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book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

REVIEW: Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

Published: January 20th, 2022
Publisher: Harper Voyager UK
Genre: Fantasty Fiction, Fairy Tale, High Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy Series
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Thank you Harper Voyager UK for my gifted proof copy of this mesmerising debut.

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SYNOPSIS:

The bestselling debut fantasy inspired by the legend of the Chinese moon goddess.

A young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm, setting her on a dangerous path where those she loves are not the only ones at risk…

*THE INSTANT TOP 5 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER*

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the powerful Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when her magic flares and her existence is discovered, Xingyin 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 train in the Crown Prince’s service, learning to master archery and magic, despite the passion which flames between her and the emperor’s son.

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MY REVIEW:

Lush, evocative and heartfelt, this sweeping debut is a mythological love story and coming-of-age story inspired by the legend of the Chinese moon goddess. And I can’t start this review without talking about that gorgeous cover. It is a work of art that screams ‘read me’, and the Fairyloot version just takes things to another level. As soon as I saw it I knew this was a book I had to read, and my only regret is that I waited so long to do so. 

Xingyin has been raised on the moon. It is an isolated life, and as she grows, so does her desire to explore and experience new things—a wish that is about to come true in the worst possible way. When her magic flares, Xingyin discovers that her mother, Chang’e, is imprisoned in the moon as punishment for stealing the elixir of immortality from the Celestial Emperor and that her own existence is a secret. Faced with the danger of discovery, her mother’s attendant, Ping’er, helps Xingyin flee her home, and she is forced to hide in the Celestial Kingdom, concealing her identity while she works as a servant. But a chance meeting changes her destiny, and she is chosen to train alongside Crown Prince Liwei, learning battle skills and mastering her magic, eventually becoming an elite warrior who is revered throughout the Celestial Kingdom. A skill she hopes will win the Emperor’s favour and a chance to finally free her mother. 

This mesmerising debut is a fantasy lovers’ dream. Enchanting and dreamlike, it is filled with mythical creatures, epic battles, humour, passion and gripping tension. It is both ambitious in scope and intimate in detail, author Sue Lynn Tan’s vivid imagery bringing her richly imagined world to life as clearly as if it was on a movie screen in front of me. Tan also paints pictures with prose that is almost poetic, each word carefully chosen to propel me into her magical world. 

Xingyin is a likeable heroine who is easy to root for. She begins the story full of wide-eyed innocence and daydreams, and we follow her journey of self-discovery as she grows into a fierce, courageous warrior with a fire that cannot be extinguished. I was rooting for her from the start. I loved the beautiful mother/daughter bond she and Chang’e shared and trying to guess if her friends-to-lovers romance with Prince Liwei would have a happy ending. 

A dazzling and gloriously escapist fantasy that pulls on the heartstrings, Daughters of the Moon Goddess is a debut not to be missed. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Sue Lynn Tan writes stories inspired by the myths and legends she fell in love with as a child. After devouring every fable she could find in the library, she discovered fantasy books, spending much of her childhood lost in magical worlds.

​Daughter of the Moon Goddess is her debut, the first in the Celestial Kingdom duology – a fantasy of immortals, magic and love, inspired by the beloved legend of the Chinese moon goddess, Chang’e.

When not writing or reading, she enjoys exploring the hills, lakes, and temples around her home. She is also grateful to be within reach of bubble tea and spicy food, which she unfortunately cannot cook.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxxx

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book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Tandem Readalong

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas

Published: February 16th, 2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy

SYNOPSIS:

With bits of BuffyGame Of Thrones and Outlander, this is a glorious series of total joy – Stylist

Sarah J. Maas’s sexy, richly imagined Court of Thorns and Roses series continues with the journey of Feyre’s fiery sister, Nesta

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly – proud, swift to anger and slow to forgive. And since the war – since being made High Fae against her will – she’s struggled to forget the horrors she endured and find a place for herself within the strange and deadly Night Court.
The person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred, winged warrior who is there at Nesta’s every turn. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. And when they are forced to train in battle together, sparks become flame.
As the threat of war casts its shadow over them once again, Nesta and Cassian must fight monsters from within and without if they are to stand a chance of halting the enemies of their court. But the ultimate risk will be searching for acceptance – and healing – in each other’s arms.

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MY REIVEW:

“Immortality was not a serene youth.
It was fire.”

ACOSF was one of my most anticipated books of the year, so I was thrilled when Tandem Collective UK offered me the chance to take part in a readalong of the book. At over 700 pages it is an intimidating tome, and I admit that I found the first third of the story quite slow and difficult to get into. But once things got going it was addictive, and I flew through the pages quickly; holding on for dear life as Maas took me on a high-octane and emotional thrillride. 

“So Nesta had become a wolf. Armed herself with invisible teeth and claws, and learned to strike faster, deeper, more lethally . Had relished it. But when the time came to put away the wolf, she’d found it had devoured her, too.”

ACOSF stands out from the other books in the series as it shifts from telling Feyre’s story to that of her fiery sister, Nesta. I was initially hesitant about this as I’ve enjoyed Feyre’s story and love her as a character, while Nesta wasn’t someone who lit up the pages and drew me in. But after reading it I can say I’m glad the author gave us the chance to get to know Nesta as there is so much more beneath the feisty and sullen mask. She has a story that needs to be told; one that addresses mental health, trauma and PTSD.  I liked how Maas explored these issues not only through Nesta’s story, but also through the stories of other characters. There is a lot of discussion about the issues throughout the book and it will be hard for some to read. But as someone who lives with these issues, I found it to be sensitively written and liked that Mass highlighted things like the importance of facing your pain, self care, opening up to others, and celebrating the tiny steps that are huge accomplishments in your recovery.

“Perhaps in voicing those truths, they’d given them wings. And sent them soaring into the open sky above.”

Though the familiar faces from Night Court do feature in the book, Nesta spends most of the story away from them and has isolated herself on an emotional level too. This led the way for the introduction of Gwyn and Emerie, two new characters who I loved. They have also been through trauma and through their shared experiences they develop a truly special friendship and camaraderie. Watching as that blossomed and the women slowly began to recognise their inner strength, was probably my favourite part of the book. 

“Your power is a song, and one I’ve waited a very, very long time to hear, Nesta.”

There is no talking about this book without discussing the steam factor. I’ve been shipping Nessian for a while and was hoping for them to finally get together, and we all know there have been some hot scenes between Feyre and Rhys, but I was not prepared for the level of sizzle in this book. It’s so steamy that I would find myself blushing and feeling almost embarrassed to be caught reading it – and I was at home! I did enjoy the hilarious discussions with fellow bookstagrammers that it led to though. Maas has certainly moved away from young readers with the raunchy scenes in this book. So be warned.

“When you erupt, girl, make sure it is felt across worlds.”

Ms. Mass knows just how to keep the reader begging for more, ending the book with a heart-pounding finale that had me on the edge of my seat. It was an electrifying ending to a spectacular book and I can’t wait until the next installment. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

Steam Rating:🍆🍆🍆🍆🍆

TW: Mental health, sexual assault, trauma 

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses series, as well as a USA Today and international bestselling author. Sarah wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in thirty-five languages. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. Empire of Storms, the fifth Throne of Glass novel,is available now.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon*| Google Books | Apple Books| Kobo
*These links are affiliate links

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Thank you to Bloomsbury UK for my gifted copy of the book and to Tandem Collective UK for the invitation to take part in the readalong.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles. Until next time, Emma xxx