(Celestial Kingdom Book 1)
Written by Sue Lynn Tan
JANUARY 11, 2022 • 6.39 x 9.32 • 512 PAGES • 978-0063031302
Daughter of the Moon Goddess is a Young Adult fantasy novel that draws inspiration from the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess, who was exiled on the Moon.
And while DMG has all the makings of a YA fantasy/romance that I would expect– angsty romance, duplicity, powerful males falling in love with lower-caste heroines– it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. To me, these are staples of the YA genre and it’s not about whether an author can create a story away from these tropes, it’s how well they incorporate them without them being overly cliché or tiresome to read. That being said, the love story is not why I gave this book 3.9 stars.
What I enjoyed about DMG is the beautiful job Tan does of bringing us into a world of magic and intrigue. The Chinese folklore woven into the narrative is so vivid and beautifully detailed that you do not need to be familiar with the lore to appreciate the culture. I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in this world and learning more about Chinese mythology.
One thing that did bother me: The ending is neatly tied up and things fall into place for our protagonist— almost too much so, almost too perfectly. But this is a duology so it will be interesting to see where Tan takes the sequel. I hope we learn more about the other kingdoms and the sky worlds in general. Like dragons? How cool! And yes, the 16 year old me will be anxiously awaiting who wins her heart in the end– the crown prince of the Celestial Empire or the captain of the guard (and prince of the warring kingdom).
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