Publishing Date: January 11, 2022
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.
This was a disappointment. I liked it at first, was interested in the story, and though I wasn’t 100% sold on the writing style it was at least well-written, even if it was rather passive. But then after about 30% it just… dragged. And dragged. As I kept reading I lost more and more interest in the story and the characters, until I was actively avoiding picking it up. Then when I did bring myself to pick it up I very quickly put it down again. I ended up DNFing at 55% which was disappointing but it was starting to send me into a bit of a slump.
The descriptions and mythology were beautiful, though there were rather too many descriptions and there was no urgency to the story — it definitely meandered. The thing that bothered me the most, and probably a large part of why I didn’t like it, was the two love interests for the main character. The romances were forced, unbelievable, and bland, and the love triangle was just unconvincing. I would have preferred both as friendships as that would have made more sense. The main character also has a definite “all the boys fall in love with me” thing going on.
I can definitely recommend it to people who enjoyed Elizabeth Lim’s books (Spin the Dawn, Six Crimson Cranes) although at 512 pages it’s rather longer than those. And maybe that’s my main problem with it — it’s just too long. In style and content of story it has quite a few similarities to Elizabeth Lim’s work. It also reminds me of Marissa Meyer’s Gilded — though that may be because I found them both too long.
So if you enjoyed Gilded, Spin the Dawn, or Six Crimson Cranes, give this one a try.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Voyager for providing an e-arc for review.