First sentence: “There are many legends about my mother.”
If you came here wondering if this book is like watching a Chinese romantic xianxia drama, then you’re in the right place because The Daughter of the Moon Goddess has that vibe.
All Xingyin knows is her home on the moon with her mother, the beloved Moon goddess Chang’e, but when the Celestial army come knocking on their door, Xingyin is forced to flee and leave her mother behind. She makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom and by happenstance, she befriends the crown Prince Liwei and becomes his study companion. She learns everything from herbology to fighting with weapons and magic (eventually fighting legendary creatures) in order to figure out how to free her mother from the moon.
It’s based on Chinese mythology. You get the legend of Chang’e and how she became the moon goddess, Hou Yi the mythological Chinese archer who shot down the sun birds, the Celestial Empire with all the immortals, and various legendary creatures like dragons and Xiangliu, the nine-headed snake monster that brings floods and destruction. I love these stories and how it’s incorporated into the plot.
Try to not catch second lead syndrome. Because I certainly did. You get Crown Prince Liwei—Xingyin’s study companion and close friend—and Captain Wenzhi, an esteemed leader in the Celestial Empire army. You see Prince Liwei and Xingyin grow close together, so readers can see how and why these two would catch feelings for each other. Not my cup of tea though because you have Captain Wenzhi right there! I find him so much more interesting especially with what happened in the third part of the book.
Though, I will say that Xingyin catching feelings for Captain Wenzhi was less than believable since the writing didn’t sprinkle hints of the budding romance. It was too fast.
Xingyin’s quest to fight dangerous legendary creatures and enemies are the best parts. Hands down, the best part of the entire book. While the first act was more slow to establish the connections that Xingyin had to make, acts two and three were action packed—full of fights with bows and magic. It’s fantastic.
The only irritating part about these fight scenes is that I never felt like there were real threats or consequences for Xingyin (especially after these fights). Everything is magically better for her, even though she gets severely injured.
The story was very predictable, and the main character didn’t have a lot of depth. Not a bad thing, but I didn’t find some of the important events (even though I enjoyed it) with the former Flower Immortal Hualing and Captain Wenzhi to be exciting because of how often I see it. I know for a character like Xingyin who puts family first and is super honorable, but I really wanted her to have flaws—at least make the less than honorable and flawed decision. It’s much more interesting and creates a lot of depth, which I don’t feel like Xingyin do; she just doesn’t seem to grow. Go to the dark side for once!
It’s like watching a Chinese drama. You can’t help but sit and watch (read in this case) all 50+ episodes of the drama because you’re so caught up with the romance and the fight scenes. It has everything that I usually see in those dramas—immortal beings that will make you fall in love or make you rage at them; a strong female character with characteristics that are simply bland and doesn’t make her memorable; a romance that has love triangle where I catch second lead syndrome and want the main character to get with him instead of the prince (but of course that doesn’t happen); well choreographed fight scenes that keeps you riveted. Daughter of the Moon Goddess has those vibes.
Should you read Daughter of the Flower Moon? If you’re in need of a Chinese xianxia drama, this is the book.