The Order Of The Pure Moon Reflected In Water by Zen Cho

The first time I heard about this book, was in several book vlogs on YouTube. The cover was phenomenal and the premise seemed promising. I knew this was a novella before I downloaded it on my kindle. And that’s the thing – you always expect novellas to pack a punch as they have to make an impact in about 1/3 or 1/4 th of the time that an average novel does.

The Order Of The Pure Moon Reflected In Water is subtle. I do not think it was a bad book, just that it did not meet my expectations especially after the hype that was built around it. This is a wuxia fantasy set in medieval (I think?) China and has fantastical elements to it.

A nun works at a coffee house after her temple is destroyed. A bandit walks into the coffee house and a brawl ensues. The nun joins the bandit and his gang. There’s some resistance from the group of men, but they eventually accept her as part of the group. This in itself seems like a very unusual premise, however, the book does not deliver at all.

There’s some banter, characters that are sketched enough in detail so you’re invested in them. But I found so much missing. The book in its entirety is a simply-written account of happenings from daily lives of speculative fictional characters. The slice-of-life is not exactly a genre of my liking, and I wish I could have known this beforehand.

The good thing about the book is that it’s fact paced, witty on occasion and has a fantabulous LGBTQ rep. I was impressed by the latter the most on how normal and safe it seemed for the characters to be comfortable in their own skin and accept themselves and others with love. There’s hints of spiritual advise too in there.

Do I regret reading this book? No. Would I want to explore similar books? No. Explore more by the author? Maybe.

I would recommend this to anyone wanting to introduce themselves to the Chinese-Malay wuxia genre. And perhaps to those looking for a light, mindless read on a sleepless afternoon.

Rating: 2/5

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