Cover Image: The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water

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Member Reviews

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is a novella that reflects the found family trope in a wuxia-inspired fantasy plot by bringing together a group of bandits and a nun while they journey through a war-torn world that isn't just about violence but also about it. Not only does it raise the tension and complexity of striking underground deals or saving themselves from the law and blunders but also the revelations packed in conversations around identity, spirituality, and purpose.

With a diverse set of POC and queer characters, and a Malaysian-Chinese inspired world, it's a story that holds mysteries stemming from morally grey personalities yet more clarity in terms of respect for gender-queer identities and religious notions. The witty banter and humorous dialogues enhance the reading experience even if the action promised is not fully delivered. For all those who love quick diverse reads that clubs together excellent topics of discussion with an interesting plot, this one is for you.

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The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water is a Malaysian-based fantasy with a semi-wuxia flavour that was an absolutely delightful slice of home.

When I first discovered that Zen Cho is a London-based Malaysian Chinese author, I was keen to read to her work. I’ve since read and enjoyed Sorceror to the Crown, a Regency-era fantasy of manners, and noticed that she has incorporated some elements of her home country. Not a lot but enough to make me appreciate an author that remains proud of her roots regardless of where she is.

When I saw the cover of The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, I actually expected something more East Asian as it has a clear wuxia influence. Imagine my surprise when I realised even from the very first chapter how very Malaysian the setting was. Aside from the setting of a kopitiam – a Straits Chinese-styled coffeeshop – in the first scene, with all the beverage ads on the walls (umbra juice and soya bean drink existing side-by-side was a dead giveaway), the dialogue was Malaysian through and through. After a couple of chapters, the notion started to form that this story was set during the days of the guerilla warfare which started in pre-Independence Malaya. Sure enough, I checked Cho’s blog which stated that the novella is “a tale of nuns and bandits whose setting draws on both the semi-mythic China of wuxia and the Malaya of the Emergency.” A historical note here, Singapore was still part of Malaya at that time.

Throughout my entire time reading the novella, I couldn’t hold on to my glee at the Malaysian-ness seeping through some of the words used and the dialogue – some notable inflections include “Aiyah” and “Where got?” and terms like “Close one eye” and “I know you won’t do me like that, brother!” – as well as some recognisable locations like Sg Tombak (with a name change), Permatang Timbul and Kempas. I laughed so hard in one scene when a mata, i.e. policeman, groaned out a very vulgar curse while trying to apprehend the main characters. Even the manner of address for family or very close friends (Ah Sang for Tet Sang, Ah Lau for Lau Fung Cheong) is the Malaysian way. The names of the other bandits in Fung Cheong’s group – Ah Hin, Ah Boon, Ah Yee and Ah Wing – are forms of affectionate address comprising one part of their name which could either come from a surname or first name. In this same respect, only my family members ever called me Ah Sim.

The wuxia influence comes through the mythological and philosophical aspects of the Order of the Pure Moon and the worship of its deity. There was also a reference to Nezha, the boy god from Chinese mythology. Those coming into this novella expecting wuxia martial arts action will be disappointed as there was not much of it. There were a few cool scenes nonetheless which made this more fantasy than historical fiction.

This was a tale of found family and holding on to one’s identity in spite of change, told mainly through the perspective of Tet Sang – a bandit in Lau Fung Cheong’s group who appears to have something to hide about his past. I would even venture to say that that there wasn’t much of a plot except to relate how the addition of Guet Imm, a votary of the Order of Pure Moon, into Fung Cheong’s group caused an upheaval that no one expected – least of all, for both Guet Imm and Tet Sang. In short, this is a character-driven story but one that moves along at a good clip and peppered with really funny dialogue and banter between the bandits and a nun.

