The Children of the Black Moon (The Spellbinders and The Gunslingers #2), by Joseph John Lee

The Book

The Children of the Black Moon
Series: The Spellbinders and The Gunslingers
Pages: 445
Age Group: Adult
Published on 5/30/2023
Publisher: Self-Published
Historical Fantasy
Available on:


Torrential did the storms become. Torrential shall be the days to come.

Exiled in disgrace and defeat after a vicious coup, Tez seeks an alliance with the militant Lake Tribe. Retaking the Stone Tribe is the key to a unified north in the face of the Invaders’ impending offensive…if she can only stop her allies from warring amongst themselves.

After finally successfully breaching the dense forest barrier dividing north and south, Aritz a Mata wants more. Seeing opportunity and resources in those untouched lands, he is eager to show the Tribes the full might of his forces…and the fear he wields as the Sword of the Savior.

Stripped of everything she held dear, Sen is given the opportunity to start anew among a group of fellow Eclipseborn. But quickly are her loyalties tested as she must choose between those who provided her a home and Tribe yet rejected her all the same, and her newfound kin who would see fit to destroy the Tribes entirely…something they have sought for almost four centuries.

The flames of war approach, and they seek to reduce all memory of the Tribes to nothing more than ash.  

My Review (4.75 out of 5 )

The Children of the Black Moon is the second installment of the Spellbinders and The Gunslingers series, this historical-inspired fantasy series, written by Joseph John Lee. After a nail-biting ending on The Bleeding Stone, this sequel picks the story directly after, introducing new factions to the conflict, and expanding the world of Ferranda, while continuing with the stories of our characters.

Sen discovers the existence of a group of other Eclipseborns, who call themselves The Children of the Black Moon. They are resentful of the tribes, and plan to ally with Aritz and the outsiders in the conquest of Ferranda; Lee introduces a new interesting thought object with this group, as most of those Eclipseborn are just pariahs for their own tribes, people that have been vilified by their own people.
While Sen is also an Eclipseborn, she comes from a totally different background, due to her parents being leaders of her Tribe. She understands the point made by the Children, but cannot feel like a traitor to her own people, feeling out of both groups. Her first battle will definitely set her mind to where she belongs.

After being exiled and defeated in a coup, Tez is looking for new allies that can help her to retake control over Tribes, bringing her to contact the militant Lake Tribe. The invaders' threat can only be defeated if they are united, but internal conflicts can eat the Tribes from the inside.

Aritz is finally looking to show his strength to the tribes, as a way to gain control over resources. Allied with the Children of the Black Moon, he's finally in a situation where the conquest seems a reality.

In this second installment, Lee continues with the depiction of the conflict on Ferranda, going deeper into the internal struggles of the Tribes. While in the first book, the conflict was kinda a two-sided (Tribes vs Conquerors), in this case, we can see how reality is much complex, as we don't have two homogenous sides.
Similarly to the first book, how history is written is an angular piece to the plot, and in this case is explored through the Eclipseborn, those declared pariahs by the tribes just due to their bornt; how it is tackled is one of the reasons I love this series.

The plot is organized in a similar way as it was in book one, alternating the story of the conquests with some flashforwards showing Aritz, mixed with some memories telling more about the natives' traditions and myths (and all perfectly labeled, you won't get lost).

And what can I say, except that I loved The Children of the Black Moon, a sequel that definitely didn't suffer the second book syndrome, equaling in strength to The Bleeding Stone. The third and final book in this series can't come soon enough.

The Author/s

Joseph John Lee

Joseph John Lee

I am an author of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and whatever other strokes of creative genius (“genius” is a relative term, I guess) come to me at the time.

I was born November 14, 1991 in Attleboro, Massachusetts and have never set foot in that town since. I’ve lived most of my life in or near Boston (as I do currently with my fiance, our imaginary dog, and our robot vacuum who we named Crumb), except for the years when I didn’t. I’ve also lived in Scotland, a fact I use as party tricks that don’t particularly go anywhere. I’m great at socializing.

I’m something of a lapsed academic. I originally pursued a career in academia, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and two Master of Science degrees from the University of Edinburgh - one in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies; and the other in Religious Studies - before I realized that the life of an academic scholar was not for me. (Burnouts will do that to a guy.)

That being said, I enjoy integrating historical study into my own fictional writing that still creates a tapestry of my historical interests - just with more fireballs and less syphilis.

My literary influences include Brandon Sanderson, John Gwynne, Joe Abercrombie, Yoko Taro, Tetsuya Takahashi, and others. I’m as much drawn to huge, epic fantasy as I am to more grounded, grimdark settings.

Outside of my own writing, I am an avid reader (duh) and gamer, a certified Simpsons quote machine, a bad hiker, and either a happy or miserable Red Sox fan, varying from season to season. I spend too much time looking at dog accounts on Instagram.

If anyone’s looking to start a Wikipedia page for me, this should be enough to get you started.