4.5 star

Review: Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

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.

With such a gorgeous cover, how could I not? I finally got around to this one and man am I glad I did. It was a wonderful mix of fantasy, romance, adventure, and intrigue, and honestly quite satisfying all the way through. I may or may not have shed a tear or two over this lovely story.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess revolves around our main character, Xingyin, who embarks on a long, long journey in the attempt to free her mother, who has been imprisoned by the Celestial Emperor on the moon. Xingyin must start all the way from the bottom and grow to challenge the emperor for her mother’s freedom. Through all the friends and terrors she meets along the journey, her powers and skills grow. But will they be enough through all the challenges she faces?

Truly an emotional journey, and all the characters that come in and out of the story really make it come alive. Each character felt quite real, and I thought that the connections that the main character maid were all quite believable, which really drew me in. The main character’s own growth arc and the relationships she specifically makes were certainly excellent, and one of the most inviting parts of this book. She does start off a little bit childish (but she is young to begin with), but her character strengthens and grows in a natural manner which made me root for her the whole way through.

The book is divided into three parts, yet I felt the transitions were fairly smooth and it almost didn’t need the segmentation. The plot was very well executed, I thought the pacing was pretty fast, and a lot of things happened in what felt like a very short time. I couldn’t help but race through this book in just two sittings! Perhaps nothing was particularly surprising, I still felt that the twists and turns were well executed and I couldn’t help myself but want to know how it ends and wishing the protagonist the best, which I think is a sign of a good book.

The world building was actually amazing. The mechanics of magic, and a lot of the mythical and fantasy elements were all well-explained. I found this extremely satisfying. It left enough to the imagination but also explained enough to seal loopholes. This is the best kind of world building; the kind where it makes me feel like I’m actually in the story, AND makes me interested to want to know more. Just enough information was given me to dangle and tempt me to want more.

I thought the romance was pretty well planned out, executed, and resolved. I don’t claim to be an expert on the romance parts of these kinds of books, but I felt really strongly for all the difficult choices that the protagonist faced, and honestly didn’t know what I would do in her position either. I thought this was another sign of great execution of plot! On the other hand, it was overall a bit predictable what would kind of happen in the end (or what I felt had to happen to have it resolve – lo and behold I was correct), but I wouldn’t take that away from the experience I still had reading through it!

Overall Recommendations

Daughter of the Moon Goddess revolves around our protagonist, Xingyin, daughter of an unfavoured immortal. She must by herself learn to brave the cruelties of the world and the intricacies of political drama and rise to the top if she wants to earn her mother’s freedom. Along the way she meets a plethora of friends, enemies, and people in between, and she must learn whom she can trust, and the price of trusting. If you’re into romance, fantasy, intrigue, and adventure, this is likely one for you!

The sequel, Heart of the Sun Warrior is coming out just around the corner, so if you have already read this one, look out for its sequel coming out November 15!


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