Book Review: The Moon Dwellers

Title: The Moon Dwellers
Author: David Estes
Series: The Dwellers #1
Publication Date: June 30th 2012
ISBN13: 9781476418452

In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms. 

After her parents and sister are abducted by the Enforcers, seventeen-year-old Adele, a member of the middle-class moon dwellers, is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for her parents' crimes of treason.

Against all odds, Adele must escape from the Pen and find her family, while being hunted by a deranged, killing machine named Rivet, who works for the President. She is helped by two other inmates, Tawni and Cole, each of whom have dark secrets that are better left undiscovered. Other than her friends, the only thing she has going for her is a wicked roundhouse kick and two fists that have been well-trained for combat by her father.

At the other end of the social spectrum is Tristan, the son of the President and a sun dweller. His mother is gone. He hates his father. Backed by only his servant and best friend, Roc, he leaves his lavish lifestyle in the Sun Realm, seeking to make something good out of his troubled life.

When a war breaks out within the Tri-Realms, Tristan is thrust into the middle of a conflict that seems to mysteriously follow Adele as she seeks to find her family and uncover her parents true past.

In their world, someone must die.
Hmmm. So let me tell you what finally pushed me to read this book. The series is always in the list of books to read if you love Hunger Games in Goodreads. The author is gorgeous and is really very accommodating towards his fans. He always interacts with them and answers their queries. His book is featured and included among the 15 books to read if you’re a fan of Hunger Games in a known website.  15 Series to Read if you Enjoyed The Hunger Games. The books that made the list are pretty high caliber and were highly publicized like Divergent, Delirium, and Matched Trilogy. So it got me thinking, was it really that good? So yeah, I really had to read it. Plus David Estes announced recently that had found an agent and there are some movie outfits interested in his books. 

So. Moon Dwellers. Oh well, it was good. As in really good. It’s really different from the other dystopian novels I’ve read. So before anything else, let me first tell me you about the setting of this novel. 

The Setting 

They say the meteor was the size of Texas. Any life left on the surface of the Earth when it hit was wiped out by either the shockwave caused by the collision, or the resulting tsunamis unleashed across the world’s oceans. Humans were forced to move underground. 

Politicians, doctors, scientists, and farmers received a free pass, but all others just got a number. The number gave them a one in a hundred chance of getting selected to move into the underground facilities. All the rest were destroyed. 

It is now 499 PM in their world. Their time is measured from the day the meteor hit. PM means Post Meteor. The time before Armageddon is referred as Before Meteor or BM. 

Because the new world required more structure, they created and changed the political system. The first Nailin was elected as President in 126 PM. His name was Wilfred Nailin. Congress decided that elections should be held every five years instead of four, with the opportunity for reelection after the first term. But because of his greediness, he wanted to secure his family’s future by passing a law that allowed positions to be handed down from generation to generation within each family, so long as Congress and the President unanimously approved it. 

Soon, however, the gap started to widen between the classes. The wealthy began to take more and more liberties. Elected officials continued to abuse their powers do the disadvantaged complained. That’s why the Tri-Realm was created. 

The Tri-Realms were created from 215 PM to 255 PM. First the Moon Realm was executed, using the advancements in mining technology, to create massive caverns deep beneath the original caverns, to build more cities in. Natural caves were used as a starting point, widened and heightened to the extensive side required to house thousands of people. Heavy beams of rock were used to support the cavern’s roofs, which were prone to cave-ins. Middle and lower class citizens were used to do the work, having been convinced by large salaries and the opportunity to “advance our civilization for the good of humankind.” 

Once the caverns were complete, the workers were forced to take their families to live in them. Then the work on the Star Realm began, digging even deeper below the Earth’s surface. Fewer resources were allocated to excavating the Star Realm, and therefore, the caverns were smaller, more confined, more densely populated. The poorest citizens were sent to live in the deepest caverns. 

Each of the Tri-Realms was split up into eight chapters, and each chapter into between two and six subchapters depending on its size, each if which was populated by between ten and a hundred thousand people. 

