 1979.

His Deathstalker series is partly a parody of the usual space-opera of the 1950s, told with sovereign disregard of the rules of probability, while being at the same time extremely bloodthirsty.

Excerpted from Wikipedia.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 308 reviews
August 15, 2021
Reread completed by audiobook in March, 2021
I probably won't write an expansive review of the reread. I'll mainly just comment on the audiobooks and the things that stood out to me. I still love this book, very much. While it's very quite longish, it doesn't feel that way.

Rupert has an excellent character arc over the course of this book, going from an introvert with no self-confidence, to a brave, decisive leader.

Julia isn't quite as well developed, but I like her a lot, and I appreciate that she is not just a princess, but an independent, intrepid, and empathic young woman that sees the good in people despite their flaws.

The narrator is good. I liked the different voices he used and also how he conveys the tonal shifts between humor to dark horror to poignant moments. I'd recommend listening to the audiobook if you get a chance.

This book is hilarious, fast-paced, and intensely well-written.It's quite long, at just under 500 pages, and there is so much going on. Yet the storytelling is so involving that you don't have time to be bored. Although this is definitely a fantasy book, it also is a story about an everyday type of hero, even a reluctant hero. Rupert is a man who was raised to live in his brother's shadow. He is the unwanted second son of the Forest Land Kingdom. His father deliberately did not encourage a close relationship between him and his son because he thought he might have to one day order his death to prevent civil war in the kingdom, as there can only be one king. Also the rather cutthroat world of court politics did not encourage him to trust. As such, Rupert is a loner by nature, his one friend his trusty unicorn.

The story begins when Rupert sets out on his quest to find and kill a dragon, as ordered by his King. Unfortunately he must travel through the Darkwood, which is a place of ancient evil and darkness. This journey starts Rupert down the road to becoming the strong, capable man that he is meant to be. Watching Rupert evolve is fascinating. I found myself falling in love with Rupert early on in this story because of his will to do what is necessary, but also his heart and ability to love and give of himself selflessly.

When he meets Julia, neither of them knows how pivotal they will be to each other. Julia is a cast-off from her own kingdom, meant to be a sacrifice to the dragon, who doesn't want to eat her, and actually would prefer if she went away with the Prince. The dragon is a jovial personality, who becomes friends with Rupert, and accompanies Rupert on his journey back home. So begins a trek that will test the mettle of the four, in every way. For the Darkwood is expanding, and the night is spreading, and the bloodthirsty demons with it.

This book has a lot of sad things happening, and a lot of people die, but there is also a lot of humor. To me, that is the best thing about Green's writing: he is very funny. But he also uses words richly but not floridly, to tell a great story. At times, this story can be bloody, but Green's humor and what I believe is his goodnatured approach to life that shines through in his stories keep the book from being depressing.

I wouldn't want to spoil anyone, but it definitely has a happy ending, or I wouldn't love it so much. For those romantics, there is a great love story between Rupert and Julia. This couple is made for each other, and you are glad to see them find love with each other.

There are magical creatures and magic throughout the book. If you like such things in a book, you would love this one. I don't know that I've read much high fantasy, but I would consider this in the vein of high fantasy, but with a sense of humor and lots of action that keeps it readable and moving along at a rapid pace.In the end, I cannot say enough how much I love this book. I definitely look forward to reading more about Rupert and Julia's adventures, which continue in the Hawk and Fisher books.
Profile Image for Michael Fierce.
333 reviews23 followers
July 25, 2014
I saw this book in the bookstore a couple of years ago and I thought it would not only be something I wanted to read, but something my two younger sisters would maybe like too.

So, for Christmas 2011, I bought several books for both of them and dallied out which one's I thought most fitting for their particular tastes - which is similar, but my youngest sister prefers a little humor in her fantasy while the older prefers a little more apparent literacy.

But then I read some reviews and I started thinking it might be more of a 'guy's book' and maybe not as great as I had originally hoped. So, I kept it for myself and when the time came, I picked it up to read. Even though it started off pretty hopeful, Simon R. Green's writing style was not only not what I was expecting but the humor I was anticipating wasn't either. I made my orginal assessment from the synopsis on the back of the book that reads:

"In those day, there were heroes and villains, and darkness walked the earth. There were dragons to be slain, captured princesses to be saved, and mighty deeds to be accomplished by knights in shining armor. Many tales are told of that time, tales of steadfast bravery and derring-do....
This is not one of them."

Which sounded awesome! and a serious stab at most high-profile fantasy books and serious fantasists, and right in line with my kind of fiction.
I must admit, I thought it's humor would be more outright.

