The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water
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.

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water Details

TitleThe Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 23rd, 2020
PublisherTor.com Publishing
ISBN-139781250269249
Rating
GenreFantasy, Novella, Adult, Fiction, LGBT, GLBT, Queer

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water Review

  • chai ♡
    January 1, 1970
    I suffer from that syndrome where I just have to click "want-to-read" when I see a pretty cover. But then I read the synopsis and found out this is a found family wuxia fantasy, so that's a win!
  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. Now on sale! Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is a surprisingly warmhearted fantasy novella set in a war-torn Asian country. It’s a queer take on wuxia, a time-honored genre of Chinese fiction based on heroes skilled in the martial arts, frequently in superhuman, fantastical ways (think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or even Kung Fu Panda).One day, in a small coffeehouse, a customer angrily accuses his waitress of using jamp 3.5 stars. Now on sale! Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is a surprisingly warmhearted fantasy novella set in a war-torn Asian country. It’s a queer take on wuxia, a time-honored genre of Chinese fiction based on heroes skilled in the martial arts, frequently in superhuman, fantastical ways (think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or even Kung Fu Panda).One day, in a small coffeehouse, a customer angrily accuses his waitress of using jampi witchcraft on him. The quarrel degenerates, a handsome bandit intervenes, dishes fly, daggers are pulled. In the aftermath, the waitress, Guet Imm, gets fired from her job and tracks down the bandit’s gang in their camp outside of town, and somehow convinces the bandits’ leader to let her join their group, promising help with cooking and cleaning. Guet Imm is a former nun with a shaved head from a burnt-out tokong. She’s not much of a cook … in fact, she can’t cook at all, nor will she sleep with the men (it would require a cleansing sacrifice to her goddess, in the form of chopping off their dicks). She does, however, manage to “part the men from their filthy clothes and launder them, in the teeth of the men’s appalled resistance.”After a somewhat rocky start, Guet Imm becomes friends with one of the bandits, Tet Sang, who is the right-hand man of the handsome leader of the bandits. But trouble is brewing, and it has to do with something secret that the roving bandits are planning to sell, as well as personal secrets that some of the characters are keeping.The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is set in the pre-industrial era, in a period called the Protectorate, in an mythical Asian country that, according to Cho’s website, “draws on both the semi-mythic China of wuxia and the Malaya of the Emergency.” Zen Cho, a Chinese Malaysian author, frequently uses Malay names and words in this novella, like tokong (a Malay temple), jampi (incantation or spell) and pahala (reward). Though the setting is a mix of cultures, it feels cohesive and organic to the plot.The story focuses on Guet Imm and Tet Sang. While Tet Sang may be concealing the bigger secrets, Guet Imm is, I think, the heart of the tale. She combines wide-eyed earnestness with a sarcastic sense of humor, and a serene and profound faith in her deity with a canny understanding of human nature. Cho’s dryly humorous prose lends itself well to the affectionate bickering between the characters.The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is a pleasant read, more understated and tranquil than one might expect from a story about a group of bandits and stolen treasure that’s set in the midst of political turmoil. It’s more about interpersonal relationships and finding oneself and one’s family, than heart-pounding adventure and martial arts fighting, although there’s some of that as well. Zen Cho knows both wuxia traditions and Asian history and culture, and that shines through. I’d recommend it if you’re a fan of either wuxia or queer fantasy. Thanks to Tor for the ARC!