Over time, taxes were increased annually for the moon and star dwellers, as those living in the Moon and Star Realms were called, until the Sun Realm was receiving significant resources to improve their own caverns. Life was good for the Sun Dwellers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for anyone else. 

The U.S. Constitution was legally abolished in 302PM. 

A Nailin has been in power for more than 350 years. 

The Characters 

Adele Rose is a Moon Dweller who was sent to the Pen and was sentenced to stay for life inside the place when Enforcers captured her parents. She doesn’t know if they’re still dead or alive but she certainly doesn’t believe they’re still alive. She has been living in the Pen for six months. She keeps to herself. She doesn’t give a damn about the bullies because she can surely fight and break them and she doesn’t make friends not until Tawni and Cole approached her. 

Tristan Nailin. “He captures the attention of young, naïve females. Blond, curly hair. Seventeen but already over six feet tall. Strong, solid frame. A princely face. Big, navy blue eyes. An addictive smile, with right-sized lips and ivory teeth.” He’s the heir to the presidency. He’s a Sun Dweller and had grown up in a privilege world. He’s a puppet of his father and was brought up to follow his father’s commands but lately, he doesn’t feel contented. He wants to do what he really wants. He feels ashamed of his life because he knows his father’s actions are not fair to people. His feelings against his father intensified when he saw Adele. He felt empowered. Though he ran away to rescue her, he also wanted a change. He wanted to stop the inequalities in the Tri-Realms. 

Tawni. She’s a daughter two Sun Dweller spies and she decided to run away because she can’t take how other people are living while their family lives of by betraying the community where she lives in. She was bullied when she was a kid and if not for Cole, she would still have been bullied until today. 

Cole. Oh Cole! Why oh why David? My heart breaks for this guy. He was portrayed as a murdered by the Enforcers when in fact his family was wronged. They killed and attempted to rape her sister and they also murdered his parents. After which he was sent to imprisonment for life contrary to what he told Adele. That scene at the last part tore me up. I envisioned a love triangle among him, Adele and Tristan. I just can’t believe you did that David! I feel frustrated. 

Roc. The only friend of Tristan who despite the fact that he cannot fight a battle decided to accompany his master to an Unknown place. That’s a courageous act for him. Although I still doubt his loyalty. 

Elsey. She’s Adele’s sister and despite her age, she thinks like a matured teenager. She’s a real help towards the end especially when the group felt a bit down to fight. 

Tidbits about the Tri-Realms 

The Pen – according to them pen is named for play pen, like a young child’s little safety enclosure, full of toys and bright-colored bobbles and trinkets but it really means penitentiary. 

The Max – maximum security for adult prison 

Moon Hall – where the local politicians gather to do whatever it is that they do. 

The mine is the pinnacle of the Moon Realm. Almost all of the employed work at the mine. 

Electricity is rationed, such that the Sun Realm receives eighty percent of it, of course, with a paltry fifteen percent going to the Moon Realm, and a measly five percent to the Star Dwellers. 

The age of accountability is eight years old. 

The symbol of the Sun Realm is a fiery red and orange sun with wavy hat lines wafting to the sides. 

Since moving underground, the people improved night vision due to long exposure to dim or no lighting. Their sense of hearing and smell have been heightened, making them less reliant on their slightly improved sight. Their skin paler and dustier. Their lungs are more resistant to the constant intake of rock dust. The average life expectancies are about twenty years shorter than when humans lived aboveground, but no one really talks about it. They have adapted to their environment. 

Adele preferred to call the Tri-Realm – Deep, Deeper, Deepest. 

Stewards – name for prison guards 

Camp Blood and Stone – where prisoners are made to work in some of the most dangerous mines in the Moon Realm. 

Lonely Caverns – network of caves interconnecting the Realms. 

Overall, I really love the book. I’m looking forward to more exciting and adventurous book two. 

Sometimes, girls, you have to hit your lowest low just before you hit your highest high. It makes you appreciate the good things so much more. 
There are some things more important than your own life. Like friendship, and love, and trust, and goodness.

David EstesAuthor of popular YA dystopian series, the Dwellers Saga and the Country Saga. Voted books to read if you enjoyed the Hunger Games on Buzzfeed and Listopia.

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David's a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.


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