Five Reasons to Read: Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan – A Sweeping Xianxia Fantasy Inspired by the Chang’e Legend

Blurb:

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.

Inspired by the Chang’e legend, or the goddess of the Moon, Daughter of the Moon Goddess is a romantic fantasy adventure that will transport readers to a world where immortals reign, dragons and monsters dwell, and high-stake battles between realms take place. At the center of it all is a girl’s years-long quest to free her mother, Chang’e, from exile and her sentence on the moon, and the many tribulations and challenges that she endures and overcome as she fights for her mother’s freedom.

Today, I share my five reasons on why you should pick up this splendid debut, a story that will dazzle and sweep readers away on an whirlwind and action-packed adventure.

1. Stunning and vivid worldbuilding that will set your imagination alight

Lush, vivid, and thoroughly gorgeous, Daughter of the Moon Goddess will please readers who love worldbuilding in their fantasies. The story takes its readers across the Celestial Kingdom and all its beauty and glitter, inhabited by powerful mortals and ruled by the Celestial Emperor and Empress, but it also ventures into the Mortal Realm as well. Tan evokes stunning imagery that will set imaginations alight, with shells that hold a lover’s music, bows that ignite its arrows with magic, and gemmed tassels that glow when their twin’s bearer is in danger. The storytelling and the world created by Tan glistens and glows, and is a feast for the senses – and yes, Daughter of the Moon Goddess contains indulgent food descriptions that will make your mouth water (as it did mine)!

2. Inspired by the Chang’e legend, with new life and depth

The legend of Chang’e is beautiful and romantic, and is personally one of my favourite stories. There are many variations of Chang’e story and different people will tell it differently with different details. ‘Tan, though, tells her own version that retains the heart of Chang’e’s story but also gives it new life and depth. Furthermore, as the protagonist, Xinyin, is Chang’e’s daughter, this offers more depth and a fascinating perspective to the story, particularly in Xinyin’s motivations and her perceptions of the Celestial Kingdom.

3. A sweeping romantic fantasy adventure

Much happens in this 500-paged fantasy and readers will delight in seeing the many corners of the realm alongside Xinyin. Daughter of the Moon Goddess feels like a sweeping xianxia story – in which, for those who aren’t familiar, typically contain a protagonist’s quest to attain power and strength with gods, immortals, monsters, and magical treasures. Like xianxia stories, Daughter of the Moon Goddess has all the elements of a fantasy and adventure storyline, but at its heart is a story about love, romance, and loss – which is why I would call Daughter of the Moon Goddess a romantic fantasy.

4. At its heart, about love

At the very heart of this book, Daughter of the Moon Goddess is a story about love. It is about and explores different kinds of love – from romantic love, the intertwining force of first love, and also the love between parent and child. More, Daughter of the Moon Goddess is also about the loss of love and the pain of separation. As above, Daughter of the Moon Goddess may be a xianxia fantasy, but Xinyin’s quest for strength is not about personal gain or transcendence, but all she does is for her mother – exploring how far as we would go for the person that we love.

5. Also a story about duty and freedom

Love is a significant theme of Daughter of the Moon Goddess, but duty and freedom – and how they conflict and work in tandem with one another – is intertwined with its story as well. Though Xinyin’s quest is about fighting for her mother’s freedom, her journey is also entangled with different duties and obligations. She is bound by duty to the prince that she serves but is not free to love openly, she’s bound by duty to the army, to the kingdom and also to her mother. Duty and freedom are at odds with one another in Xinyin’s story, forcing her to decide what she really wants.

Is this book for you?

Premise in a sentence: The moon goddess’s daughter embarks on a quest to save her mother from exile and punishment.

Perfect for: Readers who love/are curious about C-drama fantasies and want a book equivalent; readers who love visual and vivid worldbuilding; readers who love simple yet rich adventure stories.

Think twice if: You’re looking for a complex story with complex themes.

Genre: young adult/adult (crossover) fantasy adventure with romantic elements

Trigger/content warning: violence, blood, gore, alcohol consumption, death, separation, attempted assault (brief), kidnapping, bullying (from the author’s Goodreads).

Find this book on:
Goodreads | Bookshop | Indiebound | Amazon

11 thoughts on “Five Reasons to Read: Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan – A Sweeping Xianxia Fantasy Inspired by the Chang’e Legend

  1. Although I love fantasies, every time I see one with this level of world-building and imagination I get excited and intimidated as I know I’ll have to invest time to get immersed in the story. I’m drawn in by the promise of an original story inspired by a legend I don’t know about. But also there’s romance! It sounds like it has all of the things which interest me in a book. I’d seen plenty of people talking about this book but was a little hesitant about buying as there were no reviews but I think you’ve convinced me this is one to add to the TBR.

    Liked by 1 person

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