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.
***Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books & Harper Voyager for a copy of the book! My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***
I knew I had to read this book the second I saw the gorgeous cover on Twitter and rushed to request it on NetGalley when it became available. I’m glad I did because this story was as beautiful inside the cover as on the outside. The writing was absolutely stunning with a wonderful lyrical quality to it. Reading it felt like I was transported into this mythological world on one of the fluffy clouds the immortals used to get around the Celestial Kingdom. I couldn’t get enough of Tan’s descriptive genius and was enthralled by the setting and world-building. Xingyin was a really great protagonist with good characterization. I enjoyed reading her perspective and getting her thoughts on love and honor as she worked stubbornly toward the goal of freeing her mother. The rest of the characters were a bit flat, but I didn’t mind it much because I liked their interactions with Xingyin. Surprisingly, I didn’t hate the love triangle, and it turned out to be one of my favorite things about the book. I liked both of the love interests and appreciated how each of them represented a side of the internal struggle within Xingyin. The pacing of the book was a bit uneven and it became somewhat repetitive in the middle with the main characters going off on several quests one after the other. However, it all came together well in the end in a satisfying way, and the writing, world-building, and relationships kept me engaged even when the pace was a bit off. If you are looking for an Eastern mythology re-telling with court intrigue, magic, plenty of action, beautiful writing, love and betrayal, and a well-developed female protagonist, look no further. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.