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  • Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    This sounds so good and the cover is GORGEOUS
  • Boston
    January 1, 1970
    Overall, I think this was a fun, exciting story, but I only really connected with two characters in the group. I had a lot of fun reading this, but it fell somewhat flat for me. I was given an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
  • Sahitya
    January 1, 1970
    It’s more of a solid 3.5. To tell the truth, I’ve not read any of the author’s previous novels nor have I ever felt interested to. But this novella instantly captured my interest with that gorgeous cover, and maybe that’s me being vain, but I was captivated and the premise also sounded quite promising. So I was very happy when I got the ARC and even more when I picked to read it on the first day of Asian Heritage month. I have to admit I felt slightly misguided by the blurb. I’m a huge fan of ma It’s more of a solid 3.5. To tell the truth, I’ve not read any of the author’s previous novels nor have I ever felt interested to. But this novella instantly captured my interest with that gorgeous cover, and maybe that’s me being vain, but I was captivated and the premise also sounded quite promising. So I was very happy when I got the ARC and even more when I picked to read it on the first day of Asian Heritage month. I have to admit I felt slightly misguided by the blurb. I’m a huge fan of martial arts movies, so I went into this book expecting a lot of fun action sequences but I was disappointed because it isn’t that kind of a story. It was much more of a found family type situation, with lots of humorous banter and a perilous journey for survival. I won’t say I got bored, but the plot did feel mundane at times; but I was much more fascinated when the discussions turned towards the effects of war and its collateral damage, the innocent lives lost, the loss of faith amounting from such experiences and how it changes a person. I also loved that despite the world building not being the strong suit here(probably because it’s such a small book), it’s very queernormative. It’s an eclectic group of characters but we only get to know two of them very well. I don’t want to talk details and give away spoilers, but they were all on a spectrum from naïveté to shrewdness, patient to temperamental, and it was fun reading their conversations. But I also found it interesting that the author didn’t shy away from showing us that survival came first to these characters, and even their bond might strain if circumstances go unfavorable. In the end, I had fun reading this little novella and the ending in particular was a very nice emotional touch, leaving us with just enough speculation for a possible sequel. I only wish I had gone into it with the right expectations so that I could have appreciated it more.
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  • Adam
    January 1, 1970
    This is a tough novella to review without wading into spoiler territory. The way that Zen Cho's new novella The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water began was a major feint. It seemed like it was going to lean into an action-oriented saga of black magic and banditry, bounty hunting and showdowns. Instead, it throws a massive curveball and tells a powerful story of identity and how it evolves across different people, customs, and lands. An underlying theme I took away is discovering your tru This is a tough novella to review without wading into spoiler territory. The way that Zen Cho's new novella The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water began was a major feint. It seemed like it was going to lean into an action-oriented saga of black magic and banditry, bounty hunting and showdowns. Instead, it throws a massive curveball and tells a powerful story of identity and how it evolves across different people, customs, and lands. An underlying theme I took away is discovering your true self even though circumstances around you are in a constant state of change.Cho deftly weaves elegant prose, quite a few eyebrow-raising moments, and many thought-provoking themes throughout this story of a nun who joins a group of roving bandits who are much more than they seem. The nun has been in solitary seclusion for over a decade, and her earnestness is akin to a newborn when she emerges into this new, 'silent war'-torn era. She forms fragile bonds with the bandit group -- some more delicate than others -- that threaten to shatter as histories and intentions come to light. What follows is a beautiful and tragic sequence of events that extinguishes long-held beliefs while kindling new fires of hope. Vague enough for you? I realize I sound a bit like a movie trailer, but since I hate spoiling anything of importance in a review, just take my word for it and go into this story blind. The most you'll miss is an afternoon, but there's some wonderful perspective to gain, not to mention a marvelously talented author you could start adding to your future book searches.8.0 / 10
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  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
    January 1, 1970
    Hmn... I'm going to have to sit on this one for a little while before I rate it. RTC
  • Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Tor.com Publishing for the gifted review copy!I've been told multiple times that Tor publish the best novellas and I was eyeing this one for quite some time. The story sounded really intriguing and honestly that cover is so beautiful! I guess you could say it's a cover read in some way. I didn't really have expectations but I thought the book would be different. I was hoping for more action scenes but the book was still pretty good! It was more about found family. There was a lot of Thank you to Tor.com Publishing for the gifted review copy!I've been told multiple times that Tor publish the best novellas and I was eyeing this one for quite some time. The story sounded really intriguing and honestly that cover is so beautiful! I guess you could say it's a cover read in some way. I didn't really have expectations but I thought the book would be different. I was hoping for more action scenes but the book was still pretty good! It was more about found family. There was a lot of bickering and snark comments which I really liked. The dialogues were also really funny at times.The book is around 160 pages but I flew through it so fast. It was really easy to read despite it also explaining some things about war, religion, and politics. I don't want to explain too much because then I'll be spoiling it so definitely give this book a read.
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  • aarya
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThis is cute and I genuinely did not expect that twist. I didn’t buy the romantic endgame (kinda came out of the left field), but the religious discussion and adventure subplot are fun. Glad that my library hold came in so quickly after release day. Yay, libraries!