Yes, it's true, we have Prince Rupert, 2nd son to the king and his snippety, sarcastic Unicorn steed so, I was prepared for some humor. I did chuckle a couple of times in the beginning but this wasn't Terry Pratchett or Piers Anthony. It wasn't British. It wasn't slapstick. It isn't tongue-in-cheek. It's not dark humor. And so I kept reading. And while it's true that I was pulled into the world Green had created, with situations very understandable, familiar and comfortable, I just wasn't sure if it was going to win me over completely. I had reservations and thought, "y'know...maybe it's a good thing I didn't give it to my sister". Funny enough, as the story progressed, what I thought might be heading towards a pretty good book with a couple of memorable situations, which would've merited it a 4 star, even dipped to a 3 star for a second. Luckily it was just for a second. The next thing I know, right about the time we entered the dragon's lair, the brilliance I had been naive to notice thus far completely gave me a full magical Unicorn kick-in-the-butt and thereafter I was completely enthralled and under it's spell for good. ALL the characters are great and many to remember.

On the outside it may seem a little bit like William Goldman & S. Morgenstern's The Princess Bride mixed with a little Xanth. Well it's not. It's entirely it's own book with it's own feel, it's own humor, a world that feels familiar but really isn't. Characters that you feel you know but I could never put a finger on who they specifically reminded me of. The story is witty, clever, exciting, action-packed, well-plotted, somewhat twisty, and even surprising. After the minor bumps I felt when first setting foot on this adventure, I fell in love with it all and now set my stamp of approval in demon ink and proclaim it a favorite book.

I know I will be reading this a couple more times down the road.

For those fantasy buffs out there that want to know what creatures they're getting into? You will like them. A Unicorn, a Dragon - no spoilers there..they're right on the cover! - Goblins, Demons, Wizards, and a whole slew of monsters to fill any Fiend Folio. Definitely a book any RPG fan would like. And you girls out there? We got one tough cookie in this one. You can sink your feet right into her boots - that's right, boots! - pick up a sword with the best of them, growl and bitch like any true princess should, and kick some F'n butt from here to the dark side...ahem, blue side of the moon.
It's got a fanciful world, full-on action, court intrigue (and not the boring kind!), magic swords (that's plural on swords!), and, I said Wizards, right? Yah. Them too. It makes for a captivating tale not to be forgotten, nor to be dismissed. And the Dragon? Well, let me say he doesn't exactly sit on a pile of gold. He has better interests than that, and more in line with my kind of treasure! For you Simon R. Green afficianado's - as if you didn't already know - herein lies the hint of a beginning to two of his characters found at the helm of his very popular series, The Adventures of Hawk and Fisher. It may be more for guys but I think a few tough girls will like it too.

And, Elspeth, how you gave this book only 2 stars is just weird.
*Also, check out the cool cover art to the editions I've shown. I know the first one is by Greg Call (designed by Ray Lundgren), and the second is by Richard Hescox, but the last two I'm not sure about.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Joe.
182 reviews90 followers
October 30, 2016
Reading Blue Moon Rising is like watching a group of bored gamers play Dungeons and Dragons. The character reactions are over-the-top, the vernacular is modern and the overall tone is light in spite of an approaching demon-fueled apocalypse. So a princess punches out a lady in waiting over a minor spat, our hero accepts suicidal quests because that's just what heroes do and the local nobles conspire to bring down the king, a plan which ignores the existential threat of the demon army on their doorstep. I'd accept all this silliness if it were more brisk, but this book weighs in at nearly five-hundred pages; a most frivolous epic.

More interesting is the novel's position at the vanguard of the recent wave of fractured fairy-tales. Ten years before Shrek, Prince Rupert gets sent on a quest to slay a dragon and rescue a princess; a quest designed by a nefarious ruler to get him killed. A talking unicorn named Unicorn accompanies Rupert and serves as his 'noble steed' (voiced by Eddie Murphy on the audio version I'm sure.) Ultimately, the dragon isn't slain and both dragon and princess turn out different than expected.

So while Blue Moon Rising doesn't hold up when stacked against more concise comedy and more recognizable fairy-tale parody, it did spawn a series and helped inspire the next generation of fantasy satire (including that great green ogre and his blockbuster films.) So as his characters might say in their outdated 80s parlance; 'Simon Green, you got it in one.'
Profile Image for K..
3,796 reviews1,021 followers
July 15, 2021
Trigger warnings: violence, blood, gore, death, animal death, graphic descriptions of death, betrayal, poisoning, stabbing.

Yup. Everything I said last time stands.

