Book Review: The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee - The Fantasy Review

Book Review: The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee

The Fantasy Review‘s review of The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee, book one in The Five Warrior Angels epic fantasy series.

The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee reads like A Game of Thrones and Gardens of the Moon had a baby, and oh boy what a vicious baby it is! That’s a weird analogy, but I think it makes sense.

This book has 500 reviews and just over 2,600 ratings on Goodreads, but it is one of the best epic fantasy books out there right now. Do yourself a favor and pick up The Forgetting Moon; you don’t know what you are missing out on!

A Dark, Gritty Fantasy

There are a few reviews out there complaining about violence and swearing, so let’s quickly state that if you don’t like dark fantasy books, this is not for you. The Forgetting Moon makes A Game of Thrones look like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – if you don’t want to be grossed out, scared, emotionally crushed by the suffering of innocents, this is not the book for you.

However, if, like me, you ate up The Blade Itself for breakfast and dined on the misfortunes of Theon Greyjoy in A Song of Ice and Fire for dinner, you are going to love being horrified by The Forgetting Moon!

There is far more to this world than its darker elements, though. These harrowing moments serve as a catalyst for character development, as a way to naturally drop a little exposition, and create a tense atmosphere throughout the book.

Flawed Characters

There is only one main POV character I actually liked inThe Forgetting Moon – the rest of them are either irritating, dickheads, or almost totally evil. Unlike my experience with Rin in The Poppy War, however, I still loved reading each and every POV chapter.

There is something magical in the way Durfee writes these characters. Gault, for example, despite being essentially a war criminal, elicited empathy from me, much like when you get to read chapters from Jamie Lannister’s POV in A Song of Ice and Fire.

I get tired of heroes in fantasy. They have their moments, but what about the dickheads? When do these idiots and wrong-doers get their moment to shine? We love A Song of Ice and Fire because it gives us characters who feel real, who we could imagine in our history books. They make mistakes, sometimes major mistakes, but it’s when they learn and grow and become something new, hopefully something better, that keeps us engaged.

An Addictive Plot

I won’t lie, I struggled with the first 35% of The Forgetting Moon. The learning curve is steep. Not as steep as Gardens of the Moon, but I felt a bit lost in this absolutely massive world Durfee has created.

I am so glad I kept at it! At the 40% mark, all the pieces fell into place and I finally got swept up in this epic start to what promises to be an incredible series.

I have always loved depictions of religion in fantasy books: the Age of the Five trilogy by Trudi Canavan was the first adult fantasy series I ever read and it had much the same themes as The Forgetting Moon, where several factions of a religion are headed into conflict over the “truth” of their specific versions of their religious texts.

The need to know who is right and who is wrong drove me through this book, but I almost hope that the answer doesn’t even matter. Because what Durfee focuses on, despite all these ongoing and ever present mysteries, is the people of this world and how the major (and minor) events of the world affect them. At its core, The Forgetting Moon is a character-driven narrative.

Final Thoughts

I mention all these other books in this review of The Forgetting Moon because Brian Lee Durfee reads a lot of books, and I mean A LOT (check out his great YT channel!) and you can see how much he has taken from all the greats to create something special with this book.

The Forgetting Moon deserves more readers, so I implore all lovers of dark fantasy/grimdark to go and pick this epic fantasy book up right now and never look back.

Related to our Review of The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee

Owner and Editor of The Fantasy Review. Loves all fantasy and science fiction books, graphic novels, TV and Films. Having completed a BA and MA in English Literature and Creative writing, they would like to go on to do a PhD. Favourite authors are Trudi Canavan, Steven Erikson, George R. R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson.

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