I really enjoyed reading the Daughter of the Moon books by Lynne Ewing as a teenager and this is what I have to say about them in retrospect.
- Ending? WTF is this?: The ending was definitely whack and rushed. The series is like twenty books long and it ends like that? Don’t want to put spoilers here but it was really lame and cliché….
- Shimmery Lights = a Girl’s Power???: Why is it that the only power that women and girls have is this shimmery metaphorical light? Women who use force are looked down upon, even when it’s to save their live and other people’s lives; these women are looked at as aggressive or animalistic. Ewing portrays the goddesses as pacifist and their powers are pacifistic. I understand that there’s a message of non-violence, but why does a woman’s goodness and worth have to be aligned with a gentle, motherly demeanor and nonviolence when the world demands that a woman know how to protect herself and her daughters even if she must sometimes use violence to protect. It’s the difference between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. It’s the reason I have issues with Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon. Ewing’s biography states that she is also a counselor for ‘troubled’ teens. I don’t understand how she came up with the girl powers = non-violent powers theme, knowing that we live in a violent world. I feel the same way about Sailor Moon to a somewhat lesser degree. More to come on this topic in later posts.
- Jimena, the only sista in the crew: With the exception of Jimena, there are no girl goddesses of color. The first racial/ethnic group that white writers select from for the magical girl genre is Latin@, because in my opinion they view them as tan versions of themselves. Not too dark to be disassociated with the purity of white femaleness, not too white that there’s no difference between them and other white character. And Jimena adds spice and a flare of color to the all-white cast of this girl power series. The only young woman of color, of course, Jimena. I shouldn’t be surprised.
- Inspired: Like with Sailor Moon, when I was growing up, Ewing’s Daughter of the Moon was a real source of inspiration to me, combining the magical/supernatural with slice of life and girl power, even though there aren’t many people of color involved. It’s difficult to completely identify with a series when people who look like you aren’t present, as a young woman of color. Still, the series wasn’t a complete loss and I still look upon it favorable in some ways.
- Heterosexist obsession with boys: Are all young girls really obsessed with boys or are they this way because we keep writing them into existence. Ewing doesn’t crack down any barriers or break any molds on this front. The only thing that saves the goddesses from being read as total boy-crazy airheads is their internal and external struggle with the antagonistic forces in the series and the building of their characters. That’s saying a lot.
- Followers?: Sounds like Twitter and Google Reader… There is a lot of metaphorical meaning in the symbols surrounding the Atrox but also some passive commentary on teen culture.
- Dressing, Club scenes, and Dancing: I love the way Ewing describes the clothes, hair, makeup and the club and night scenes. I love the way she talks about the goddess girls’ strut!
- Ewing would pick Latin and goddesses hailed and propagated by Eurocentric academia: ‘nuff said
- Sons of Dark: …well that ended pretty damn quickly and she killed them all off!!! I keep wondering if, in addition to the crappy, rushed ending of Daughters of Moon, it was a publishing issue that caused Ewing to write these bad/cliché ending for the Daughters and the Sons.
- The Choice: Why did she make it so that the girls either had to ascend to some higher plane or lose their memories and their powers and remain on earth? That kind of took me out of the story.
- Hunger for something more intense: Someone described Daughters of the Moon as “lackluster”. I think there is something about the style of writing and third person omniscience that I find to be “lackluster”. I had just convinced my sister to read Harry Potter with me and we took turns reading out loud with each other until we did the whole series. I wanted to push it a bit further and read Daughters of the Moon. As I was reading it out loud to her, I realized that there was something almost boring about reading it out loud, something too PG-13, or something. I just couldn’t figure out what was turning me off from it where in my teen years, I was enthralled and couldn’t get enough. Maybe because I know the end, it just isn’t filled with as many possibilities for the new and exciting to me.
- Using their powers: As always with magical girl stories, I always like to see them use their powers in the given situation. That’s exciting for me.
- Gender binary: Gotta bring it up, it must be done. Everybody in the books fits neatly into ‘male’ or ‘female’. It’d have been nice to see some queerness up in this series. I’m finding more and more that my own sexuality and gender identity leans away from the male-female binary.
- Body positivity: I always loved how the goddesses were so comfortable with their bodies (or became that way). I felt like in order to be a goddess or goddess-like, like these girls, I should look like that. Too bad I’m not white or particularly thin…and I don’t have long flowy magical pony hair….
- Cover art: I love the cover photos for the original hardbacks of the series and I own all of them. Like I said, it’s difficult for a Black girl in the white dominated media but I always loved these covers and thought the models were beautiful and ethereal-looking.