This was too good to rate less than 5 stars, even though I have to admit the pacing was rough. Very lush, heady, and romantic—a debut that every fantasy reader should have on their radar.
Xingyin is the daughter of Chang'e, the Moon Goddess. Hidden from the rest of the Celestial Kingdom and their fellow immortals, Xingyin is her mother's secret. An immortal born from a newly immortal moon goddess and the mortal, Houyi—the best archer who ever lived—Xingyin's life was fated for destiny.
To save her from discovery, Chang'e sends her daughter away from the moon to seek safety in the Southern Sea. Xingyin does not make the journey. Instead, she finds herself unmoored and on her own in the Celestial Kingdom. It's time to make her own destiny and, while she's at it, save her mother from her imprisonment on the moon. All while hiding the fact that she's the daughter of the moon goddess—the one mortal-turned-immortal who disobeyed the rules of the all-powerful Celestial Emperor.
What will happen to Xingyin? Curl up with her as her story unfolds and she tells you all about it...
Daughter of the Moon Goddess is one of those reads that reminds you just how good descriptive lyrical fantasies can be. That's a bold statement, I know, but I stand by it.
Whether you prefer your fantasy epic, urban, romantic, grimdark, gothic, young adult, or other—fantasy is, at its core, an exploration of realms and concepts that exist outside of our mundane reality.
Some of our earliest fantasies sprung from early storytelling and oral histories. Cultural touchstones of mythology, faith, origins of peoples, fairytales. Stories that persist and adapt with our cultures.
I'm waxing poetic about storytelling because Daughter of the Moon Goddess feels like a continuation of that conversation. It's rooted in Chinese mythology and yet linking new threads and telling its own story. It's lush. It's descriptive. It's extremely heady in its romanticism. It highlights life lessons and morals. It's its own modern (ancient?) fable. It's one of those tales that unfolds in its own time and in its own way. It is the definition of "unhurried."
That, I think, was this story's only weakness—its pacing. As someone who is used to our modern fantasies, I found Daughter of the Moon Goddess frustrating for the first several chapters in its use of extremely slow pacing mixed with time jump intervals. This might be common in Chinese stories, I'll admit ignorance in this field, but it was present to me as a Western reader so I'll caution my other Western readers to persevere. If you can get into the groove with this story and its unique sense of plodding pace, it is truly spectacular.
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Amy Imogene Reads
Just someone looking for her own door into Wonderland.