I love it when a book creeps in right at the end of the year and manages to really blow you away. This book isn’t out until later this January, but I have to say it made my top 20 list for last year! Thanks to Harper Voyager for sending me a gifted copy of this book.
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.
Where do I begin? Well, first I’ll say that I’m not okay. The story follows Xingyin, a young girl who’s been living on the moon with her mother Chang’e. For all intents and purposes, everything seemed okay, but when the Celestial Kingdom comes to pay a visit to the moon, it turns out that Xingyin’s existence is a secret and she needs to hide in order to survive. So what does her mother do? She sends her to Earth to hide there while the empire calms down from their search.
And after that, it’s this incredible journey of Xingyin to become a warrior, a woman, and a fierce and loyal friend. Seriously, I loved her growth throughout the story. Watching as Xingyin faces everything on her own without the help of her mother scared me, but her strength and the hope that things will turn out okay really just blew me away. It’s that level of bravery that I want; not the bravery to face huge demons (which she does), but the bravery to survive when the odds are against you.
Luckily, she does get some help along the way and as she becomes one of the best archers in the Celestial Empire, she also befriends the Crown Prince, Liwei. Of course, it’s more than just friendship that these two share, but instead of it being a bit of an insta-love, it was the kind of romance that you want. But things don’t always work out the way we want it and this book is a prime example of that. Reading Xingyin face some revealing truths truly stunned me with her maturity and ability to discern for herself.
As you read, the book just keeps getting better and better. The pacing was perfect; not too fast and not too slow so that you had enough to learn about these characters, get to know them and like them, and then have action sequences and reveals that will keep you pushing through. The writing is also covet-able. Honestly, I wish I can write like her and I want to read everything by Sue Lynn Tan because it’s just gorgeous. It’s visually stunning, creative enough to really get your imagination going, and really kept me reading.
Much of this book felt like I was watching one of my favorite C-dramas. Filled with drama, romance, action/adventure, and big lessons to be learned, I felt like I was completely immersed in this story. I love it when a book makes me feel like I can escape for a little while. I’m probably overlooking some glaringly obvious issues with the story, but I don’t care because it just captured me from the beginning all the way to the very end.
And this isn’t the end. Nope, this is a duology and will be finishing up the rest of the story eventually. However, you’re not left with a gaping hole of a cliffhanger at the end. Instead, it wraps up pretty well and keeps your curious as to what the conclusion will look like. Obviously, it didn’t stop me from wanting the second book immediately, but I also love having something to look forward to.