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Waking the Moon [Hardcover]

Elizabeth Hand
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 25 1995
Beginning her first year at the University of the Archangels, Katherine Sweeney Cassidy accidentally discovers the existence of the Benandanti, a clandestine order that has been secretly manipulating the world's governments and institutions.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

When Sweeney Cassidy, a naive freshman at the University of the Archangels and St. John the Divine in Washington, D.C., falls in with the wrong crowd, she is expelled for taking part in a lurid escapade. But Hand (Icarus Descending) offers no usual tale of adolescent antics in this full-blooded gothic fantasy. The university is a haven of the Benandanti, who for millennia have guarded against the return of their ancient foe, Othiym Lunarsa, the Moon Goddess. In Hand's post-feminist tale, however, the goddess is not a comfortable earth mother figure but a powerful destroyer. The Benandanti are unaware that Sweeney's friends Oliver and Angelica are the Chosen Ones, whose violent coupling under the moon will begin to wake Othiym. Oliver kills himself, Angelica disappears and Sweeney is whisked away by the Benandanti. Twenty years later, Sweeney's summer intern at the National Museum of Natural History turns out to be the son of her old classmates, the result of that wild moonlit night. Young Dylan's mother has become Angelica Furiano, a New Age author with a large following of goddess worshippers. As Angelica's power grows, fed by the blood of young men, she is gradually becoming the goddess. But Sweeney, vowing to thwart the transformation, confronts Othiym in an apocalyptic showdown. Blending the ancient with the modern, the fantastic with the real, Hand has created a violently sensual fable helped by smart pacing and vibrant prose.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"A potent socio-erotic ghost story for our looming Millennium." -- -- William Gibson, author of Neuromancer and Virtual Light

"An extraordinary work--An ambitious, erotically charged thriller" -- -- Clive Barker, author of Everville

"Ms. Hand is a superior stylist." -- -- The New York Times Book Review

"The tropic lushness of Hand's descriptions are only one reward awaiting her reader." -- -- The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A potent socio-erotic ghost story for our looming Millennium." -- William Gibson, author of Neuromancer and Virtual Light

"An extraordinary workAn ambitious, erotically charged thriller" -- Clive Barker, author of Everville

"Superior. An author worth watching, not to mention recommending." -- Booklist

"The tropic lushness of Hand's descriptions are only one reward awaiting her reader." -- The Cleveland Plain Dealer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please don't yell at me July 6 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Once again I'm in the minority, left hoping people don't send me outraged emails just because I like what I like and don't what I don't.
Sorry, but this is one of the worst-written books I've ever tried to read -- awkward, obvious, graceless. The sense of mystery generated by the synopsis and cover blurbs is destroyed by two or three pages in, when all the relevant signposts are all-too-clearly laid in place: startling, ubiquitous angelic statuary? Check. Centuries-old buildings hidden behind trees? Check. Archaeological expert wearing jewelry with unexplained missing piece? Check. Ancient order observing mystical signs? Check. And that's by, oh, page seven? What happened to leading readers, let alone characters, into your dark designs in an intruiging way? It certainly isn't something which, judging by this book (and in fairness, it's the only one of Ms. Hand's I've seen) the author is capable of. Even the title tells you exactly what's going to happen. Humbug.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rich, textured, depth, realism, emotion. Jan. 23 2004
By Auliya
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Despite a few clumsy transitions from description to action here and there, and despite an awkward timesharing between super-magical and super-real, this book is excellent. The characters are vivid, real enough to touch. The historical magic is handled intelligently and with a sense of high drama (if even well-done melodrama turns you off, beware). The book has style and strength. The prose is evocative, richly texturely, deeply involving. The topics range from practical love and human conflict to cultural issues spanning time and country. There's enough romance - of people, of place - to fill your head until you're breathless. I highly recommend it. Highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ranks right up there with one of my best reads Dec 17 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book held me enthralled from the moment I picked it up, and as soon as I finished it I proclaimed to my husband that it was one of the best books I'd ever read. Ms. Hand's use of imagery is amazingly articulate, and I had complete pictures in my mind of each character as they were introduced. And the story itself... one of the best right up until the very end.
My only single complaint, like someone else mentioned, would have to be the author's use of a number of old English or historical words and phrases that I found myself looking up in a dictionary sometimes to fully grasp the meaning of a particular passage. (Often after reading through a few paragraphs, I could often get a general idea of what a particular word meant, but sometimes, the meaning was totally lost on me without looking it up.) That said, I *am* an educated individual, just not very strong in historical subjects. But in a way, I felt I got a neat little history lesson review in that regard. :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hand's best book by far Jan. 7 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Elizabeth Hand is a truly wicked author. If you learn about the ancient cults worshipping Attis and Adonis, your interpretation of what happened at the end may be reversed 180 degrees ... this happened to me. I wonder whether she intended for the book to have a different meaning for the cognoscenti, or whether she thought she was leaving enough clues for everyone? But even if you don't quite figure out exactly what happened at the end, it's still a great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Hand's writing is mesmerizing. Aug. 22 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Although I first read this book years ago, I find myself compelled to reread parts of it from time to time. It is a powerful book, and vivid in my memory. I have read several of Ms. Hand's other works, but feel this is the most stirring. It has elements of a coming of age story, but is not at all a typical rite of passage novel. Recommended for those who like something unusual.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
I love this novel. Read it! I discovered it by accident in a supermarket a few years ago and haven't forgotten it. Elizabeth Hand is a dazzling writer of unique vision, who transcends limitations of genre through her virtuosity with language. "Waking the Moon" remains my favorite of the Hand books that I've read. I eagerly await her next one.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Trite and unconvincing Feb. 11 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was quite aggravated that I spent a couple of days of my life reading this novel. At first, the style of the book was quite gripping but after part 1 this pseudo- literary attempt flounders. The characters are described effectively but one never gets to the heart of their personalities. Frankly, several elements of the story are laughable: the Benandanti, the romance of Sweeney and Dylan being just two. As a Goddess worshipper I was not delighted with the overall hostile tone of the novel towards Goddess spirituality; don't fool yourself into thinking this is is a feminist take on Goddess craft. Plus, some of her 'facts' about particular Goddesses are wrong.
I would have liked this book more if Hand had not described everyone's outfits and faces in such mind-numbing ways. Many pages of this book leave you bored, bored, bored! Read this if you go more for style over substance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read! Jan. 31 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A great Read! Blood sacrifice, Feminine cults, moon worship--whooee! Ms Hand has done her homework--the book is VERY convincing, and a sexy, thrilling ride. And I loved what she tries to do at the end--nothing less than a modern, feminist take on a full Lovecraft meltdown. I've gone back to this book a couple of times. Bravo!
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