Thursday, September 8, 2022

New Release Spotlight + Mini-Review: Moon Dark Smile by Tessa Gratton

Today, I'm happy to share a new release spotlight and short review for Tessa Gratton's latest release, Moon Dark Smile! This is a dazzling and beautiful fantasy story of a girl on a journey that takes place in a truly incredible world with plenty of magic and characters to meet. 
Below, you'll find some general information about Moon Dark Smile and a review from me! 

Author:  Tessa Gratton - Website
Pub. Date: August 30th, 2022
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 432

Find it: Amazon |  

Ever since she was a girl, Raliel Dark-Smile’s best friend has been the great demon that lives in the palace. As the daughter of the Emperor, Raliel appears cold and distant to those around her, but what no one understands is that she and the great demon, Moon, have a close and unbreakable bond and are together at all times. Moon is bound to the Emperor and his two consorts, Raliel’s parents, and when Raliel comes of age, she will be bound to Moon as well, constrained to live in the Palace for the rest of her days. 
Raliel is desperate to see the Empire Between Five Mountains, and she feels a deep kinship with Moon, who longs to break free of its bonds. When the time finally arrives for Raliel’s coming of age journey, she discovers a dangerous way to take Moon with her, even as she hides this truth from her travel companion, the beautiful, demon-kissed bodyguard Osian Redpop. But Osian is hiding secrets of his own, and when a plot surfaces that threatens the Empire, Raliel will have to decide who she can trust and what she’ll sacrifice for the power to protect all that she loves."


Moon Dark Smile is a standalone sequel to Tessa Gratton's Night Shine. You do not have to have read the first book in order to enjoy this one, though I'm sure reading Moon Dark Smile will be a richer reading experience for those who have. 

Moon Dark Smile follows Raliel, daughter of the Emperor, and Moon, great demon of the palace as they embark on a journey to figure out how to free Moon from its binding to the palace. They are joined on this journey by Osian, a demon-kissed bodyguard who is full of secrets. I really enjoyed following this group of characters on this somewhat meandering journey, and Raliel and Moon in particular stood out as two characters that I really liked learning more about and following along on this adventure. 

I love Tessa Gratton's writing and find that all of her books have some of the most beautifully written prose, and Moon Dark Smile is no exception. I also really liked Gratton's exploration of gender expression and fluidity in Moon Dark Smile and how it was so effortlessly woven right into the plot and magic system. I felt that the plot itself was actually rather slow-moving at times and sometimes even felt as though there was no clear direction the characters were moving, but I found myself continuously captivated by this book anyway because of Gratton's writing and skillful ability to develop a beautiful world and intriguing characters. 

Overall, if you're looking for a fantasy filled with a great journey, exploration, and beautiful writing, then you should definitely check out a copy of Moon Dark Smile. Since I unfortunately had not had a chance to read Night Shine before this one, I will definitely be going out and picking up a copy to read more from this world! Huge thanks to the publisher and Lindsey Ferris for gifting me a copy to share this spotlight and review!

About the Author:
(bio from publisher)

Tessa Gratton is genderfluid and hangry. She is the author of The Queens of Innis Lear and Lady Hotspur, as well as several YA series and short stories which have been translated into twenty-two languages. Her most recent YA novels are Strange Grace and Night Shine, as well as the forthcoming Chaos and Flame. Though she has traveled all over the world, she currently lives alongside the Kansas prairie with her wife. You can find her online at her website,, or on Twitter and Instagram @Tessa.Gratton.


  1. I have not yet read any of Gratton's books, but I do have several on my TBR. This cover is lovely and the story sounds very good😁