Review posted September 22, 2023.
HarperAudio, 2022. 15 hours, 1 minute.
Review written September 5, 2023, from a library eaudiobook.
2023 Alex Award Winner (Outstanding books for adults that will have appeal to teen readers.)
I'm not completely sure why Daughter of the Moon Goddess is advertised for adults and not for teen readers. It's a coming-of-age tale about the daughter of the moon goddess. The notes do say it's the first part of a duology, so perhaps the second part has more mature themes. This part shows her growing up years, with the person she's going to fall in love with still in question. There's some kissing but no sex. (Just so you know what you're in for.)
The story is lovely, and narrator Natalie Naudus does a good job immersing you in the tale. Xingyin has grown up with her mother on the moon. As a teen, she learns that her mother was exiled there for drinking the elixir of immortality that had been awarded to her husband, a great archer, who had saved the world by shooting down some extra suns that were burning the world. What the moon goddess kept hidden, though, was the reason she drank the elixir -- it was because she was having trouble in childbirth and the doctors said that she and her baby were going to die. But she kept Xingyin (who is also immortal) hidden from the celestial emperor and empress so they wouldn't punish her as well.
But when Xingyin accidentally accesses her magic, it brings the attention of the empress to the moon. Xingyin must leave her home and go out into the world, never revealing who she is.
Xingyin ends up in the celestial kingdom as a servant. She is determined to somehow, some way work to save her mother and set her free from the eternal imprisonment.
Then she meets a young man who turns out to be the crown prince. He is holding a competition to find a study companion. But what can there be in common between two people whose families are in enmity?
That's only the beginning. Xingyin ends up having many adventures, no damsel in distress, but one who has inherited the amazing abilities of her archer father.
The whole tale is told with a mythical feel. Although I had a strong feeling where the plot was going, there were some surprises along the way. And though this book had a satisfying resolution, there were enough threads left hanging to make me glad to read it's the start of a duology.
This is a gentle romantic fantasy tale with a heroine you'll be happy to cheer for.