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  • Lady H
    January 1, 1970
    There is such a delightfully whimsical quality to Zen Cho's writing. It's the perfect mixture of elegant, old-fashioned, and propulsive. It never fails to endear me to her narrative and her characters, which are delightful! Guet Imm, Tet Sang, and Feng Chueng are the major characters this novella revolves around; Guet Imm is a nun, while Tet Sang and Feng Chueng are the leaders of a group of wandering bandits, whose members are fleshed out to varying degrees. Guet Imm's nunnery/order has been de There is such a delightfully whimsical quality to Zen Cho's writing. It's the perfect mixture of elegant, old-fashioned, and propulsive. It never fails to endear me to her narrative and her characters, which are delightful! Guet Imm, Tet Sang, and Feng Chueng are the major characters this novella revolves around; Guet Imm is a nun, while Tet Sang and Feng Chueng are the leaders of a group of wandering bandits, whose members are fleshed out to varying degrees. Guet Imm's nunnery/order has been destroyed as a result of unrest, and so she attaches herself to Tet Sang's group seemingly on a whim. There is so much background and history to this country that I feel like Zen Cho could write an entire high fantasy series set here; in fact my only complaint is that this is only a novella, because I could read so much more from this world and these characters.There is so much casual gender and sexual diversity in our characters, there's witty and hilarious banter, there's a slow-building and subtle romance, and there's magical martial arts. This was an absolute romp.Also: I adore this cover, and this is one of the best titles I've ever seen.
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  • laurel [suspected bibliophile]
    January 1, 1970
    Once upon a time, a bandit walks into a small coffeehouse, and walks out with a nun, an adventure, and more trouble than he ever bargained for. "Huh?" said Tet Sang."Oh, I'm joining you all," said Guet Imm, wide-eyed. "Didn't I say already?"This was short, sweet, and I kinda want a sequel?I'll be honest, I was a little hesitant about this one because I had DNF'd Cho's first novel, Sorcerer to the Crown, which had been a highly anticipated read. But after some assurances from several trusted blog Once upon a time, a bandit walks into a small coffeehouse, and walks out with a nun, an adventure, and more trouble than he ever bargained for. "Huh?" said Tet Sang."Oh, I'm joining you all," said Guet Imm, wide-eyed. "Didn't I say already?"This was short, sweet, and I kinda want a sequel?I'll be honest, I was a little hesitant about this one because I had DNF'd Cho's first novel, Sorcerer to the Crown, which had been a highly anticipated read. But after some assurances from several trusted bloggers, I dove right into this one.I haven't dipped my toe into the wuxia fantasy waters before, so this was highly entertaining and different and altogether quite fun. This is about found family, if your family is squabbling, kinda ragged, hella queer and run by a man who probably stepped out of a GQ ad.As a formerly cloistered nun with little experience of the outside world yet far more esoteric power and knowledge than anyone expected, Guet Imm was innocent, naive and so much fun to read. She fully inserts herself into the band of bandits—with the initial explanation that she's going to wash their clothes so they don't smell like a group of bandits, and then helps with healing, banter and trying to find a buyer for the sacred objects from a temple of the Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water.And while I was initially draw to the bandit leader, Fung Cheung, he wasn't as fully developed or as explored as I would have liked. Instead, the narrative focuses on Tet Sang—the mysterious number two in the group who has a doubly mysterious past. A past that Guet Imm uncovers, bit by bit.Anywho, in addition to being about finding your way after being lost and hiding/reinventing yourself, this has a lot of commentary on civil war, the varying levels of banditry, colonialism and religion. It's fascinating, insightful and celebrates Asian—particularly Chinese—history and legend, and the role of women in society.And did I mention it's queer as hell?? Gay men, trans men and a nun who is definitely queer.Definitely a story to check out.I received this ARC from Edelweiss for an honest review.
