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.
I finished that book at 1 AM today, which is nowadays a rare occurrence! But I just had to know!
First let me admire the stunning cover of that book! Be it the US or the UK cover, the publishing house really did wonders!
I didn’t expect to love Daughter of the Moon Goddess as much as I did when I began reading. The writing while beautiful made Xingyin seem very young and naïve. And she was! But that’s not qualities that I usually love in my heroines and I put the book aside to read a bookclub read.
I guess that when I got back to it I was in the right frame of mind because I was finally enthralled and could not stop reading!
Daughter of the Moon Goddess feels like what I imagine Chinese tales are: filled with quests, monsters and magic, a heroine who has to grow and use her wits to outsmart the evil characters. Gentle at her core, she’ll morph into a fierce warrior “à la Mulan”. It’s also a battle of evil versus good, a question of choosing the right path, resisting the lure of power and greatness if it comes at the cost of other’s happiness and freedom.
“I would not yearn after what had been lost, impossible to regain. I would look to the days ahead, to the happiness which awaited me there… if only I were brave and steadfast enough to reach for it.”
The world building and the mythology were a real delight! I loved reading about dragons, about traveling on clouds, about celestial beings. The Celestial Emperor reigns with an iron fist and I can’t say he was a benevolent ruler!
But his son, the crown prince Liwey, was so different from his parents! Humble, gentle yet smart and gifted.
He will welcome Xingyin as his study companion, giving hope and purpose to the young girl who had to leave her mother, the Moon Goddess, as to not expose her to a mortal peril.
I loved the budding friendship between Xingyin and Liwey.
He challenged her to become better and he will always take her side, save for one crucial time in the story.
Xingyin will begin as a broken little bird, hopeless but soon will want to learn and to never be helpless again. Thanks to a fierce training, she’ll become one of the best soldiers from the Celestial army. And it was really satisfying to see her morph into a strong and skilled warrior.
The pace was rather slow in the beginning but once I focused more on the beauty of the universe, on Xingyin ‘s personal growth, and on the underlying messages and lessons, it didn’t bother me at all and I chose to savor rather than devour the story!
With tropes like enemies to lovers, quest for favors to save your loved ones, family love, treason and rivalry, Daughter of the Moon Goddess is an enthralling debut!
Thanks for reading!