Daughter of the Moon Goddess
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 out of 5 stars
‘There are many legends about my mother. Some say she betrayed her husband, a great mortal warrior, stealing his Elixir of Immortality to become a goddess. Others depict her as an innocent victim who swallowed the elixir while trying to save it from the thieves. Whichever story you believe, my mother, Chang’e, became immortal. As did I.’
Xingyin grows up in the Pure Light Palace on the Moon with her mother Change, the Moon Goddess. One day, she is tempted to reach out for teasing silver flecks she promised her mother to avoid. Suddenly, the unannounced visitors from the Celestial Kingdom arrive. Xingyin finds out that her mother is, in fact, a prisoner punished for theft. Her father, the great archer Houji, saved the mortal realm from the sunbirds that were scorching the earth. As a reward, he received an Elixir of Immortality but refused to ascend without his bellowed wife. When Change realised her pregnancy was problematic, she drank the elixir, assuring both herself and her baby would survive. Her usage of the gift intended for her husband enraged the Celestial Emperor, who called it an act of treason and imprisoned Change, unaware of her pregnancy. As the Celestials are bound on investigating the sudden shift in energy caused by Xingyin, keeping her existence secret seems impossible. She is forced to leave her mother’s Palace and travel the realm in search of means of freeing her mother and restoring her family’s honour.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess is a wonderful tale. It tells a fascinating story of bravery, honour, love, friendship and family. The narrative follows Xingyin as she searches for her place in a hostile world, all the while dreaming of returning to her mother’s Palace. It is a coming of age story of a girl who has to hide her identity and deceive in order to survive. She has to learn to fight and earn her place among the Celestials. I loved to read about her and see her develop as a character from a scared girl into a brave woman and a praised soldier. Also, it’s not only about the war. The novel has two, possibly three, interesting love interests and presents Xingyin’s feelings from the purity of first love to more complicated relations as she matures.
Sue Lynn Tan created a fascinating world as a background for her novel. It is filled with vivid characters, conflicted kingdoms, political intrigues, brave warriors, monsters and mythical creatures. I cannot wait for the second book, hoping it will allow me to find out more about the dragons. They are fascinating creatures that deserve more space in the plot.
In general, I would recommend this novel to all fantasy fans. It has an exciting story, lots of action, plot twists and likeable characters.