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  • Shealea
    January 1, 1970
    A case of expectations =/= reality but in the best possible way, in my opinion. I dived into this with the expectation that it would be a high-stakes, action-packed wuxia fantasy with a lot of martial art goodness, but instead I found a very thought-provoking novella that revolves around identity, spirituality, and the lengths taken in order to guarantee survival. I also thought that the queer-norm aspects of this novella (particularly the emphasis on trans-ness and gender fluidity) were a pleas A case of expectations =/= reality but in the best possible way, in my opinion. I dived into this with the expectation that it would be a high-stakes, action-packed wuxia fantasy with a lot of martial art goodness, but instead I found a very thought-provoking novella that revolves around identity, spirituality, and the lengths taken in order to guarantee survival. I also thought that the queer-norm aspects of this novella (particularly the emphasis on trans-ness and gender fluidity) were a pleasant surprise.The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is a weird novella, and I really liked it. Full review to follow.* I received a digital ARC of this book (via NetGalley) from its publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Eon ♒Windrunner♒
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsZen Cho is an author whose previous work I have enjoyed a lot, but in all honesty, what first drew my attention to this book was not the author or the title, but the beautiful, captivating illustration done by Sija Hong for the cover.Add in that blurb teasing a found family, wuxia fantasy story involving a nun joining up with a group of bandits in order to protect a sacred object but finding herself in a situation far more complicated than she expected and yes, my tbr mountain found its 3.5 starsZen Cho is an author whose previous work I have enjoyed a lot, but in all honesty, what first drew my attention to this book was not the author or the title, but the beautiful, captivating illustration done by Sija Hong for the cover.Add in that blurb teasing a found family, wuxia fantasy story involving a nun joining up with a group of bandits in order to protect a sacred object but finding herself in a situation far more complicated than she expected and yes, my tbr mountain found itself one book higher.The plot closely follows what is teased at in the blurb, but of course, not everything is at seems, including this novella. Initially, the expectations created by that description led me slightly astray. I believed heading into this that it would be a fast-paced, action-packed story heavily featuring martial arts, and I hope to warn any readers with similar expectations to not make the same mistake as it can seriously impact your enjoyment of this novella. While it says wuxia right there in the blurb, I have since seen that Zen Cho has said that this does not have much fighting, because it does not actually belong to the wuxia genre, but is more like fanfic for it.As I wanted to give this story it’s fair due consideration, I put it down for a while to reset my preconceived notions. That proved to helpful, resulting in a different outlook to start with and in turn, a thought-provoking read that I enjoyed more than I would have had I forged ahead with my earlier expectations. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is rather a character-driven story, concerned more with converse than action, focusing heavily on themes of identity, culture, found family and finding oneself. While it very much has wuxia-like moments of martial arts and magic, that is not the focus and these moments are but minimal, rather supplementing the story with a fantastical element that enhances rather than defines. Overall, Zen Cho has penned a deftly written and enjoyable tale that surprises and is almost subversive in the way it defies expectations, making for a quick read that brings something different to the genre.You can find this review and more at Novel Notions
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  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    "Found family wuxia fantasy" is all you really need to know - this is a quick read from Zen Cho. It starts with bandits and maybe magic.
  • Silvia
    January 1, 1970
    I was sent this book as an advance copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 3.5 starsThis was one of my (if not the) most anticipated books coming out in the first half of this year so it's not the easiest thing for me to review. I really liked it and I think it delivered on a lot of points it promised to deliver on, and points I personally love in stories like well-rounded, three-dimensional characters. I had previously only read a short story I was sent this book as an advance copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 3.5 starsThis was one of my (if not the) most anticipated books coming out in the first half of this year so it's not the easiest thing for me to review. I really liked it and I think it delivered on a lot of points it promised to deliver on, and points I personally love in stories like well-rounded, three-dimensional characters. I had previously only read a short story by Zen Cho and I had high hopes for this novella, maybe even for it to become a favorite. While I unfortunately can't claim that it did become a favorite or even be very memorable, I still had a lot of fun while reading it. It's a story that relies a lot on dialogue and banter, and especially the beginning was one of the strongest (and most fun) beginnings I've read in a while. It immediately drew me to the characters and compelled me to keep reading with little to no interruptions. Throughout the novella I never felt like the writing was dragging, in fact I love Zen Cho's writing and find it very unique in a way I can't explain. I also found it fit the story and the world well. As far queerness goes, I think the world Zen Cho created managed to be queernormative in that effortless way that I've come to love over the years of reading queer fantasy. It's also a trans-inclusive story and in fact one of the main characters is a transmasculine, possibly nonbinary, person who uses he/him. I have some mixed feelings about how this was handled, I wouldn't say it was a plot twist because there had been enough signs if you have a trained eye for this sort of things, but I'm certain a lot of readers will have missed it until another character asks him about it. And the way this other character asks, the dialogue kind of does the woman's body thing that I personally don't know how a trans person would feel about while reading.While normalized queerness can be shown in different ways, I feel like normalized non-con kisses isn't the way to go. It was only one kiss, and admittedly it was one I had kind of been hoping for from the beginning (I'm not talking about a kiss between the main pairing), but....not this way. It kind of ruined the ending for me a little because it was so unnecessary and clearly written as something you're supposed to find funny.One element I was excited about was the concept of found family, and I feel like that didn't turn out to be one of the strongest points of this novella. I do think that each character felt unique and 3D right off the bat, like I've already mentioned before, in that way that I think works well in novellas where there's not a lot of time for character development, especially with a big cast, so characters need to feel real from the first line they speak. While this aspect was absolutely well done and the group as a whole felt just as organic as the individual characters, I didn't feel like they could be called a found family. Also I couldn't help but notice that this fell into the there's only one woman in a group of men category of fiction (unless you count Tet Sang as nonbinary, which he himself isn't too clear about), and while it made sense for the world, I also don't feel too positively about it and it certainly didn't help the concept of found family, where I would expect a mix of genders.Overall while I'm not completely satisfied with some smaller elements I did like this and I would consider acquiring a physical copy because of that gorgeous cover and to check if some of the things that left me puzzled were fixed before publication. I also am interested to read more of Zen Cho's writing in the future and I would recommend this novella as a good place to start if you haven't read Cho's other books yet.
