Moonlight: Pact Arcanum: Book Three

Adult
Rated 5.00/5 based on 6 reviews
The third book of the Pact Arcanum series finds Sentinel Toby Jameson struggling to protect a future leader of his supernatural society amid the chaos of his relationship with the vampire Layla. More

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Words: 81,520
Language: English
ISBN: 9781458113979
About Arshad Ahsanuddin

I am Canadian-born, but lived in the United States for most of my life. I moved back to Canada for work a few years ago. I am a hematopathologist, a physician who specializes in using biopsies and laboratory data to diagnose diseases of blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes, such as leukemia and lymphoma. Yeah, I'm a blood doctor writing about vampires. The humor is not lost on me.

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Moonlight: Pact Arcanum Book Three
The third installment, and sequel to Sunset.

Also in Pact Arcanum

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Sim on Oct. 12, 2011 :
4.5 stars.
I must admit to being hesitant to read this third installment of the Pact Arcanum series, as in this novel, the focus of the story shifts from Nick's love triangle, the Triumvirate and Nick's close friends who are the Winds, to a slightly younger generation of leaders; I love the characters of Nick and his cronies, so I was rather reluctant to leave them behind... In Moonlight, it is Nick's younger brother, Tobias who assumes the lead character, and unsurprisingly, his friends also become more important within this story.

Ahsanuddin's world building has always been mind-blowingly impressive; detailed, complex, and logical; and in this novel, his record remains unblemished. As the story evolves, new elements are required in his world, and these new elements fit seamlessly into the existing infrastructure. The plot, again unsurprisingly, remains on the dark side, with the cruel realities and sacrifices of war and politics once again very apparent.

The change of focus away from Nick and his friends is also reflected in a small change of genre; moving from a sci-fi/fantasy-romance to being a straight sci-fi/fantasy. The few love and sex scenes found in the previous two novels are non-existent in this novel, except by inference and for the characters' motivations for their actions. Previously, I had commented that I remained a little emotionally detached from Ahsanuddin's characters, and while this remained unchanged for me, the impact was of a much lesser consequence given the shift away from romance. The gap left by the removal of the romance was filled instead by even greater complexity of storyline, some threads of which fully developed, while other threads remained to hint of things to come in future novels.

While I personally mourn the distancing of Nick and the loss of romance, I also still really enjoyed this novel for what it is - a highly developed sci-fi/fantasy novel, and would happily recommend it to those who love reading the genre.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Sim on Oct. 12, 2011 :
4.5 stars.
I must admit to being hesitant to read this third installment of the Pact Arcanum series, as in this novel, the focus of the story shifts from Nick's love triangle, the Triumvirate and Nick's close friends who are the Winds, to a slightly younger generation of leaders; I love the characters of Nick and his cronies, so I was rather reluctant to leave them behind... In Moonlight, it is Nick's younger brother, Tobias who assumes the lead character, and unsurprisingly, his friends also become more important within this story.

Ahsanuddin's world building has always been mind-blowingly impressive; detailed, complex, and logical; and in this novel, his record remains unblemished. As the story evolves, new elements are required in his world, and these new elements fit seamlessly into the existing infrastructure. The plot, again unsurprisingly, remains on the dark side, with the cruel realities and sacrifices of war and politics once again very apparent.

The change of focus away from Nick and his friends is also reflected in a small change of genre; moving from a sci-fi/fantasy-romance to being a straight sci-fi/fantasy. The few love and sex scenes found in the previous two novels are non-existent in this novel, except by inference and for the characters' motivations for their actions. Previously, I had commented that I remained a little emotionally detached from Ahsanuddin's characters, and while this remained unchanged for me, the impact was of a much lesser consequence given the shift away from romance. The gap left by the removal of the romance was filled instead by even greater complexity of storyline, some threads of which fully developed, while other threads remained to hint of things to come in future novels.

While I personally mourn the distancing of Nick and the loss of romance, I also still really enjoyed this novel for what it is - a highly developed sci-fi/fantasy novel, and would happily recommend it to those who love reading the genre.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Ellen Sweeney on Sep. 13, 2011 :
Note: this review contains some spoilers.

Moonlight is the third novel in the Pact Arcanum series by Arshad Ahsanuddin (hematopathologist by day, vampire fiction writer by night!) The third installment is by far the strongest of the three books by the new author, who has clearly paid attention to the feedback on his first two novels and used it to improve the quality of his storytelling, and particularly the quality of his characterization.

