Title: Daughter of the Moon Goddess
Author: Sue Lynn Tan
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Published Date: January 11th 2022
Length: 512 pages
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Retelling, Mythology, Asian folklore, etc.
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.
I think it’s safe to say that the writing in this one is something so beautiful and lush that I was half in love with the book simply because of that. I mean, there are other things that I truly enjoyed, obviously but I will be honest and the major factor was the writing. Xingyin as a character would have easily become one of the stereotypical main characters but she didn’t.
Let me tell you why I truly enjoyed this book. The prose really worked for me, the worldbuilding was so well done! I love mythology of any kind and Sue Lynn Tan made sure to travel around the celestial and mortal realms and made me love them. I am and probably always will be a sucker for good worldbuilding, I suppose. The story was about personal goals but it also felt good to read about the worlds we visit. It is a YA book and it’s always a hit or miss for me for various reasons but this one was a hit. There were a couple of things I was still not a fan of and that’s a personal preference over other things but those things matter enough for me to lower the rating to 3.75, unfortunately.
Some of them being the fact that as a character, Xingyin’s character never felt like it grew or developed despite the story spanning such a long time period. The dreaded love triangle. I absolutely do not understand the need for love triangles in 2022 but perhaps I am not the audience for that and that’s okay, I should just be careful about picking up books. This one felt especially unnecessary but once again, that might be my personal distaste for this trope.
I think overall, it’s a great story at the end of the day. It’s YA and it’s meant for YA. I just didn’t click with certain aspects of it. I loved the writing style and I will definitely be reading the sequel, I also loved the family aspect of the story a lot more and perhaps that more than anything made me really like it. If you think of it like a C-drama then you will definitely enjoy it because that’s what it felt like with it’s lush settings and gorgeous writing.