In and Out of the Moon is a tale filled with adventure and imagination. Readers of fantasy worlds from ages seven to ninety-seven will enjoy reading it.
A young boy named Kabe with his sister Meg and brother Troy live with their father in a normal house, leading normal children lives.
At least as much normal as is possible after their mother has passed away and their father has emotionally checked out. Each cope in their own way. The oldest, Troy, simply buries himself in video games, so in a sense, he has learned to deal with life the same way his father has. No human interaction, just keeping his mind busy on the small screen he holds in his hands.
Meg is six and still has a lot of the guileless cheer and trust a little girl of that age has.
Kabe shares much of Meg's innocence and optimism. He has a close relationship with his grandfather who has stepped in to be a parent to all three children.
This comes to an end when the grandfather becomes ill. The story begins with the children visiting him in the hospital.
"Papaw, can you show me what light is?"
Kabe, you see, is blind.
These are our main characters. They lead not so abnormal lives, though it is unusual to be blind from birth and though not everyone has a parent die when they are young, too many children grow up in single parent homes.
As you might guess, things are about to change. While playing fetch with his dachshund, Daisy, Kabe picks up what he thinks is an ordinary stick and throws it to her. It is, in fact, not a stick at all but a magical, musical type wand. Not a wizard's wand but something more.
This magical wand leads the three children and Daisy into another world where they meet all sorts of fantastical creatures and people. As it turns out, this world is in grave danger. There are shadow creatures trying to overthrow the leaders and absorb the population.
There are also brave men, like the gardener, who turns out to be a King, and rises up to lead his army against the destroyers.
Troy finds he now has better things to do than play video games. One of them is protecting his sister Meg as the travel through this strange world. They end up crossing oceans and sailing library ships. That particular scene really resonated with me. I would love to sail the ocean in a ship filled with books.
I won't retell the story. Suffice it to say that there are all sorts of wonderful places and creatures that Kabe, Meg and Troy encounter while helping the King fight evil forces.
To me, it is the perfect kind of story. A story where a child's fantasy comes true. Didn't we all imagine ourselves meeting bears that could talk and unicorns that let us ride them and fighting along with centaurs?
The story-line is of course the basic good vs evil. One reads a book like this for the vicarious experience. McInnis spends a great deal of time describing the world the children have entered and succeeds in producing a highly satisfactory, charming setting. If I could compare this story it would be to George MacDonald's fairy tales, C.S. Lewis' Narnia Chronicles, and The Never-ending Story all wrapped into one.
This is not surprising because the author is a MacDonald and Lewis scholar, receiving his PhD in English at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. These authors' influence of McInnis' writing is unmistakable.
What I also appreciate about In and Out of the Moon is that it is refreshingly free of the dystopian angst that is so prevalent in fantasy novels today. Our heroes suffer setbacks but never lose their hope or optimism. There is a sense of overriding compassion throughout.
Another thing I like is that there is no "heroine saving the world" which seems to be cropping up in a lot of YA today since The Hunger Games have been so popular. Each child rises to the occasion and shares an equal role in working with the citizens of this other world. Even more importantly, Meg, Kabe and Troy become the family they needed to be before setting off on this extraordinary adventure.
The story ends somewhat mysteriously but there are supposed to be sequels which I hope will tell us more.
It is a perfect book to read aloud to elementary age children but I encourage fantasy lovers of all ages to read In and Out of the Moon.
Dr. McInnis is also the author of Shadows and Chivalry:C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald on Suffering, Evil and Goodness. For my review you can go here.
To purchase the book in Kindle, print or audio, click on the links below:
Audio on Amazon