This week’s Danger Gal Friday profile is on Skye Brown, also known as Mariah Quinn in Marianne Mancusi’s MOONGAZER.

MoongazerI’ve already profiled one heroine from a book in the Shomi line (Eve Kenin’s DRIVEN), and you can bet on more in the future. Pretty much anything in this line, which publishes books with female protagonists who challenge feminine stereotypes, has jumped to the top of my to-be-read list. MOONGAZER does not disappoint as it fluidly combines both SciFi/Fantasy and Romance. Even Mrs. Giggles loved it, which is quite a feat.

Skye Brown is a MMORPG designer, knee-deep in her creation when she’s yanked out of what she thinks is the real world to, well, the actual post-apocalyptic real world now called Terra. Dawn is the transhuman boyfriend of her alter ego, Mariah Quinn. I’m quickly becoming enamored of stories where female characters discover, or re-discover in this case, their Danger Gal sides instead of existing in that state from the beginning of a novel.

Quinn forsook a life among the Terran ruling elite called the Circle of Eight to lead a revolution among the downtrodden of Terra, the Dark Siders. While researching Moongazing, a virtual reality billed as an escape to “Earth” where everything is still green and the air is still breathable, Mariah becomes addicted and loses herself in it. Once freed from Moongazing, she’s lost all memory of being Mariah and now believes she’s game designer Skye Brown.

Mariah/Skye retains her sword-fighting abilities, but no memories of her former soulmate, Dawn, a man who thinks Mariah betrayed them all, and for good reason. Skye’s second chance at life, an opportunity to wipe the slate clean both with the Dark Siders and with Dawn, is compelling. She’s able to keep the best of Mariah and discard the lesser qualities. Dawn falls in love with her all over again.

MOONGAZER was escapist fun, with a heroine who learned to dig down deep and find a strength she didn’t know she had. There are some similarities between MOONGAZER and The Matrix, all good ones. Like Neo, Skye leaves a pretty virtual world for a dark actual one, but finds a real purpose. It was fun to see this popular hero-type flipped to be female.



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