About the Book
Title: Daughter of the Moon Goddess
Author: Sue Lynn Tan
Series: Celestial Kingdom #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Edition Read: Paperback
Dates Read: December 5 – 28, 2022
Blurb: A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess, in which a young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm.
Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.
Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor’s son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.
To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess begins an enchanting, romantic duology which weaves ancient Chinese mythology into a sweeping adventure of immortals and magic—where love vies with honor, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant.
Honestly, this book was just a beautiful, beautiful read. The story is inspired by the Chinese legend of the moon goddess and the tone of the writing and the style of the prose had this lovely dreamlike quality to it that was just a joy. It almost felt as though I was being read a fairy tale or a bedtime story. Very soothing.
That’s not to say that there weren’t adventures to be had. Let’s talk about our main character, Xingyin. She is such a fierce protagonist! Her only goal is to find a way to free her mother from her curse and she will do anything to accomplish that, including placing herself in close proximity with the very people who cursed her in the first place. Hidden in plain sight, Xingyin bides her time, learning everything she can, and becoming a fearsome archer.
There is a bit of a love triangle, which does complicate things (if you guessed that the emperor’s son is involved, you would be right). I will say that while love triangles are overdone sometimes, it wasn’t overly so here. There are lots of complications that keep Xingyin away from either one of her options and she is always looking towards ways that she can bargain or curry favor in order to save her mother. That is always her first priority.
This book has epic battles with monsters, bargaining with fearsome dragons, traveling to far off and mysterious places. The pacing sometimes is a bit all over the place, as some chapters fly over several years, while others tell very minute details. This didn’t bother me too much, but when I read this with the book club, this was a very common complaint. The rest of the book was so good, that a few odd pacings were just fine. This is Tan’s debut novel and I cannot wait to read more from her.
GoodReads rating: 4 stars
Categories: Books I've Read