Two Moons

Memories from a World with One

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
261 Pages
Reviewed on 06/28/2018
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Author Biography

RE Johnston writes speculative fiction for teens and young-minded adults, blowing their minds open to experience what their lives would be like "if only."

In his debut novel, Two Moons, RE introduced us to a planet (much like ours) populated with people (much like us) who have detailed memories of their past lives on Earth (where they were us.) Now he’s expanding Two Moons’ world into a series, Echoes of Past Lives. The second book, League of Secrets, will be released in early 2021. He is irrationally optimistic that young adult reincarnation fiction will become the next big thing.

RE has degrees in physics and management. He spent a very long time developing systems and bossing people around, but he’s finally settled down to invent new worlds. He lives with his wife, Valerie, in Fort Worth, Texas: “Where the West Begins.”

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

What happens if we have clear memories of our past lives and what if those memories are not the best of memories we would like to have? In Two Moons: Memories from a World with One by RE Johnston, we are introduced to a world where inhabitants once lived on Earth, and now they assume a new life without completely losing touch with what they once were on Earth. They have dreams that are called memories and these can help them connect with the gifts they used while on Earth. Young Jay Shipman starts having recollections of his previous life, but they are not good ones — they are memories associated with the creation of a product of mass murder. He recalls heading a team tasked to develop a powerful biochemical product that can destroy life and create a contagion. He recalls killing “herself” to save her family. But can these thoughts help him in his new life in Duorth? Follow this young schoolboy as he becomes the inspiration for the change that will affect whole peoples, an adventure in which his sense of responsibility will be tested, friendships developed, and a new path pursued.

Two Moons: Memories from a World with One is a brilliant novel with a very interesting concept behind it. I have read a lot about reincarnation and the “next life,” but have hardly read something close to this. It’s set on a different planet that has a lot of similarities to ours. The characters are interesting. The protagonist, who was a she in the previous life, is inspired to create meaning by empowering the people of his planet to stand up for their rights. I fell in love with Carlos, a friend he meets on an adventure that becomes part of his learning journey and transformation. In fact, Carlos speaks about his previous life in a humorous way and describes his profession as “hacking into the systems of banks and places like that.” The writing is great, the plot wonderful and the characters mesmerizing. RE Johnston transports readers into interesting landscapes and beautiful worlds, and invites them to redefine life. Jay is a character of second chances and many readers will feel inspired by him.

Lit Amri

In Two Moons (Memories from a World with One) by R.E. Johnston, recollection enables the people of Duorth to remember their past lives back on Earth, giving them the opportunity to learn from it and use the knowledge for their second life. However, past life memory is a tool that can be used for good and bad deeds. Jay Shipman is a teen on planet Duorth, who’s entering his age of recollection, remembering his former life on Earth as a scientist named Ri Sun-Hui, an expert in communicable diseases who was conscripted by her government into their bio-weapons program. Jay and his parents agree that his dangerous recollection should be kept secret from others, particularly their own government. Two of the only three countries on the planet, Ariana and Roticia, are bitter rivals. Swotia is supposedly the version of Switzerland on Duorth, favoring neutrality.

The main concept gives a boost to the characterization; the protagonists’ traits are gradually shaped by the memories of their former selves. Therefore, character development somehow depends on how the protagonists let their memories affect their present life. Despite its simple plot structure and narrative, Two Moons gives an interesting perspective on past life, reincarnation and profound life lessons. Duorth may seem better than Earth in many aspects, but it is actually heading onto similar destructive paths. The progress of science and technology depends on people’s memories, and governments and powerful agencies are always on the lookout for individuals who have past lives with valuable knowledge, which is an easy way to succumb to greed. Overall, Two Moons is rich with thought-provoking political, religious, and moral themes that are united under the subject of rebirth, which makes it an interesting YA sci-fi fantasy from R.E. Johnston.

Ruffina Oserio

Two Moons: Memories from a World with One by RE Johnston is a beautiful novel set in a parallel world, a planet called Duorth, one where two moons grace the skies. Inhabitants of this planet have dreams they call memories — they are moments from a past life. While memories from a previous life on Earth are endearing to some, they represent something frightening for young Jay Shipman. Although his mother confesses to having had memories of killing and being killed when she was his age, Jay’s memories are dreadful, reminding him that he was once a lead scientist in a team developing a super-secret biological weapon, something that would bring contagion and death. In a breathtaking adventure, and with their world under serious threat, will Jay allow his recollections of a previous life to guide him in making positive steps or will he recreate the life he lived?

Read on to discover how a boy who once was a deadly instrument in the hands of a government becomes a tool that gives power to the people and enables them to pursue values of justice and peace and to shape their destiny. This is a great story with interesting characters and readers will enjoy the protagonist and his friends as they embark on a journey that will change the course of their history. The themes of friendship, family, and education are well explored in this narrative and RE Johnston’s characters are real and compelling. Characters like Jay, Vick, Twila, Vlad, and a host of others will remain in the minds of readers. The idea of characters being able to have recollections from their previous lives is ingenious and it gives a unique angle that sets this book above the rest. Two Moons: Memories from a World with One features a simplicity of style and prose that is delightful to read.

Jamie Michele

Two Moons: Memories from a World with One by RE Johnston is a science fiction tale about Jay Shipman, a reincarnated humanoid on the planet Dourth, where he lives with his parents and sister. As the planet with dual moons appears to allow the capacity for individuals to remember bits and pieces of their previous lives on Earth, Jay, an above-average student with a knack for science and technology, begins having vivid dreams. “I think Jay’s entering his age of recollection. He woke from a dream that sounds like the real thing.” Jay's dreams, however, are mostly night terrors about a woman named Ri Sun-Hui, a biological scientist who was an expert in the field of infectious diseases. As the dreams become more intense, Jay is forced to confront the tangible and very real dangers of convergence between the past and present.

Two Moons by RE Johnston is a wonderful piece of literature that is able to combine all the elements of traditional science fiction within a context that feels timely and relevant. The destruction of Earth on both a biological and moral level, and the devolution of humanity (along with the plant and animal kingdoms, the latter of which are also reincarnated in Johnston's tale) at times feels eerily prophetic. I loved how at camp Jay was able to revisit areas of Earth, witnessing the ravages of ongoing war and also the corners that remain untouched. As the layers are peeled away on the Jay Shipman/Ri Sun-Hui narrative, the pace begins to quicken and the novel takes on an element of suspense that's conveyed in a way so that the book becomes impossible to put down. Overall, this is an exceptional read and I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in thoughtful and exciting science fiction.