I love this book a lot. It's easily my favourite epic fantasy book. And I think I love it as much as I do because the world building is trickled out throughout the course of the story, rather than dumped in right at the beginning. (Yes, Mistborn, I'm looking at you and your TWO HUNDRED FREAKING PAGES OF SET UP)

You get a little bit of history about the Darkwood when Rupert and the Unicorn set out. You get a bit about the Forest Kingdom as Rupert fills Julia and the Dragon in on their way home. You get a bit about the Castle as Julia wanders about exploring. You get the history of the High Warlock as Rupert goes off in search of him. Etcetera.

Add in the fact that the characters all have great arcs and great development, the fact that everyone at some point operates in a bit of a moral grey zone, the fact that the writing is equal parts creepy and wonderful, and the fact that the dialogue is hilariously sassy, and you've got yourself one hell of a good time.

I've read this book approximately a million times, and it's easily my favourite Simon R. Green book. In the past I would have rated it four stars, but I've bumped it up to five stars on this reread because it's just so fabulous.

I just love everything about this book. The world building is great, the story has less gore than your usual Simon R. Green book but can still be pretty gruesome at times (they're at war with demons, for crying out loud), the writing is fabulous, and the dialogue is spectacularly sassy.

I love every single character, even the ones that you love to hate. They're all flawed - Julia has a tendency to lash out with her fists first and ask questions later, Rupert jumps to conclusions, the unicorn is a sassy little shit who's not afraid to hide when things look a bit bleak, and the dragon farts at inopportune moments. Despite how bleak it can be at times, it's an incredibly funny book and I love every single second of it.
Profile Image for Fantasia ☮HippieMoonchild☮.
1,341 reviews95 followers
February 20, 2022
Rating: 3.5 / 5

This story was quite compelling in its originality, and more or less plays out like an anti-fairytale/1980s early draft YA novel.

Our hero is prince Rupert who, honestly, I liked WAY more at the beginning than at the end of the story, based on how he develops. He pretty much starts out as a lackluster prince who knows he's being sent out on a fool's errand to slay a dragon, but figures that his life's always kinda sucked anyway as the second son, so he doesn't really care what happens.

That "don't give a shit" attitude is lost by the middle of the story though, when Rupert becomes your "save everyone, be a hero" prince. Since the character development was still believable though, that was fine.

Julia and the dragon and the unicorn were more than fine, on the other hand. You've got the dragon being more amiable than ferocious, Julia (the princess) being more ferocious than amiable, and the unicorn having the most darned sense out of all of them.

The entire beginning of the story, say the first 100 pages or so, was absolutely delightful.

Afterwards though, it kind of turns into a YA novel with a "darkness coming for them all" and the impossible quests to stop it coupled with a political intrigue subplot. If not for the author's comedic tone of everything, I might have been tempted to put it down; but, as it was, there was just enough cracking jokes and unexpected one-liners to keep me interested until the end.

That being said, I AM pissed with how the author organized this book. 486 pages and only TEN chapters?! One chapter was 78 pages, for crying out loud, and I was NOT into that. I have yet to be pissed with an author for making a chapter too short, but TOO LONG?

Ahem, yeah, it made the reading tedious at times.

However, all in all I still think this book merits four stars rather than three, so I'm rating it up instead of down. Let this reflect what the book deserves rather than my own enjoyment of it though, as that it in fact closer to 3 stars.
Profile Image for Jason.
1,179 reviews258 followers
December 10, 2017
5 Stars

I loved the story, the characters, the writing, the author, and the world.

A great fantasy adventure with fun characters and humor.
10 reviews2 followers
May 16, 2009
I'd hoped to keep my little book reviews to a paragraph or two, maybe less, but this one, fittingly my first, is special, so it gets some extra time during which I can hopefully convince you to pick it up and give it a try.

Throughout my life, my dad has always maintained an impressive little library of everything from history and politics to best-sellers and sci-fi, so I've always had fond memories of books in general. They lined the walls in the room where I spent most of my teenage years, and most memories I have of those years involve my dad, in his office with his little reading tools - magnifying glasses that held his books open, fancy bookmarks, comfy chairs and such. Keep in mind that my dad is not a college graduate, and has never had a job requiring him to keep up the habit. He simply enjoyed it. But despite being surrounded by books and the people who were interested in them, I was never a big reader in my youth. In school, I always read only what I had to, with the exception of the Hitchhiker's Guide and a couple of Star Trek novels.

I got my first 'real' job (i.e. no name tag or cash register involved) at 19, and not being the social-lunch type, and not being able to afford to go out often, I found myself with a free hour every day to do anything I wanted to that didn't involve leaving the building. My first wife, whom I was dating at the time, handed me this book, and a book-a-week habit was born. This was THE book. Not everyone's first favorite book can be 'Foundation' or 'The Martian Chronicles'. Sometimes it's just a little known, but amazingly well-crafted story with great characters by an author nobody has ever heard of who had one great book in him.

