Something is rotten in the town of Widget, and Rags-n-Bones knows it's all his fault. Ever since he snitched that avocado from Miss Ascot's pack, things have been going wrong. Armed with a handful of memories he never realized he had, Rags-n-Bones searches for a way to put right whatever he did to Widget in the past. If only he knew what it was! Unfortunately, the only person who seems to have answers is a half-mad youth that only Rags can see.
Widget is also suffering from a ghost infestation that has the townsfolk almost as spooked of outsiders as they are of actual spooks. While Rags-n-Bones seeks answers in the past, Ascot offers the town leaders her service as an exorcist, only to be handed an ultimatum: banish the ghosts or be banished herself!
Who's meddling with Widget? To catch the culprit, Ascot and Rags-n-Bones must match wits with a shifty sorcerer, a prissy ex-governess, and a troublingly attractive captain before the town consigns itself to the graveyard of history.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It is simply amazing, this boon of fantasy genre. Once appealing mostly to a nerdy-oriented culture of teen boys, the fantasy genre has burst through and become a mighty force. I mean this not just as a style of novel but as the Great Defender of Reading is Good. J.K. Rowling may have done as much in the short term and more in the long term than JRR Tolkien to get young people reading. Among the many to jump into the fantasy pool is A.E. Decker, with the Moonfall Mayhem series. The newest installment, The Meddlers of Moonshine, has been released and carries forward the adventures of Ascot and her diverse, rag tag group. While it is true of other authors, certainly Rowling, that adult material sometimes enters, it is quite the case here. In reading the Meddlers of Moonshine, I realized mid-way through I was uncertain this was actually a YA book. Yes, magic, talking animals/shape shifters, the leitmotif of loyalty, and the themes of good vs. evil are all present. But this book 'charms' (I couldn’t help myself) in other ways. The lead character and protagonist, Ascot, is a strong female. Ascot is both soft and tender and firm and tough. I hesitate to use the word feminist because for some it contains negative connotations, but how else does one describe a young woman who, in the first installment, rejects a prince, gives back an engagement ring, and goes off on her own adventures? This novel is different than typical YA fantasy in other ways. We have Dmitri, a Dostoevsky-loving wolf, infusing literary allusions and quotes throughout. Catch is shape-shifter tiger who loves richness and precision in language. There also is the presence of historical morality and sex appeal that could lead to some interesting discussions between a parent and child. I don’t want to scare anyone off—there is nothing graphic or inappropriate here. But a teen might well raise the question as to why the town folk, who seem to be set in the Victorian era, mustn’t know that Ascot is adventuring about with an adult male companion and no chaperone. There are some cuss words—very mild by today’s standards. Those who cuss are rebuked or try to restrain from swearing. A golden discussion opportunity if ever there were one. Beyond the well-developed characters, there is much descriptive and imaginative language. A streetlamp appears as a brass purring kitty to Ragsnbones, an ebullient and innocent we-don't-know-what. The ordinary is made extraordinary simply from perspective of those unversed in the quotidian and ubiquitous. The plot highlights the difficulty of decision-making and whom to trust. On the surface, it’s a fast paced story with lots of twists and action, but below the surface is also fun. Character names provide insights. Captain Cavall’s name indicates one who cavils, and yes, he obfuscates. Dmitri refers to Ragsnbones as Prince Myshkin because he has some of the qualities of Dostoevsky’s Idiot. A key point is when to push and when to back off, which lends to a fantasy spin about sense and sensibility. Meddlers of Moonshine is a reader’s book in that the more you bring, the more you will get from the novel. But for younger readers who are still broadening their experience, this series adds to the panorama through the richness of imaginative adventure. The ending contains some genuine but plausible surprises in a fantasy setting. I received a free galley copy in exchange for an honest review. It was highly entertaining.