Titles are inherited, talent might be blood-bound, but true greatness lies within.
there are over a hundred feelings that a human experiences in their lifetime and as i closed this book, i felt a dull disappointment.
i know that this is a fantasy favourite all over Goodreads and bookstagram but unfortunately not one for me. this was underwhelming and nothing particularly stood out to me, except the chinese influences and inspiration. considering that this a retelling of the chinese moon goddess chang-e i thought there would be more of a focus on her and houyi rather than her daughter.
this book begins with action with xingyin being forced to flee her home and hide from the celestial emperor who had imprisoned her mother.
the characters and narration + pacing didn’t work for me and they’re arguably the most important parts of a story, aside from the plot.
i couldn’t connect to any of the characters, xingyin the least. her personality remains a constant throughout the novel. the only thing i knew about her was that she loved her mother and was brilliant at archery.
there is a love triangle which is rather cliche. you have your typical friendly-charismatic-friend-turned-lover vs a tall-dark-handsome-mysterious-guy. while the romantic angst was entertaining, the mutual jealousies and rivalries were not 😂
also there was zero chemistry and i don’t GET the attraction! I’d prefer for xingyin to end up with no one but if i absolutely had to chose, i’d say liwei and that’s only because I’m tired of ✨ mysterious ✨ guys in YA.
Once you had seen the full moon, the crescent lost its charm.
the plot is pretty wild and all over the place but i admit to being hooked in the last third. it’s quite a ride from xingyin training with the prince, then choosing the life of a soldier in the army to being whisked away on a quest.
however the narration was extremely detached and what should’ve been a breathless experience turned into something as boring as a maths lecture (i swear, I’m not exaggerating lol)
over the course of 500 pages there’s zero character development or change in tone.
objectively this book is quite action packed but the formula of 2-3 chapters build-up, 1 chapter action then 1 chapter resolution did not work for me. as soon as the climax would reach its peak, there would be a swift resolution and then a change of scene.
there’s a lot of change of setting and plenty of action as well but the latter is overshadowed by the flowery writing.
the dialogue as well took a while to get used to and i found it too stiff and formal for my liking -though that might have been to set the tone of the novel
Was this where all paths to love led? Heartbreak, whether through separation, betrayal, or death? Was the fleeting joy worth the sorrow that came after?
the writing is gorgeous and I’ve highlighted dozens of quotes on my tablet but it took away the glitter of the plot for me. in certain cases -such as caraval – the prose and plot work together. however daughter of the moon goddess was not such a case for me.
I’m surprised that this is a duology since all the main subplots have been resolved and xingyin seems to have made her choice with regards to the love triangle…
overall, this was a disappointment and one of the many cases where the hype has led me astray. i’d tentatively recommend this to people who enjoy YA fantasy that is heavy on the prose.
“Yet as much as I loved him, I loved myself more. And as I was discovering, there was no end to love—it was something which grew and renewed endlessly, expanding to encompass each new horizon. Family. Friends. And other lovers, too—none of them the same—yet each precious in their own way.