So, when I picked up Blue Moon Rising again a couple of years ago, I was afraid it wouldn't live up to the expectations of my youth. I was pleasantly surprised to welcome the well-drawn, fully realized characters back into my life like a week-long visit with old friends. I was still spooked by the demons enough to turn on the lights when I was reading alone in the house at night. And while I didn't have the fantasy/sci-fi background the first time I read it, the second reading gave me an appreciation for the simple, fairy-tale quality of the writing.

It's not a complex book. There is none of the complicated mythology or history that modern fantasy novels spend hundreds of pages establishing. It doesn't have a complex, well-thought-out 'system' of magic with specific rules necessary to maintain balanced conflict. When did magic start having rules, anyway? Aren't rules the very antithesis of magic? But I digress... The names are easy to pronounce and the characters all speak the same language.

There were apparently sequels to this book, but I've resisted reading them and likely will continue to do so. This book was perfect on its own. I liked the way it ended. It's a fairy-tale so it's not a spoiler to tell you that I like to believe that my old friends completed their duty to the Forest Kingdom and rode happily off into the sunset, to never know hardship, betrayal or blood ever again and I wish them well.

So if you need something to do while waiting for book #72 of the Wheel of Time to come out, it would be hard to do better than Blue Moon Rising.
Profile Image for Dom.
193 reviews400 followers
November 15, 2022
This was a rare reread as I picked up the graphic audio having initially read the book over twenty years ago. This was one of my gateways to fantasy, as one of the very first fantasy books I read, so it has that element of nostalgia to it for me. It’s an older book and definitely has a classic fantasy feel to it. Some elements of it are a bit cheesy and there’s definitely a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour, although I don’t think that’s overdone, giving a nice balance to it.

Overall, I found this reread very enjoyable, and maybe it scores higher for me because of nostalgia, but I also I really enjoyed the audio, which gave me a completely different experience this time around.
Profile Image for Elspeth.
836 reviews131 followers
January 9, 2015
How long have MLE and I been friends…oh like forever. I got this book to read on the flight to Paris, our French class school trip back in 1996. Don’t let the publication fool you, it’s a reprint. Well I finished it, then handed off to Emily then she finished it.
Yeah, that’s right. We were just that awesome.
Profile Image for Al Burke.
Author 2 books166 followers
June 23, 2021
This was the book of the month in one of the many book clubs I am a member of but rarely partake in. I wasn't sure I'd like this, as it was full of tropes and was more of a "comedy" book as opposed to containing humour, but I gave it a go. It...was...great. The story did not get washed away in a torrent of "wit," the characters were very likeable and the plot was well delivered. I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator was first class, possibly helping me overlook my other general no-nos. I would happily recommend this to anyone looking for a fun, traditional fantasy. Book two is now on my TBR.
December 28, 2014
this is a very good book. i read it awhile ago when i didn't have an account so i am trying to see if i remember it. it has a very strong female character, a great plot and ending, and as well as humor. i will probably reread and write a better review.
Profile Image for hotsake (André Troesch).
680 reviews11 followers
June 24, 2023
I had such an unbelievable blast reading this book. I absolutely loved this book, the classic story, and the wide array of characters.
Profile Image for Travis.
136 reviews23 followers
May 30, 2010
Blue Moon Rising by Simon R. Green- This is the first book of a series of stand-alone novels under the title of Forest Kingdom. However, each book is an entirely new story with different characters. The second book is called Blood and Honour and the third book is called Down Among the Dead. The two main protagonists are also the main characters in Simon R. Green's Hawk and Fisher series (No Haven for the Guilty, Devil Take the Hindmost, The God Killer, Vengeance for a Lonely Man, Guard Against Dishonour, Two Kings in Haven, and Beyond the Blue Moon). Simon R. Green has written a number of various series; Twilight of the Empire, Deathstalker, Deathstalker Legacy, Nightside, and Secret Histories. His is currently starting a new series called Ghostfinders that has its first book due out in August 2010. He's written two stand-alone novels, Shadows Fall and Drinking Midnight Wine, and has written a number of short stories. Blue Moon Rising was originally released in 1991 and published by Roc.

