The stunning sequel to Daughter of the Moon Goddess delves deeper into beloved Chinese mythology, concluding the epic story of Xingyin—the daughter of Chang’e and the mortal archer, Houyi—as she battles a grave new threat to the realm, in this powerful tale of love, sacrifice, and hope.
After winning her mother’s freedom from the Celestial Emperor, Xingyin thrives in the enchanting tranquility of her home. But her fragile peace is threatened by the discovery of a strange magic on the moon and the unsettling changes in the Celestial Kingdom as the emperor tightens his grip on power. While Xingyin is determined to keep clear of the rising danger, the discovery of a shocking truth spurs her into a perilous confrontation.
Forced to flee her home once more, Xingyin and her companions venture to unexplored lands of the Immortal Realm, encountering legendary creatures and shrewd monarchs, beloved friends and bitter adversaries. With alliances shifting quicker than the tides, Xingyin has to overcome past grudges and enmities to forge a new path forward, seeking aid where she never imagined she would. As an unspeakable terror sweeps across the realm, Xingyin must uncover the truth of her heart and claw her way through devastation—to rise against this evil before it destroys everything she holds dear, and the worlds she has grown to love . . . even if doing so demands the greatest price of all.
Title : Heart of the Sun Warrior Author : Sue Lynn Tan Series : The Celestial Kingdom #2 Format : eARC Page Count : 480 Genre : Fantasy Publisher : Harper Voyager Release Date : November 10, 2022
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Micky’s 4 star review
Headlines: Changing allegiances Family, friends, love & grief Epically-sized triangle
I feel like my whole reader’s heart has been invested in this duology. I’ve loved the world and it’s complexity, the characters good and bad have been written so well and Xingyin has been a worthy main character.
Heart of the Sun Warrior was a fast-paced sequel that had me on the edge of my seat. Xingyin’s brief status quo with her mother was turned upside down and in an insidious way with a rather evil villain. The cast of characters in this story were full of depth and the nasty charaters were developed as well as the beloved characters. The factions and rulers of this world sure were an egotistical lot in the main, trust was not an option.
This was an emotive story, tense, full of hurt, loss and grief and yet Tan brought those chinks of light and joy that kept you on the right side of hope. I read much of the second half with my heart in my mouth right until the final pages.
Talking of the final pages, I did struggle a little with that ending…I just wanted something more.
A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess, in which a young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm.
Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.
Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor’s son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.
To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess begins an enchanting, romantic duology which weaves ancient Chinese mythology into a sweeping adventure of immortals and magic—where love vies with honor, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant.
Title : Daughter of the Moon Goddess Author : Sue Lynn Tan Series : Daughter of the Moon Goddess (book one) Format : eARC Page Count : 512 Genre : YA fantasy Publisher : Harper Voyager Release Date : January 11, 2022/January 20, 2022
Nothing like starting off the new year with a very anticipated read and.. well, not hating it, but this took a lot of willpower to push through over the course of the first few days of 2022 and honestly, with the exception of one plot point, I did not enjoy.. any of this?
This is a long book, see above page count, however the problem was it also felt long. The beginning especially seems to go on forever with very little happening and also a very strange sense of time passage within the story itself. And considering how things started, and all the urgency that kicks off the story, well.. it dissipated as quickly as my New Year diet resolutions.
And I think overall that’s my issue with the whole story. The sense of forward motion, of urgency, of our main character’s dedication to saving her mother totally vanishes into the mundane doldrums of a whole other different story. And it’s only near the end that she suddenly seems to phase back into that main concern. Yes, she was working towards a thing that she maybe could use to her advantage but.. I don’t know. This felt like three different books in one and not in a good way.
As for the romance, well. I appreciated what the author tried to do with this love triangle, which was a more mature way of handling the usual YA fallback, however, at the same time, it didn’t work for me. And I worry about what awaits us in book two in that regard. Though.. I don’t think I’ll be reading it.
Normally I’m full of second (third, fourth, fifth..) chances for authors, particularly debuts, but nothing in this writing was passionate. Or compelling. Or enthralling. It was lovely at times but honestly it was pretty dry. Again, where was the urgency, the tension, the stakes, and, yes, the passion. Hell, emotion of any kind. I felt nothing, no matter how hard I tried. Sadly this read likely tripled my screentime for the month because I kept putting it down.. which, yeah, added to the time it took me to finish but goodness I took any excuse to look away.
Again, this is a huge disappointment as I fell in love with this cover months ago and thought it sounded utterly captivating and unique. But for me? It wasn’t it. As always, of course, don’t just take my word for it; I highly encourage you to check out other reviews as this low rating is but a drop in the current rave review ocean.
** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Micky’s 5 star review
Headlines: Epically captivating Triangles and twists Lands, lore and dragons
This was a sweeping, wonderful reading experience. It’s a book with depth, a plot to twist you into knots and characters that you stand behind in complete support and belief. Daughter of the Moon Goddess was told over many years, these immortals have long lives after all. The main character Xingyin was young when we met her, but this woman she came to be was reading gold.
Xingyan battled for a place to exist in the celestial world both figuratively and later rather literally. Her companion and supporter Liwei stole my heart early on but then I came to doubt my heart’s loyalties. Wenzhi complicated matters and I liked him. I could never have guessed the twists, turns, betrayals and loyalty that lay ahead in this plot; it was extremely clever and made for addictive reading.
The celestial, demon, mortal worlds and more were painted so vividly. I had grand pictures of places, forests, seas and dragons. There were quests and battles but none too drawn out. The strong woman that Xingyin became was a dream to read. There were plenty of sketchy characters, those that were obvious and those hiding in plain sight.
This fantasy epic tied up the story well but I can see there is a second book to come. I loved these characters so much that I can’t wait to read more of their journey and adventures.
Thank you to Harper Voyager for the eARC copy. My pre-order is already filed and waiting, I need this on my shelf and I think you do too.