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  • Acqua
    January 1, 1970
    Overall I didn't feel strongly about this, but I got emotional about the ending, so I think it's going to be a solid 3.5!The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is a wuxia-inspired fantasy novella following a group of bandits and an ex-anchorite nun after an unexpected fight in a coffeehouse.I want to start with the positives and say that Zen Cho knows how to write effective banter even when there's not much page-time to develop the characters, and really gets the serious-humorous balance Overall I didn't feel strongly about this, but I got emotional about the ending, so I think it's going to be a solid 3.5!The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is a wuxia-inspired fantasy novella following a group of bandits and an ex-anchorite nun after an unexpected fight in a coffeehouse.I want to start with the positives and say that Zen Cho knows how to write effective banter even when there's not much page-time to develop the characters, and really gets the serious-humorous balance right in general as well - this is a very entertaining read. It's also always really nice to read about fantasy worlds where queerness is relatively unremarkable; I want to specifically mention that this is also true for being trans, as many supposedly queer-normative fantasy books don't even try to acknowledge that trans people exist.While this features the "outcast found family" trope, it focuses mostly on three characters:🌘 naive-yet-shrewd ex-anchorite Guet Imm, votary of the Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, whose tokong has been destroyed; she was hilarious and definitely my favorite character.🌘 mysterious Tet Sang, who is hiding far more than any of his friends suspect;🌘 beautiful, charming Lau Fung Cheung, more or less the leader of the group.The other characters were pretty much a blur. Here's the thing: I don't think novellas are the right format for the found family trope. It's already hard enough to pull off in a standalone novel.Another thing that didn't work for me much was the lack of descriptions. Maybe it stood out to me because I just finished another novella, Empress of Salt and Fortune, that put painstaking attention into every detail and made them matter, but here I felt like I didn't know how anything actually looked like.Also, while I really appreciated how normalized queerness was, this book did kind of use a character's transness* as a small twist, which could have been easily avoided - but it didn't end up being the character's Big Secret, which is refreshing.*(view spoiler)[it's complicated, even for the character, how to define himself, but it's clear that he uses he/him and doesn't want to be called "sister" (hide spoiler)]There are also some nods to topics I would have loved to see explored more, like how going through traumatic events like a war can change one's relationship with faith. There are a lot of thing here I would have loved to see more of, characters included, and this definitely has sequel potential, so I'm hopeful.