Prince Rupert knows he was sent on an impossible mission to slay a dragon. He knows his father, King John, sent him to die so that his older brother, Prince Harald, can become the next king. With his unicorn, Rupert journeys deep into the forest and into a place called the Tanglewood, a 'buffer zone' to the evil and corrupt land called the Darkwood. In order to find the dragon, Rupert has to seek the aid of a Night Witch, who tells him that the dragon is found beyond the Darkwood. Rupert and his unicorn travel in and beyond the oppressive darkness and barely make it out alive. After finding the dragon, he learns that the dragon is a peaceful creature who has a princess under his care. A princess who has been tormenting the dragon for a while. After 'saving' Princess Julia from the dragon, and finding out he can't kill so noble a creature, the group travel back to the Forest Kingdom and his father. During the trip back through the Darkwood, things don't go well for the group and they barely makes it out alive. Upon returning to his home, Rupert learns that the demons from the Darkwood are attacking the Forest Lands and the kingdoms only hope lies with an exiled Warlock. To make things worse, Julia finds out that Rupert's brother, Harald, is who she was to marry. As war looms over the land, Rupert is sent out to bring back the Warlock and travel, once again, through the Darkwood. When he returns, things are not looking good.

1) Cliché. Wow was this story cliché. There barely seemed to be anything that was unique or new. What should I start with? How about the story. I know it's hard to write a new and fresh story, but this was just too basic. How bad is it when a story is just basically about good vs. evil? Sure, there were a few 'twists' but that's the whole premise. This wasn't very horrible, but it grated on my nerves. Speaking of twists, this story had them and guess what? They were terrible. The biggest twist comes after we find out who the Demon Prince is talking to in a scene around the middle of the book. We don't know who they are but it soon becomes obvious, and that's pathetic. I don't want to give it away, but I will say this. Harald would have made a lot more sense and would have felt justified. I will give the story this though, it was hard to believe it wasn't Harald. Even when we do find out who it was, it didn't come as a shock at all. The twists were way to obvious. Finally we have the characters. Each character is a horrible cliché, but I'll get into that next.
2) Characters. Almost all the characters we meet are just basic and stock. There is really nothing unique about them. Rupert is as boring as they come. He does have his moments though, but for the most part, he has to be one of the blandest and annoying main characters I've ever read about. He just isn't likable. The Warlock is the stock old man who has great power but can go a minute without drinking. While this character wasn't totally awful, I just found him annoying. The Champion who accompanies Rupert is probably the worst cliché. He's every stories impossibly strong warrior who is stoic and unmoving. But even with the clichés, the real problem was that every character felt underdeveloped. There just wasn't enough to make me actually care about these people. They were just two-dimensional and unrealistic that I could barely stand them. That being said, I loathed Julia. I absolutely did not like her and because of this I WILL SPOIL things about her. When we first met her, she seemed okay and great. As the story wore on, my opinion barely changed. She was decent and somewhat likable. But all that changed in a blink of an eye. After Rupert leaves to find the Warlock, Julia is left alone at the castle. The whole time we see her there she's thinking about Rupert and missing him. It seems like she might love him. Ever since she found out who Harald was, she would always try to hurt or avoid him. Yet, what happens when Rupert returns? It seems like she totally forgot about him. Going so far as trying to make Rupert jealous with Harald. She turns into this petty person and that the worst thing. She basically becomes a high schooler in how she acts. Sure seven months is a long time, but it seems like she just started to realize that Rupert wouldn't be coming back at about month four or five. Then after a few pages, she's suddenly back with Rupert. Why? Did she suddenly realize that she loves Rupert, well yes she does. But it just seemed so wishy-washy and was just plain poor character development that I can't help but hate her.
3. Relationships. I think the biggest problem with the story is character relationships. They just don't ever seem to form. In the case of Rupert and Julia, we are told that they love each other by page one hundred. There was no building up the relationship, there barely was anything. All we were told is that a few months pass and Julia and Rupert seemed to like each other. That's it. Then we have Rupert and the dragon. It's the same case as Julia, but for friendship. We're just told that they are friends. Yet for about three-quarters of the story, the dragon isn't in it. So when he finally returns, it's suddenly like Rupert and the dragon are buddies. What makes this worse is that on the back of the book it says, “But the dragon turned out to be a better friend than anyone back at the castle.” Huh? Seriously there doesn't seem to be any friendship that developed other than being told that they were. It's lazy.

1) Humor. The story was really funny. It reads more like a parody than a serious fantasy novel, and it actually works. The jokes and situations that the characters get into are really humorous. However, it felt like only half the story was a parody while the other half was serious. It didn't help that the humor and seriousness meshed together in the same paragraph. I just felt wrong. But I can forgive that because I really did enjoy most of the humor.
2) John and Harald. These were the only characters that seemed to have some depth to them. King John was by far the best. He was the most complex and interesting. From his friendship with the court Astrologer we see a deep and insightful character. There were times when he came off as swallow and unlikable, but these were times when the story actually needed him to be. As for Harald, he was just plain interesting. The way that Harald teased Rupert was great and the fact that he hides his loyalty to his father and land so well just made him memorable.
3) Last Quarter. I really enjoyed the last quarter. It did have its problems (Julia, obvious twists, and poor showing of relationships), but it was exciting and fun. The action scenes were confusing, but it felt right. The desperation that the characters felt, I felt. I couldn't keep the book down for too long during this time. It was a fun ride to the finish.

