Talia Offers Intriguing Alternate to Familiar Tale

I’ll admit, it took me until well into this book to see the Sleeping Beauty connection. That is nothing of the author’s fault, it was a misunderstanding on my own part. But when I did, it was one of those delightful lightbulb moments that made everything I’d read thus far that much more meaningful.

About the Book

In Book Two of the Servants of the Moon and Sun series, near the sea of the First Fairies, Talia gives birth to a daughter, while her former love, now King of the Human Realm, works in concert with her evil aunts (the Three Sisters) to take the Fairy throne from Talia’s mother, Queen Zellandine.

After a short interlude of peace, Talia and her remaining companions embark on a dangerous journey, evading agents of their opponents as they seek revenge for a devastating attack on their company.

With civil war looming between the Fairies, Talia is determined to protect her kingdom and her people — but at what cost? Will she be able to save her beloved Realm and safeguard the ones she loves?

Follow Talia on her quest for justice in this thrilling second installment of the Servants of the Moon and Sun series.

If you enjoyed books such as A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas or The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, you’re sure to love the Servants of the Moon and Sun series.

But be warned: these are neither your little sister’s happy romantic fairies, nor your weird uncle’s dark patriarchal fairies: they’re something altogether new!

My Thoughts

Some people hate sequels, but I often love them more than the first. For one thing, I’ve gotten a chance to know the characters, so it’s like revisiting old friends. And, as they say, familiarity breeds fondness. But, especially with newer authors, and this is only the author’s second published work, you start to see them really hit their stride. That isn’t to say the first book wasn’t good writing, it absolutely was, but this one was even better. The story flowed seamlessly, there were no parts that dragged for me, and I needed to know what going to happen next.

The characters in the novel are so diverse, which is impressive considering the sheer number of them. This series features a fantastical, large crew of fairies, even if Talia is the center, she is nothing without her crew, which we learn even more centrally in this book. And that crew is extensive, so for none of them to feel flat or identical to another is such an impressive feat. On top of that, the unique world – both in feature and in socio-political construct – in addition to the characterization puts the author on track to be one to watch in the fantasy scene. I hope he can get the attention his work deserves, because it absolutely deserves a spot on the shelves next to the Instagram and Booktok greats!

This book is very dark. The first was so light and beautiful, that the descent in this one is all the darker. It was partially this that made me realize my mistake in understanding around the whole Sleeping Beauty concept. I didn’t realize who we were following exactly. Just in case you didn’t either, I’ll leave it for you to discover as I did. The feeling of “oh!!!” was so satisfying, I don’t want to take it from you. The first book did have some darkness. There were some horrible scenes, absolutely, but this is next level. So, definitely be prepared for that.

I listened to the audiobook version. That’s how I started it, and I prefer to keep the same format for a series when I can. The author’s lovely wife and editor is the narrator. She is a slower speaker, so if you’re a fast listener there is no problem speeding up the book. I was able to listen at a full 2.0 speed without problem whereas I can usually only get to 1.75 on a good day. So some of y’all might be able to hit 3x speed. Her performance includes various voices that bring the characters to life, and she is improving in her performance as well.

I met Joel through my work at Ravens and Roses, where we were both published in the Tales Untold: Mythos Around the World shorty story anthology. You can see my review of that book as a whole (not including my own story), including links here. You an also find a review for Joel’s first book in the Servants of the Moon and Sun series here: Talia: Heir of the Fairy Realm.

I am so grateful to Joel and his wife, Jay-Jay, for providing me an audiobook copy of this. I love audiobooks for so many reasons. From their accessibility purposes – both blind individuals and various neurodivergent individuals benefit from audiobooks – to the fact that you can accomplish other tasks while still reading, I am a big supporter. So I will always be a big audiobook fan and supporter. I look forward to reading the next one, which is already available on Amazon – Fairy Court in Exile.

Who’s It For?

If you love fantasy with some romance, action, drama, and all the good stuff thrown in, you’ll love this book. This is also a very LGBTQplus and positive sex book. Like many fantasty books it explores a variety of social factors, and does that through the lens of a fantasy race, which is one of my favorite things about both fantasy and scifi. This book is not for children and probably not for teens, unless they are incredibly mature. As a parent, you would have to use your own judgement for that. There are several intimate scenes throughout the series, as well as violence and other potentially questionable scenes for teens.

Content Warning: Pregnancy, Child Birth, Murder, Child Death, Torture, Violence, Betrayal, Infidelity, Self-Harm, Self Unaliving, Adult Situations

Question of the Day

Do you have a favorite fairy story or fairy tale retelling?

About the Author

Joel C. Flanagan-Grannemann is an award-winning fantasy author born and raised in rural western Pennsylvania. He wrote all through his adolescence and into young adulthood, serving as co-editor of the annual literary magazine his senior year at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, from which he earned a B.A. in writing. After a break of nearly 25 years, he resumed writing in September 2019 and began publishing his Servants of the Moon and Sun high fantasy series a year later.

He is passionate about supporting other writers at all stages of their journeys and in all genres and can be found on Twitter and BlueSky as @ServantsAnd (where you will find him frequently posting cute pictures of raccoons) and on the web at ServantsoftheMoonandSun.com.

He and his wife and editor, Jay-Jay Flanagan-Grannemann, live with a boisterous clowder of cats in Columbia, SC. His day job is in the operations department at a major national retail chain, where he has worked for more than 25 years.