Read or Die


Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let’s get the elephant out of the room first: I don’t know who was in charge of line editing, but someone needs to fire them. Or at least send them to school for grammar. Because the surfeit of commas in this manuscript was beyond ridiculous. It was like having Captain Kirk write a novel. I recognize that, as writers, we often debate the need for commas, but this took that quandary to the extreme. Absolutely unnecessary.

Moving on.

The prose is beyond gorgeous. Every page drips with flowing description that calls to mind exquisite calligraphy and untouched nature. Within the first paragraph, you find yourself transported to a world that is believable and magical in the same breath. And so rich in texture and sense that you want to close your eyes and live within the pages. Ms. Tan’s gift with words is unparalleled.

She weaves the mythology and culture of the Southeast Asian realm into something new and wonderful without losing the touches of the original that I remember from the picture books my grandmother gave us. It was nostalgic and enchanting in the same breath. With the familiar tropes of any fairy tale (love and loss, family, good and evil) carrying through. The characters are so much more complex, though, than you expect in an “ordinary” fairy tale, with motivations and depths that set them apart from the stereotypical heroes and villains. It makes for more enjoyable reading.

Grammar aside, it was lovely. And I look forward to seeing more from Ms. Tan.

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