The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho

The more I review books, the more I’m intrigued by the genre of the novella. It’s no easy task to fit in all the elements needed to move a story forward. I hesitate to compare it to a the genre of the sonnet, but when an author is restricted to under 200 pages it can be quite difficult to manage all those parts. But in this short piece Cho is gives the reader a well-balanced story that really took me away.

Bandits in action. Always a good way to open a book! And a young woman named Guet Imm who has taken her vows in The Order of the Pure Moon, but for some reason she is now working at a coffee shop where the bandits show up. “Things happen” and they join forces in a mission that seems simple at first… but after the layers of their pasts are pulled away, politics and religion and some intimate secrets are revealed.

I was impressed with so much about this book. The integration of character development and plot was virtually seamless… I will seek out more stories in the wuxia genre (Cho states on her blog that this is a piece of tropical wuxia) and especially more writing by this author. I like the technique of being thrown into the middle of Guet’s life with not much to go on and having to look for landmarks of her backstory along the way. There is so much talent in this writing. A writing that focuses on the pieces of the characters that they hold so close to their chests but by letting go they may discover that a bandit and a nun have more in common than they may think.

Pick this one up for a couple-hours adventure that is filled with real human elements. It made me laugh, cheer, and act out a couple cool martial arts moves…

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, Tor Books, and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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