Side Notes:
1) Scenes. Why was it that we would have three paragraphs with one persons view-point and suddenly switch to another? It was kind of jarring at first, but easily adaptable.
2) Cover Art. I know that there are a few different versions, but the one I'm going to be talking about is the one above. It's pathetic and boring. Sure the unicorn and dragon look great. Rupert and Julia are laughably bad. But what bothers me is the white. It's just too lazy and boring.

Overall: 3/5
Final Thoughts:
Blue Moon Rising should have stayed being a parody. It would have worked better with it being cliché, but once it turned serious, the cliché things just became unbearable. The characters were pathetic. They were so underdeveloped and unlikable that the only people I enjoyed were the king and Harald. At least they had some substance. The other major problem was that I never believed the relationships between these characters were there. I don't like being told they are friends, I want to see it unfold. It's just lazy otherwise. All in all, I have to say that Blue Moon Rising is a decent read. It's exciting at points, boring at others but it does its job. If you like parodies, definitely pick it up. Otherwise, use your judgment.
Profile Image for Joseph.
697 reviews94 followers
June 4, 2021
Rupert (supernumerary second prince of the Forest Kingdom) has been sent on a Quest (possibly with the hope that he, um, won't actually survive) riding his unicorn through the Darkwood to slay a dragon. Which, when he arrives at the dragon's lair (after the usual dangers untold & hardships unnumbered -- the Darkwood is a nasty place) he discovers that the dragon is holding a princess captive, and is more interested in collecting butterflies than amassing treasure, and Julia is not your run-of-the-mill princess and, well, suffice it to say that the opening part of the book reminded me more than a little of the opening part of Shrek.

And then when Rupert (with Julia, the unicorn and the aforementioned dragon, who's really not a bad sort) get back to the Forest Kingdom's castle, well, things start to get complicated -- by surviving his quest, Rupert (entirely by accident and not to his desire at all) has made himself a viable candidate for the throne and rival to his elder brother Harald, and there are Dark Forces afoot and the Blue Moon is going to be rising soon, which always bodes terrible things.

As with all the Simon R. Green I've read, this was fast-paced and altogether entertaining.
Profile Image for Shane Moore.
642 reviews28 followers
January 27, 2015
At first this seemed like a humorous take on the most clich�� of Fantasy tropes. I liked it a lot. A Prince is sent off to slay a dragon, mostly in hopes that he will get killed and remove himself from the line of Royal succession. He rides a sarcastic and cowardly unicorn, and faces danger with wit and practicality.

Within a few chapters, the humor has become more sparse. The fighting is increasingly detailed and more gory. Things get serious. The story never stops flirting with stereotypes, though, which leaves it a bit odd. Uneven. The long section of Medieval court politicking is the slowest and least enjoyable part of the story.