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  • Ash | Wild Heart Reads
    January 1, 1970
    It starts with a bandit, a wanted poster and an argument in a coffeehouse. Said bandit soon finds an newly out-of-work votary of the Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water sneaking into his camp. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is a found family wuxia fantasy.It's a fun, short book to read. There are shenanigans, banter and great characters. I've read some novellas where, despite being a novella, it still manages to drag. This isn't the case here, Cho keeps it well plotted and t It starts with a bandit, a wanted poster and an argument in a coffeehouse. Said bandit soon finds an newly out-of-work votary of the Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water sneaking into his camp. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is a found family wuxia fantasy.It's a fun, short book to read. There are shenanigans, banter and great characters. I've read some novellas where, despite being a novella, it still manages to drag. This isn't the case here, Cho keeps it well plotted and tight. One of the other elements I really liked the normalised queerness as well.I did find myself wanting more though, particularly from the found family element. Though the plot itself didn't drag, obliviously with novellas you have a lot less time to spend developing elements. In this case I wanted to see more of the found family elements, there were times where it felt like the characters were together out of necessity rather than family.I still really enjoyed The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water. It's a great one if you wanted something that easy to read in a single sitting and a good bit of fun.*I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own*
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  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    CHINESE BANDIT FANTASY, YESSSSS
  • The Captain
    January 1, 1970
    Ahoy there me mateys!  I was interested in this novella as soon as I heard about it.  It was described as a martial arts story involving bandits and a young nun.  I requested an eArc immediately but was denied ::sob::.  Then Matey Tammy @ books,bones,andbuffy was nice enough to send me an extra copy ::cheer!::.This wasn't quite what I was expected based on the description but I did enjoy it nonetheless.  I thought the martial arts aspects were going to be front and center.  Instead it was more a Ahoy there me mateys!  I was interested in this novella as soon as I heard about it.  It was described as a martial arts story involving bandits and a young nun.  I requested an eArc immediately but was denied ::sob::.  Then Matey Tammy @ books,bones,andbuffy was nice enough to send me an extra copy ::cheer!::.This wasn't quite what I was expected based on the description but I did enjoy it nonetheless.  I thought the martial arts aspects were going to be front and center.  Instead it was more about the three main characters and their interpersonal relationships.  This novella is classified as wuxia fantasy.  I didn't know what that meant.  Turns out these fantasies are set in classical Chinese eras with martial arts traditions and a hint of magic.  As I am not familiar with this genre, I can't tell the crew how it compares to other works in this style.I absolutely loved the young nun, Guet Imm, who is both naive and cunning.  She is funny and it was lovely to watch her discomfit and change the group dynamics.  The leader of the group, Lau Fung Cheung, is a bit mysterious and I enjoyed all the silliness around how good looking he is.  But the best character for me was Tet Sang by far.  I enjoyed learning about his background and he was always surprising me.  I particularly adored the ending of this novella.I liked this read well enough but I am not sure why I didn't love it.  The elements seem to be there but I wasn't head over heels about the story.  Maybe this is one of those times where I just needed more details.  The world building is light.  Besides the three main characters, all the others felt interchangeable.  The blend of serious and silly was well done but I am not used to that kind of writing so maybe that was the disconnect?  I am not sure.I have no regrets and certainly enjoyed reading this.  I just don't think that the plot details will linger even if the characters certainly will.  Arrrr!
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  • Lauren James
    January 1, 1970
    [Gifted]A fun, diverse novella about a group of bandits whose group is uprooted by the arrival of a new member, a chaotic and argumentative nun of the Order of the Pure Moon. She pesters the bandits and disturbs their carefully planned heists, and has a lot of fun along the way. Zen's writing is so full of life and humour, and the romance here creeps up on you quietly, then hits you hard. I want a sequel! Tet Sang is a wonderfully dry and interesting protagonist.
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  • Umairah | Sereadipity
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThe Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water was a novella pitched as a found family wuxia fantasy. It was a fun read with a fair bit of humour but it also had the themes of war, religion and identity woven in. Plot: 3.5/5Characters: 4/5Writing: 3/5The book really focused on the found family trope and I really liked the ragtag group of bandits and the strong bonds between them. I loved Tet Sang and Guet Imm so much and the way their relationship developed was perfect in every way. Howe 3.5 starsThe Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water was a novella pitched as a found family wuxia fantasy. It was a fun read with a fair bit of humour but it also had the themes of war, religion and identity woven in. Plot: 3.5/5Characters: 4/5Writing: 3/5The book really focused on the found family trope and I really liked the ragtag group of bandits and the strong bonds between them. I loved Tet Sang and Guet Imm so much and the way their relationship developed was perfect in every way. However, I couldn't connect with any other characters apart from them and I wish the side characters got more 'screen time' too. Although the book is described as wuxia there was definitely less martial arts action and more focus on world building, the dynamics between the characters, their emotions and how they were dealing with past traumas. Personally, I liked that about the novella but if you're looking for an action-packed book this might not be for you.I found the writing style quite hard to follow, some of the phrasing felt off to me and I had to go back and reread bits of it to understand what was happening. However, I really liked the dialogue and banter between the characters- quite a few scenes made me laugh. Even though it was a novella it packed in a lot of world building but in an interesting way that gradually revealed more about the world, the war, the customs and the religious beliefs. I would definitely recommend this book as it's a short, fun but also meaningful read however I do wish some aspects of characterization and plot had a bit more depth. Thank you to Tor.com for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Jules ✨
    January 1, 1970
    this book has it all: queer, found family, genderfluid characters, chinese rep, character-driven story! i have feelings.
