Daughter of the Moon Goddess: A Novel (Celestial Kingdom Book 1) by Sue Lynn Tan
Daughter of the Moon Goddess: A Novel Book Cover Daughter of the Moon Goddess: A Novel
Celestial Kingdom Book 1
Sue Lynn Tan
Young Adult, Fantasy, Chinese Mythology
Harper Voyeger
January 11, 2022
Kindle, Audio CD, Hardback, Paperback, Audiobook

A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of the Chinese moon goddess, Chang’e , in which a young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm and sets her on a dangerous path—where choices come with deadly consequences, and she risks losing more than her heart. Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the powerful 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, untrained, 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 Crown Prince, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the emperor’s son. To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. When treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, however, 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, of loss and sacrifice—where love vies with honor, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant.

Some scars are carved into our bones – a part of who we are, shaping what we become.” – Ping’er

Sue Lynn Tan’s epic debut novel is a Fantasy adaptation of the Chinese legend, Chang’e, the Moon Goddess. Told through the life of her daughter, Xingyin, who is torn from her peaceful childhood on the moon, thrust into a dangerous world of immortals where power, intrigue, and treachery abound, and set on a course to overcome insurmountable odds in a quest to release her mother from her exile. Along the way, two powerful young men, Liwei and Wenzhi, vie for her friendship, trust, skill, and favor but when betrayals slice deep can she stay true to her mission while retaining her honor?

Sue Lynn Tan has taken an intriguing Chinese myth and reimagined it into a captivating Fantasy filled with ancient Chinese customs, magic and dragons, sparks of new love and destructive battles. Her imagery is mesmerizing and transports you to a by-gone era of sights, sounds, and way of life. The way she writes, her word choices and dialogue, further enhance the experience as it sweeps you into this magical realm. Her storyline is rich with details and incorporates other Chinese mythological creatures as it takes you on an action packed ride with many unexpected plot twists and turns.

While there was so much about Daughter of the Moon Goddess that I really enjoyed, there were a three fairly prominent issues that, for me, really detracted from the story. My initial impression was that this was following in the pattern of other C-dramas, with the heroine winning a competition to gain a position and opportunity within the royal family and favor with an esteemed prince or warrior. While it eventually took off in a more authentic direction, too many of the ensuing conflicts or struggles were conveniently resolved. Also, from beginning to end, Yingyin was constantly lamenting her decisions or actions. While being able to follow her thoughts is important in understanding her coming of age, this constant rehashing of her choices actually detracted from her character development. I also found that I didn’t particularly like either of Yingyin’s friendship/love interests: Liwei or Wenzhi, which I can’t go into further without spoilers. Let’s just say they were both pretty stereotypical and neither deserved her.

Even though I found fault with some things, I do believe this is a book worth reading, not only because the cover is stunning but I really did enjoy Daughter of the Moon Goddess and am invested in finding out what happens in book 2 of the Celestial Kingdom duology.