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  • Beautiful Fantasy

    Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan immediately drew me into her beautiful fantasy world and I didn’t want to leave. This beautifully written book is just as gorgeous inside as the cover. Xingyin’s mother is the Moon Goddess and she has been exiled to the moon for drinking an immortal elixir that was meant for her husband, Xingyin’s father. The Celestial Emperor and Empress do not know about Xingyin’s existence. When Xingyin accidentally uses her power, the Celestial Empress is immediately suspicious of the Moon Goddess. In a panic, the Moon Goddess sends Xingyin to safety, but Xingyin ends up in the Celestial Empire and ends up as a servant for the daughter of a powerful immortal Nobel. Eventually, she ends up serving the prince of the Celestial Empire, as a companion and they train together as warriors. Xingyin has a talent for archery, and after time, she enters the Celestial army. I don’t read much fantasy, so I’m not sure how this book stacks up against other fantasy books. But, as an avid reader, I’ll have to say it grabbed me and entertained me and I was completely immersed into the fantasy world the author developed. I loved the main character Xingyin and loved seeing her grow and become a courageous warrior. She stayed true to her motivation to release her mother from exile, and her love for her mother never wavered. The first part of the book was about character and world-building and dragged just a bit, but once the action started, it pulled me along until the end. This book is both lyrically written and action-packed, with a lot of twists and turns. Daughter of the Moon Goddess is the first book in a duology. I thought this first book in the duology ended satisfactorily and I can’t imagine what the second book will be about. But, I’ll be first in line to get her second book because I absolutely loved being in this world with these characters. I highly recommend Daughter of the Moon Goddess to anyone who loves fantasy. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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  • Epic retelling and more!

    Daughter Of The Moon Goddess is the retelling of Chang'e and Houyu's epic love story after Chang'e takes the immortal elixir and ascends to the moon to become the Moon Goddess. The author gives readers an alternative reason why Chang'e drank the elixir with much remorse and left Houyu - a more realistic and valid reason, as readers will see. All because of the survival of Xingyin, their daughter. The story is from Xingyin's POV and explores her journey to discovering her past and finding a way to free her mother's imprisonment. Her journey of self-discovery, self-enlightenment, and self-worth will take her from one end of the celestial world to down to the mortal world in finding a way to free her mother from being bound to the moon. Top 5 Reasons to read Daughter Of The Moon Goddess. 1. Great World-Building and spectacular views There is so much research on history, myth, and imagery in each scene - from elaborate architecture to intricate costumes and scenes! There is so much color and richness in the chapters that it was impossible NOT feel the importance and intensity of the scenes! I.e., Walking through an osmanthus forest, trekking through Eternal Spring Forest, or entering a cave in Shadow Peak - each location is unique in its purpose and beauty. This book is so engaging that readers will bury themselves into this book until the end. 2. Complex and genuine character development This book is a coming-of-age and self-discovery of Xingyin- about fighting to find herself back to her family and fighting to protect the people she now fights alongside. Xingyin was not privy to many things in her quest that made her question her head and heart. There was a lot of twisted deceit that would break any character. Still, maybe because of her naivety, isolation from the rest of the celestial world, plus strong-willed love for her mother, this only made her braver and more resilient when faced with dire situations (and there were a lot in the book). She is wise to use her past mistakes (trusting the wrong person, etc.) to push her to forge other solutions to the problem. Plus, this book dives into further exploration of love, hope, despair, and real-life struggles for all the characters, not only the protagonists, and seen in the facial signs written in the scenes, impossible to miss. Yes, even the supposed bad guys have their moments that turned the story 180-degrees or even 360-degrees from what I expected. 3. Spicy love triangle Crown Prince Liwei versus Captain Wenzhi I can see the "stans" coming on! I love to see two men vying for the right to be Xingyin's partner! They both pulled out "all the stops" that may be considered crazy and manipulative but also romanticized and swoon-worthy. Liwei and Wenzhi have their flaws. Both saw their actions as valid (even if despicable), at the cost of ruining their relationship/friendship with Xingyin. It is complex, and although both are similar to a point, their intentions and what they were bound to are very different, which the book explained very well. Who will break her heart? Who will deceive her? Who will love her for everything? Who will use her? Those were some of the questions answered in the book, but let us not be too complacent - expect more questions to come at the end. 4. Emotional rollercoaster that will pull you apart then put you back together! What makes this book uber-awesome is the wide range of emotions I went through! It's like my own coming-of-age story of love, gushing, hate, deceit, despair, selflessness, and redemption moments through Xingyin and even both male protagonists. It was hard not to empathize and feel for all the characters (yes, even the evil ones) because the author does a great job of inserting the right amount of back story to help support the scenes and expected reactions. 5. The unpredictable plot twists until the end. Balancing familial love versus sovereign love is hard. One is to give way to the other, but if the path forks, how should one decide? Expect the unexpected and be prepared to be surprised at each turn. Trust no one but yourself, but Xingyin had to find this out in the worst ways possible. The twists will wrench your stomach and make you question everything you believe. It will gut you but also bring you back into hope, just when you think you want to give up on Xingyin's ominous circumstances. Note: Before I round out this review. I have to mention that the ending was epically beautiful! This book can hold up as a standalone, which is lovely BUT knowing this is a duology, why would you stop here? Most significantly, if you already know that the author would give us dramatic scenes, stellar character, and excellent plot development, it would be sacrilege NOT to follow up on this duology! As an avid reader of mythology, legends, and folklore, especially Oriental ones, the retellings are always tricky and sometimes most criticized books. It is tough to follow up on a well-loved story since some readers

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