The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in WaterThe Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho
Published by Tor on June 23, 2020
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Bantering Books Rating: three-stars

Zen Cho returns with a found family wuxia fantasy that combines the vibrancy of old school martial arts movies with characters drawn from the margins of history.
A bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there. Guet Imm, a young votary of the Order of the Pure Moon, joins up with an eclectic group of thieves (whether they like it or not) in order to protect a sacred object, and finds herself in a far more complicated situation than she could have ever imagined.

Bantering Books Review

Gimme more. I want more.

In her wuxia fantasy novella, The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, Zen Cho tells the entertaining tale of Guet Imm, a young Asian votary who joins a band of thieves to protect a sacred religious artifact.

What’s wuxia fantasy? Think, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In a book.

No doubt, Pure Moon is pure fun. The story, fueled by both magic and martial arts, has some great action and fantastical fight scenes. But it’s also lighthearted and surprisingly sweet, with its focus being more on the theme of found family rather than kung fu. Guet Imm and the thieves are a likable, ragtag group, and their interplay is wittily amusing and heartwarming.

The novella, though, is too sparse. There isn’t much in the way of characterization and world-building, and the historical era and setting of the story are remarkably vague. Plus, it’s hard to grasp the true nature of the society in which Guet Imm lives, as it seems to be oddly both patriarchal and progressive.

But you know, fantasy novellas are tough. It’s really hard to write them well. With an average length of only 200 pages, it’s challenging to fully develop a story and flesh out a new world. I think it’s why many authors struggle to write them, and why I often struggle to read them.

Because again, I always seem to want more. As I do now.

So, a solid three stars for The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water. I’m not gonna tell you to read it. But I’m not gonna tell you not to read it either.