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Moon Dark Smile



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About The Book

The fate of an Empire lies with a headstrong Heir and a restless demon in this lush young adult fantasy that’s a “tapestry of self-discovery, redolent with vivid imagery…[s]ensual and strange” (Kirkus Reviews) for fans of Laini Taylor and Girl, Serpent, Thorn.

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.

About The Author

Photograph by Natalie C. Parker.

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, Night Shine, and Moon Dark Smile. Though she has traveled all over the world, she currently lives alongside the Kansas prairie with her wife. Visit her at

Why We Love It

“No one does lush worldbuilding like Tessa Gratton, who has woven complex and unforgettable characters into an incredible world that feels real enough to touch.”

—Karen W., VP, Editorial Director, on Moon Dark Smile

Product Details

  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (June 13, 2023)
  • Length: 432 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534498167
  • Grades: 9 and up
  • Ages: 14 - 99
  • Lexile ® 870L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"This intricate, enigmatic novel is fascinating in its strangeness, at turns dreamlike and visceral, with elegantly ornate world building."

– Booklist

"Sensual and strange."

– Kirkus

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More books from this author: Tessa Gratton