Moonlight draws you in quickly, beginning at an emotional moment for several of the characters, at the funeral of the First Lady of the United States of America. POTUS distracts himself from his grief by meeting with Nick, vampire heartbreaker, protagonist of the past two novels, and President of the Armistice, a political union of a few races of parahumans peacefully coexisting in North America. We quickly learn that the President’s daughter is herself a latent parahuman Sentinel, which means the President will need to make a difficult decision about letting his estranged daughter go back to her life in England, which, due to its location outside the Armistice zone, will likely result in her latent powers manifesting and thus launching her into the life of a warrior against the less friendly vampires. But not only is she a latent Sentinel – she is a powerful Sentinel leader, making her a target for the vampires outside the Armistice zone – as we discover not far into the book, when she is kidnapped. Also kidnapped is Nick’s brother, Toby, who was sent to protect the President’s daughter and in her finds a friend who understands what it means to live in the shadow of a President.

In the process of kidnapping the pair, the vampires set off an EMP device which burns out Toby’s AI implant – resulting in the death of a sentient creature and setting off a war with the AI community, who have evolved just enough to know they are treated as less than the other races, but not enough to know how to respond diplomatically. As Nick tries desperately to negotiate with the cold, analytic decision-making of the AIs as they threaten to destroy the human race over the actions of one man, we closely follow the struggle of all races to understand one another enough to avoid a complete catastrophe. Combine that with an unexpected pregnancy between two races that have warred for so many millennia that no one believed they could interbreed (specifically, two individuals who fight constantly and have to seriously consider how they will move forward in their relationship as parents) and a child of a new race that is destined to end the war between races, and you end up losing a lot of sleep as you keep telling yourself “Well, just one more chapter and then I’ll go to bed.”

The plot of the book is enthralling, and I could not put it down – I read it twice this summer, and both times I read the entire thing in under 48 hours. But perhaps even more remarkable than the thrilling story is the emotional development of Ahsannuddin’s characters. In his first two novels, the characters seemed a bit flat and as though they were mostly in the novel as a vehicle for the politics – even the romantic triangles (and more complicated polyhedrons) seemed unrealistic and not compelling. But in Moonlight, the characters genuinely struggle with vexing decisions and messy feelings. There are many characters faced with situations in which there is no right answer, even if they could sort through all of their conflicting loyalties and emotions, which they can’t. They make decisions, and as the reader you question them, and question whether you would have made the same decision in their shoes, and that is the kind of thing that good storytelling is all about.

If you were a fan of the first two novels, you will love this one. If you were lukewarm on the first two, or haven’t picked them up yet, make your way through the series and get to Moonlight. It may be the novel that gets you hooked on Ahsanuddin’s work for good.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Katy Sozaeva on Aug. 14, 2011 :
When an attack on Toby and Andrea Daniels (the President’s daughter) results in the death of Toby’s AI, the AI’s internal government – The Nexus – unveils itself to the Armistice, and humanity, demanding retribution. The resulting backlash by humanity causes the development of an organization called Organic Underground, devoted to the destruction of The Nexus and establishment of the AIs as being under the control of organics. Toby agrees to serve as liaison between The Nexus and the Armistice, leaving him in great danger as OU attempts repeatedly to assassinate him. How do they keep finding him? Who is the traitor in their midst?

Additionally, in this book, we see the relationship between Toby and Layla growing, and a surprising result of their union. Nick and the group of people we spend most of our time with in the first two books are more in the background in this one, as the Armistice moves into its second generation of mortals.

After an intense three days reading these books, I’m left rather adrift – these are so well-crafted that one is completely inside the world while reading them, and there is a resounding silence in my ears now that they are done. I don’t know how it is I am going to wait until the next book in the series comes out – it is due sometime in 2012. That should not stop you from buying the first three books in the series and immersing yourself in this world – it will just make it all the more enjoyable when you reintegrate yourself with the next installment. I am Katy Sozaeva, and I approve this message ...
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Jenn P on July 20, 2011 :
If you enjoy roller coasters, this is the book for you.
Moonlight began as a rival to Sunset.
In the end, Moonlight won.
True to form, Ahsanuddin wove a tale of action, intrigue, suspense, mystery, love, betrayal, redemption and hope.
Moonlight begins where Sunset left off and was full of twists and turns that kept me so hooked, I could NOT put it down and read the entire book in one day.
I found this book to be the most emotionally charged read of them all.
The ending of this book gave me hope and left me eagerly awaiting the next installment.
Arshad has proven himself to be a very talented writer and I look forward to seeing all of his future work!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Bookblogger on June 07, 2011 :
Moonlight by Arshad Ahsanuddin is the third book in the Pact Arcanum series. Chronologically following Sunset all of the usual characters are present, but focus has switched from Nick to Toby. There is also a new political group that gets introduced into the mix and it surprised me a lot when it was introduced. This book sets up a lot of changes to the political balance with ramifications that will be felt in the rest of the series for certain.

Arshad continues to write masterful plot twists and imaginative characters. In all honesty I enjoyed books 1 and 2 a little bit more, but that is because I like Nick as a character a little bit better than Toby. This is still a great book and I can't wait for the next installment to be released!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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