I received an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.
In Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan, Xingyin has grown up in seclusion on the moon with her mother. She’s content with her peaceful existence, until one day, the arrival of other immortal beings known as Celestials pay them a visit. Then, she learns that her mother is actually trapped here in exile, and unjustly so. To avoid detection by the Celestials that will surely harm her, Xingyin has to flee her home. In the magical realm of the other immortals, she decides to make a name for herself, in order to free her mother. But to do so, she has to serve the very beings who did this to her mother and in so doing make a risky agreement that might have far greater effects than she anticipated.
So I came up with a drinking game for this book: Take a drink every time there’s a garment that has “brocade” on it. I’m pretty sure you will, at the very least, get tipsy.
Anyway, I thought this was a really great book! You really feel for Xingyin, who always has her goal in mind. This is a good thing, because otherwise I think the plot might feel a little meandering at times. There isn’t the traditional story structure, though then again, this is a story inspired by Chinese mythology, rather than any conventional Western tale. As it is, this story weaves through a magical realm, following Xingyin as she learns and grows and becomes increasingly adept at combat and magic. When the final quest occurs, it feels a little out of left field, but still compelling. Also, there are dragons (but more on them later).
The other characters were decent, especially Liwei and Wenzhi, though I also liked Shuxiao and Jianyun. The main three had an interesting dynamic that went through several transformations over the course of the story. I’m looking forward to seeing how it continues to shift in the second book of this duology. And despite it being a love triangle (well, kind of…), I didn’t dislike it! I was a little frustrated with Xingyin sometimes, as she often came off as extremely indecisive, but it was also evident why her feelings were so torn.
On an unrelated note, the combat and magic scenes were really cool and exciting. I especially liked the final showdown, which took place partially on the clouds—how cool is that? And in terms of magic, the magical creatures, the dragons, were easily my favorite part. I’m a sucker for wise, powerful dragons, okay? Of course, they weren’t in it enough to satisfy my insatiable craving, but when they were on screen, I felt 😍🥰🤩
In the end, Daughter of the Moon Goddess is a lengthy but lyrical journey through a mystical and marvelous setting. The characters are well-written, their relationships fleshed out, and their development believable. The plot feels a little meandering at times, but I was always looking forward to what was coming next, and the couple of twists are excellent. The ending is satisfying, but leaves plenty of unanswered questions that will make the reader eager to see how things will progress in the final novel (It’s me, I’m the reader).
Daughter of the Moon Goddess is available now!