Friday, January 14, 2022

ARC Review: Daughter of the Moon Goddes by Sue Lynn Tan

Title: Daughter of the Moon Goddess
Series: The Celestial Kingdom Duology #1
Author: Sue Lynn Tan
Source/Format: NetGalley; eARC
More Details: Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper Voyager January 11, 2022

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Synopsis from Goodreads...
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.

From the second I heard about Daughter of the Moon Goddess, I knew it was going to be a book I was definitely going to read. I’m not overly familiar with the legend of Chang’e, but I do love stories that take myths/folklore/history and retell or give an alternative look at them in interesting ways.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess was as excellent a story as I thought it would be. There was a lot going on in this book: romance, action, and a desperate and also deeply personal quest. It was hopeful but also bittersweet at times with secrets and betrayal seemingly hidden everywhere. And what a marvelous story it was!

Xingyin is the daughter of the Moon Goddess. She was sheltered from the world beyond the moon, and that wasn’t without good reason either. With the way the story was told, as the reader, I was dropped into the world alongside the character as she embarked on her journey. There was no easy way for her, and the task ahead of her seemed almost impossible to accomplish under the circumstances. I admired Xingyin’s determination and her compassion—which were often tested—as she navigated a world filled with incredibly powerful immortals and the dangerous conflicts that arose between them.

The characters, by and large, were one of my favorite aspects about the story. I enjoyed reading about the hard-won bonds that Xingyin forged with the secondary characters, which heightened the impact—the gravity—of certain scenes. Tan did not hold back with the emotional punches, and I couldn’t help but hope everything would work out for my favorite characters. I was very invested in the story, and I couldn’t get to the end fast enough.

The setting was also really good. The places were detailed: plenty of intricate and vivid descriptions of food, dress, and history.
I had so much fun reading Daughter of the Moon Goddess. It’s the first of a duology, so I’m looking forward to the sequel.

About the author....
Sue Lynn Tan writes fantasy inspired by the myths and legends she fell in love with as a child. Born in Malaysia, she studied in London and France, before settling in Hong Kong with her family. Her love for stories began with a gift from her father, her first compilation of fairytales from around the world. After devouring every fable she could find in the library, she discovered fantasy books – spending much of her childhood lost in magical worlds. When not writing or reading, she enjoys exploring the hills and reservoirs of Hong Kong, the temples, beaches and narrow winding streets here. Her debut, Daughter of the Moon Goddess, will be published by Harper Voyager in early 2022, with a sequel to come. It is an enchanting fantasy of love and family, immortals and magic – inspired by the beloved Chinese legend of Chang’e flying to the moon upon taking the elixir of immortality.

Disclaimer: this copy of the book was provided by the publisher (Harper Voyager) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you! 

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