  • Comfort Reads
    January 1, 1970
    Not for me I’m afraid!
  • Aimal (Bookshelves & Paperbacks)
    January 1, 1970
    i’d like to bring your attention TO THIS COVER. LOOK AT IT. LOOOOOOK AT IT.
  • ikram
    January 1, 1970
    full review can be found on my blog!A nun joined a group of outlaws. A novella that revolves around identity and spirituality. A story that draws inspiration from Wuxia China and Malay culture. Found family with a lot of bickering and caring at the same time. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water in conclusion is everything I need and I’m not surprised when I like this book very much. At first, I thought this would be an action-packed novella since it’s inspired by Wuxia fantasy, but I w full review can be found on my blog!A nun joined a group of outlaws. A novella that revolves around identity and spirituality. A story that draws inspiration from Wuxia China and Malay culture. Found family with a lot of bickering and caring at the same time. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water in conclusion is everything I need and I’m not surprised when I like this book very much. At first, I thought this would be an action-packed novella since it’s inspired by Wuxia fantasy, but I was wrong! Of course there are few fight scenes in the book, but the main theme of the book is about identity and spirituality. The main characters; Guet Imm, Tet Sang, and Lau Fung Cheung embark on a journey where they have themselves and accept who they are. Guet Imm is the nun to the Order of the Pure Moon while Tet Sang and Lau Fung Cheung are outlaws who sell illegal things to keep going. Not only do they have to accept themselves, but the group has to learn how to accept and understand one another. Guet Imm has to understand that the group is morally ambiguous and may not believe in heavenly power anymore, and the group needs to accept Guet Imm’s religious way on a day-to-day basis. They need to work on their differences and learn how to trust one another, thus creating such memorable dynamics. Guet Imm’s and Tet Sang’s destiny seemed intertwined with each other and that made them come to terms with secrecy and one’s identity. They bicker with each other, often pushing the other to edge, but most of the time they have each other’s back. I really love Guet Imm’s and Tet Sang’s dynamics, they’re like siblings who were separated for a long time. I also love the fact that Zen Cho managed to be queernormative effortlessly. We have gay main character and nonbinary character. The talk about gender fluidity, although was only mentioned briefly, was done in such a pleasing and comforting way. The way things were normalized in this book leaves me feeling peaceful and happy. There were so many subtleties here and there if you look closely, so it doesn’t really feel like ‘a plot twist’ when the conversation happened. As for the cultural aspect and world building, it is deeply influenced by Chinese and Malay culture. I can see a few Wuxia aspects Zen Cho included in the book, as well as many Malay cultural references that make my heart burst into million butterflies. It’s always a pleasing experience to see a character wield a traditional weapon from your hometown or having the towns named in Bahasa Melayu. Little things like these make me happy and I’m looking to read more books from Zen Cho! Overall, I’m recommending this book for people who are looking for high fantasy novella! This book is worth reading!-----Initial thought (14 June 2020): A Chinese and Malay inspired world building with nonbinary mc + gay side character and a lot of Malaysia culture reference here and there.
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  • Kate (Reading Through Infinity)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsI LOVED THIS SO MUCH.It’s a brilliant wuxia-inspired historical fantasy about a nun that joins a group of bandits. Not only is it an action/adventure novella with tension-building chase scenes and a con-gone-wrong, but it's also about sexuality, identity, and the pursuit of happiness. The main characters are trying to find their place in the world and come to terms with their histories and past wrongs. It’s funny, witty, and wonderfully diverse. There are queer characters, poc character 4.5 starsI LOVED THIS SO MUCH.It’s a brilliant wuxia-inspired historical fantasy about a nun that joins a group of bandits. Not only is it an action/adventure novella with tension-building chase scenes and a con-gone-wrong, but it's also about sexuality, identity, and the pursuit of happiness. The main characters are trying to find their place in the world and come to terms with their histories and past wrongs. It’s funny, witty, and wonderfully diverse. There are queer characters, poc characters, and a trans character that make up the main cast. It releases in June 2020 and I cannot recommend it enough. I had a fantastic time reading it and would happily read another 500 pages of these characters and their shenanigans. CWs: Violence, misgendering, period-type sexism.
