A Review of Waking the Moon, by Elizabeth Hand

Waking the Moon, by Elizabeth HandThe Moon with a Knife-Sharp Edge

Three unwitting college students stand between the reawakening of a dark goddess and the Benandanti, a secret society of magicians who have been running the world for thousands of years.

Waking the Moon, which won a Mythopoeic Award and a James Tiptree, Jr. Award, is part horror, part coming of age story, and part romance. Chock full of arcane lore that draws from prehistoric matriarchal cultures, the aspect of the goddess portrayed is more akin to Yeats’ rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem than Quan Yin or Mother Mary.

The novel centers on Catherine Sweeney Cassidy, just entering college in Washington D.C. at the University of the Archangels and St. John the Divine. Attending her first class (Magic, Witchcraft & Religion), Sweeney is gob smacked by the stunning Angelica di Rienza, and the brilliant and bizarre Oliver Crawford. To Sweeney’s surprise, these two charismatic creatures seem drawn to her, as well. Read more »