The last third of the book is nearly unrelentingly serious. There are intense examinations of bitterness, betrayal, a sour unrequited love, and a few flavors of disappointment. At times there are deep ideas, but ultimately the climax of the story plays out in the most shallow and predictable way it possibly could. There's a twist which was telegraphed halfway through, and the payoff at the end just isn't very satisfying.
26 reviews1 follower
June 18, 2009
I read this when I was in my early teens, and again in high school, and again in college, and again (you get the point). Kitchy fantasy cliches aside (and there are plenty in this book) it's a really well-written and compelling story. I always miss it when I'm finished. The standard fantasy foundation (dragon/prince/spunky princess) is done well enough that it always either adds to- or provides welcome relief from what is a gripping, scary, fun and sometimes sad story. Even if you're not a huge fantasy fan, I doubt you would regret giving this book a chance.
Profile Image for Joey.
34 reviews32 followers
December 15, 2014
This book is one of my favorites and why I give Simon R Green a go at least until his ongoing series get plagued with repetition. But this was before all that. It's a near perfect Dark Fantasy, full of gallows humor, I'd say it would fit a near perfect "Dungeon Punk" mentality with the characters being snarky with each other and Green playing with old fantasy tropes. And when I say it's dark...Green loves horror. Sneaky, evil, horror. It's not quite say as nasty as some books, but with a near perfect blend of humor to horror in a fantasy setting.
Profile Image for Evelyn.
57 reviews
December 29, 2008
I picked up this book at random and was very pleasantly surprised. It's a very complex story where the good guys aren't always good adn the bad guys have a lot of good reasons for being bad. I found it a lot more realistic (and therefore dark) than the traditional fantasy fiction, and a lot more witty and fun to read, too. Joss Whedon meets Peter Beagle.
Profile Image for Sarah Garner.
79 reviews18 followers
October 10, 2015
On the whole an entertaining read but a bit of a mission to read. I didn't quite finish it but I did enjoy it as it was funny in places.
Profile Image for Ана Хелс.
806 reviews80 followers
May 3, 2020
Когато за пореден път ти се налага да разкажеш история за дракони, принцове и девойки в беда, в теб се загнездва желанието да поразместиш малко правилата на повествованието, и да раздадеш различни сценарии на главните замесени. Хм, нека направим девойката бойна красавица, която е дадена в трибют на зъл дракон, и която по някое време ще си изгуби едната ръка и ще носи кука на нейно място. А драконът нека го направим високо образован добряк с леко ироничен изказ, на когото просто му се иска да живее в някое топло местенце н�� спокойствие. И принцът ни нека е втори син, да не му се полага нищо от и без това обеднялото царство, и нека язди най-язвителния и саркастичен еднорог на света, защото знаете кой може да язди еднорози, нали, ха-ха. Нека всички бъдат поставени насред зловеща тъмна гора, пълна с какви ли не месоядни живи и неживи неща, които обезпокоително много разбират от политика на масите и дискриминация. А най-якото оръжие ще идва от дъгата, щото… що не. И айде всички в мелето, който оцелее ще разказва.

Така започва една разкошна приключенска сага с фентъзиен привкус, която може да спрете дори след първата книга заради пълноценния си завършек, който хем затваря врата за точно тази история, хем отваря прозорец, ако ви е още любопитно какво може да се случи в абсолютно откачения свят на Саймън Грийн. Зли магьосници със съмнително основателни причини за привидна злина; добри крале, на които ако им резнеш главата може и да сгрешиш морално, може и да направиш позитивна революция за бъдещите поколения; страховити вещици с драматично разбити сърца, говорещи топло и интимно близо на всеки романтик, поставен в ситуация, в която на човек му се налага да разбере на какво е способен. Това е свят на оловно сиви герои, с бетонни основания за всяко действие, с плашещо разумни доводи и за най-низките си дела, и леко нагарчащи причини за най-големите си геройства. Объркването ви ще трае дълго, и няма да усетите кога ще премине във възхищение от силата на Грийн да създава пълнокръвни герои дори в абсурден сетинг.

Една уж стандартна фентъзи история се каламбичва с краката нагоре, за да ви се разкаже като човешки роман на обратите. От откачено хумористично фентъзи, през бойна епика с хорър привкус, до сериозна драматизация на човешките отношения в паралелна вселена – тази книга предлага всичко с неочаквани пропорции. Началото на едно дълбоко гмурване в повече от непредвидим свят със сбъркани прототипи на герои и лошковци, или просто еднократно приключение в огледалната вселена на живота – изборът е ваш. Но забавлението е гарантирано във всеки случай.
Profile Image for Kaila.
836 reviews103 followers
July 23, 2021
I first read this maybe 10-15 years ago and I remember loving it at the time. I've matured since then, as have my taste in books, and I am much more able to point at things and know exactly why I dislike them. Which is to say - this book did not hold up on a re-read. Everyone was constantly posturing in a really annoying way. Everyone thought they were right. The politics were asinine. None of the battles made any sense and the demons absolutely should have won.

To top it all off, the audiobook narrator was just...awful.
Profile Image for JennaL.
16 reviews
September 10, 2012
Blue Moon Rising and Beyond the Blue Moon were the first of Simon Green's book about the husband & wife team of Hawk & Fisher I read - as well as just the first of his books I read in general. And they are what got me hooked.

The Reasons to Read The Series? Easy-Peasy

# A real husband & wife duo. Both characters are strong in their own rights - but together they are amazing. SG has created one of the best pairings I've found, and I wish to hell he'd write more. They aren't perfect, but they don't try to be. They know each other's strengths & weaknesses, and they hold two things above everything else - they love each other & they have each other's backs. The rest of the world can (and often does) go to hell around them, but they face everything together... and that's enough. It's rare to find an actual duo, let alone a married couple.

# An amazing literary mashup - sword & sorcery (with a healthy dose of swashbuckling) mixed (as the series goes on and you leave Prince & Princess behind to become Guards) with the very best of crime noir. Once the royal battles are over & done, and they escape their royal life they run to The City that Never Sleeps that has morphed from New York into a more medieval setting, but you still expect Dick Tracey to wander by. The villains are over the top, but instead of using tommy guns in violin cases it's spell bombs.