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  • Annemieke / A Dance with Books
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Tor and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway. If you are a frequent visitor of this blog than you will know that I think very highly of Zen Cho. I absolutely fell in love with Sorcerer to the Crown and there is absolutely no way that I will ever pass up the opportunity to read one of her books or stories. So be the case with The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water.While the start of this book and the synopsi Thank you to Tor and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway. If you are a frequent visitor of this blog than you will know that I think very highly of Zen Cho. I absolutely fell in love with Sorcerer to the Crown and there is absolutely no way that I will ever pass up the opportunity to read one of her books or stories. So be the case with The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water.While the start of this book and the synopsis might indicate a book that focuses on bandit fantasy, the title is more true to the essence of the book. It is about ones identity and place in the world. Seeing your own self reflected back at you, even if it is really hard to be confronted of that. There is also a sense of family throughout the story. A bit of a distorted family with this band of bandits. But there is an essence there about loyalty and finding your place. It is a very powerful story all together that I hesitate to tell you too much about it. Because this is something you have to experience for yourself.Zen Cho knows how to tell a story with twists and turns and things you might not have expected. As this is a true wuxia fantasy and you are still seeking why to read this novella, I implore you to seek out some own voices reviews. While I can shout to you amount Zen Cho to the moon and back I think to make up your mind own voices reviews are very important.
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  • Bárbara Morais
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Edelweiss and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.English VersionThis book is amazing!!!It's a perfect blend of everything I love: action, funny banter, strange religious orders, beautiful bandits, ROMANCE!!, with the beautiful plus of being undeniably queer.I'm watching The Untamed now and everything I love the most about the story can be found here. I think people who are not used to wuxia stories may find the story a little bit confusing in t Thank you to Edelweiss and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.English VersionThis book is amazing!!!It's a perfect blend of everything I love: action, funny banter, strange religious orders, beautiful bandits, ROMANCE!!, with the beautiful plus of being undeniably queer.I'm watching The Untamed now and everything I love the most about the story can be found here. I think people who are not used to wuxia stories may find the story a little bit confusing in the beginning, as there's a lot to follow and things can happen pretty quickly, but as soon as you get used to it, it's endless fun.The less you know about this story before reading, the better. It's a really quick and fun read.Em PortuguêsEsse livro é INCRÍVEL!Se você quer alguma coisa divertida, com ação, rápida de ler e GAY, é uma ótima alternativa. É isto.
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  • ༚༅༚˳hiba˳༚༅༚
    January 1, 1970
    Rep: Malaysian and Chinese-inspired world + characters, nonbinary/genderfluid main character, gay side character (no labels used in the story).It's official, I have a MAJOR thing for epic high fantasy novellas!A nun joins a band of thieves and tries to make her way in an unfamiliar, war-torn world after spending years in spiritual seclusion. But things are far more complicated than they seem...I think one of the reasons I loved this so much is because I went in with hardly any expectations. Whic Rep: Malaysian and Chinese-inspired world + characters, nonbinary/genderfluid main character, gay side character (no labels used in the story).It's official, I have a MAJOR thing for epic high fantasy novellas!A nun joins a band of thieves and tries to make her way in an unfamiliar, war-torn world after spending years in spiritual seclusion. But things are far more complicated than they seem...I think one of the reasons I loved this so much is because I went in with hardly any expectations. Which turned out to be a good thing since the blurb can be a bit misleading. While this story does have elements of wuxia fantasy and the characters do know martial arts....that's far from the main focus of the story; it's actually barely in the periphery. So yeah, no dramatic high-stakes fight scenes. But don't let that deter you from this fantastically unique little book! My highlights:🌙 A Malaysian-inspired setting mixed with Chinese fantasy isn't something I knew I needed until I read it. The worldbuilding was so so good, I'd like a full-length novel please. 🌙 The banter between Guet Imm and Tet Sang was hilarious! I adored their old married couple dynamic and the way they revealed themselves to each other with each interaction. 🌙 That conversation on gender was such a welcome surprise. 🌙 I really liked the writing style too; absolutely breezed through the story. The only niggle I have is that I wasn't really feeling the found family aspect here. I wish the author had pushed that a little more. Highly recommended!
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  • Justine
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic! Will review closer to the pub date, but I really loved this one.
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