Daughter of the Moon Goddess: Sue Lynn Tan
Published on: January 11, 2022
Time to an immortal was as rain to the boundless ocean.
A lovely debut by Sue Lynn Tan inspired by the story of Chang’e, the moon goddess that stole the potion of immortality gifted to her husband by the gods. For her theft, the celestial emperor punishes her by imprisoning Chang’e to the moon. The Daughter of the Moon Goddess story spans several years focusing on her daughter, Xingyin, and her quest to acquire the Crimson Lion Talisman, which would allow her to request anything from the emperor. With it, she hopes to free her mother from her imprisonment.
Although the series is identified as a duology there is so much occurring in this story that I was surprised it wasn’t broken out into additional books. If you have ever seen a xianxia drama, such as Ashes of Love or Eternal Love, you might have a good sense of how this style of story flows as characters go from one realm to another focusing on defeating magical creatures, obtaining magical items or weapons, and of course romance. The plot is fast-paced and is a surprisingly quick read given its size and is a terrific representation of all that makes this fantasy genre special. I would classify it as late young-adult/early new adult book. It spans a few years so it kind of falls in-between the two.
At the same time, the fast-paced plot is also what kept me from completely falling in love with it. Sometimes it felt a little too fast, especially in Part 1 where it introduces the main story and most of the major characters. These were the times when I wished it would slow down and let us fully experience the moments with Xingyin. An example of this is during one of her first experiences outside the moon where she works as an attendant to the daughter of a wealthy family that didn’t always treat her the best. I often feel a character needs a little adversary to make them into a well-rounded, more relatable character – someone you can cheer on when life finally gets better. But the story moves past that so quickly that I couldn’t fully appreciate the new freedom and happiness she had been given at her next home. Along the same lines, the romance felt sped up too. I knew feelings were developing, especially in our male lead, but the story was going so fast that I hadn’t quite bought in yet to where the characters were emotionally. So that when the romance occurred, I wasn’t especially invested in them as a couple.
Despite the issues mentioned above, I enjoyed the time spent in the immortal realms and their kingdoms: immortal, demon, mortal. There is something intriguing to me about a world with different realms and the author paints a lovely portrait of it with descriptions of the moon goddess lighting lanterns to illuminate the night sky or fights with nine-headed serpents.