# A princess that refuses to be saved, a prince who just wants out, a sarcastic dragon... what more do you want?

# If the fantasy & mystery doesn't entice you - the sheer snark alone would make the whole series worth checking out.
Profile Image for Echo.
755 reviews42 followers
October 10, 2015
I wouldn't call Green's books outright comedic fantasy, because they're not, but he does have a wonderful kind of wit and his books don't take themselves too seriously. Then again, if you've read the book summary, you can probably tell. A princess with a mean left hook? Obviously not your traditional fantasy. I actually read the books out of order, but I would never change that, because I already knew Julia's character from previous books. When I finally picked up this book and met her character, I had one of those rare (and very amusing) "WTF???" moments. So, you know, if you read this, after you've finished it and you've gotten to know Julia's character . . . go back and read the part where you first meet her. It's quite amusing in retrospect, I promise.

Anyway, yes, the book. *coughs* It's witty and funny, but the overall plot is serious. This just happens to be something I love in fantasy books. I also love the way Green's characters are so good. And no, I don't mean, "I'm Julia and I love cute fluffy animals and I never step on flowers and I don't drink and I abstain from boys" good either. I'm talking about characters who are just . . . noble, I guess. Sure, they're human and they have their flaws, but they're also honorable.
Profile Image for Ithlilian.
1,680 reviews24 followers
January 12, 2011
Blue Moon Rising starts out as a stereotypical knee slapping style story as it goes though everything the jacket mentions. There is a sarcastic unicorn, wise dragon, and feisty princess. Not to mention the dark woods and demons. After the first 100 pages though, the story completely changes. What you thought was going to be simple quest based fantasy becomes character driven, and thoroughly entertaining. We get intrigue at the castle and multiple traitors, as well as funny goblins and an angry princess. The story behind the south tower, the high warlock, and the champion are all interesting, and every character in this story is realistic and believable. Blue Moon Rising was setting up to be a great story for me until it started to drag at around page 350. The final big fight was a bit uninteresting to me and overly detailed, but that could be explained by my taste. I'm not a fan of 10 page long battle scenes. If you take the last battle out, then I'd give the novel 4 stars. Don't judge this book by the cover or jacket, it is more in depth and multidimensional than it seems. There is just the right amount of humor, drama, quests, and character development to make this a well balanced, well developed fantasy.
Profile Image for Farhan.
573 reviews12 followers
May 19, 2020
I wonder why no one ever recommended this book to me. It's got all the elements of classic high fantasy, including a selfless hero, a reckless heroine, a dragon, sorcerers, court intrigues, kings and princes, and of course, demons and their demon prince. And while Geroge R R Martin was luring us by saying "Winter is coming" for six books and a decade, Simon Greene started with a long night (with no sun and winter and ice and snow and demons) and journeyed us through it. Although the antagonist aka the demon prince wasn't present most of the time, and his character could be explored more, the storytelling was fascinating. I mean, the tension, the fightings, the adventures--all of those were high paced and the 476-page book is finished before you know it. And yes, there were tragedies and death, but there is a happy ending which I always love because there are lots of tragedies in the real world and I'm not at all interested to find those in fantasies. I'm not sure if I would read the other books in the series or not, but this one is good and ok if you don't want to read the other books. A good read altogether.
Profile Image for Courtney.
28 reviews21 followers
December 21, 2009
This was the first book of Mr. Green's I picked up, way back in High School. Inside there was a small forward explaining what this book was about it said:

" In those days there were heroes and villains, and darkness walked the earth. There were dragons to be slain captured Princesses to be saved, and mighty deeds were accomplished by knights in shining armor. Many tales are told of that time, tales of steadfast bravery and derring-do. This isn't one of them."

I was hooked! Since reading that first book I've read everything of Mr. Green's that he has published. I love the sense of humor and sarcasm he uses, the way he writes his characters, the way he takes different mythology's and religions and puts them to good use. Not to mention the twists and turns found in his pages. I highly recommend him to anyone that loves fantasy and sci-fi and is looking for something a little different.
262 reviews
February 12, 2009
Great book, much better than the Nightside series. There is nothing special about the main character, who is the second son and Prince of a realms that has no need for him. He is sent a Quest that he is either supposed to die on or serve as his exile.

The beginning of this book made me think it was going to be over-the-top Terry Pratchett style, but after the debacle of saving the dragon from the princess, it got a lot better. I really got to like the main character. I guess he strikes a chord with me, that John Taylor's confident bluffing never did. Too bad there aren't many more in this series.

I really want to give this 4.5 stars, its not an amazing book, but I more than "really like" it.
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