The ending felt a bit abrupt although fitting for the tale to be told for now. In any case, I found that given the format, very few novellas wrap things up as neatly as a full-length novel could. But for what’s it worth, I was entertained and enjoyed reading this delightfully Malaysian novella. I could be biased. No, scrap that, I am biased being such a deprived own-voices reader in the fantasy genre. So I would really recommend that readers looking for diversity and understanding other cultures give this novella a shot. Look, it’s less than 200 pages after all. And if you come across a word you don’t understand, just Google it – it exists in the context of this little country in the South East Asian region of the world.

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This was a fun, quick read that I only wish I'd have had more of - I started to really enjoy the plot and characters as the book was wrapping up. Some favorite parts were the depth of world-building the author went into for such a short novella, the queer representation, and how much it reminded me of some of my favorite wuxia films, even though there wasn't a huge amount of action. How the author explores the effects of war and the devotion to religion during conversations between characters are both fascinating points, and left me pondering how each tie together in war times - not to mention the themes of identity and how it affects how one lives but also how one views the world they live in. Fingers crossed Cho picks up where the novella ends some day - I'd love to hear more of Guet Imm and Tet Sang's journey.

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2.5/5 stars

When a bandit walks into a coffeehouse, a series of events unfold which sees Guet Imm, a votary of The Order of the Pure Moon, joining a group of bandits. What follows from there is a gruelling journey to survive in a war-torn nation.

This story held a lot of promise, however, in the end, I ended up disappointed with the direction the story took. Firstly, the writing had an old-school, monastic tone that I was fully expecting. While I knew that religion would be featured in some way, I did not expect the writing to take that kind of tone. All I'm saying is that there were a fair to many "sister," "brother," and vague explanation of the religion for me to properly appreciate nor understand the overall world-building. It was a shame that the world-building was not as fleshed out as I would have preferred to truly suck me into the story.

In terms of characters, there are some queer characters featured in the story and some discussions on gender identity, but overall the characters fell flat for me and I didn't really have much emotion or attachment to them. While I like the Guet Imm was not some damsel in distress and the author's attempt to make her this badass fighting nun, she still felt like an archetype of the manic pixie dream girl stereotype, and I would have greatly preferred more than one layer to her character. The most interesting character would have to be Tet Sang, but even he was not as fleshed out as I would have liked. His character arc was all over the place with the drastic shifts in his character and I felt that his background could have been given more thought as opposed to the scenes where the group is setting up camp for the night. The other characters didn't have very much definition to them and were overall forgettable.

Overall, the story was meh. I was hoping for that Asian martial arts fantasy with some magic that I gleaned from the synopsis, but alas, that was definitely not the case. Let's just say that the title promised way more than what I got from the story.

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In The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, Zen Cho explores issues of faith, honor, history (and who gets to preserve it), and identity through the lens of a classic magic-infused martial arts genre amid a back-drop of war.

The band of “contractors” (they don’t consider themselves “bandits” regardless of the wanted posters featuring their likenesses) at the center of this novella are a ragtag group who just want to survive the ravages of the long war surrounding them. Like many displaced by war, they are simply doing what they can to support themselves and the loved ones they’ve been forced to leave behind. They are together more by happenstance than any commonality: they come from different walks of life, different ethnic backgrounds. They are the very definition of “found family” at the heart of much of queer literature, and even though we don’t get to know most of them very well (outside of the book’s lead characters and a couple of supporting roles), their support of each other is evident on almost every page.

Speaking of queerness: it abounds throughout, giving us gay, lesbian, transgender and non-binary characters in lead and supporting roles. Their queerness is accepted and open for the most part. In the first scene, a male customer pinches the ass of a male waiter – and the only problem two of the leads have with it is that it’s an unwanted invasion of personal space that needs to be called out. From there, mentions of who the characters may or may not be attracted to are sprinkled in with no extra emphasis on the type of attraction. This is not anyone’s coming out story (although there is a coming out moment between two of the characters that is sweet and clumsy and just right). But again: we’re watching a queer found family in troubled times.

The war itself is largely off-screen: it’s part of the world-building, part of understanding how displaced Lau Fung Cheung’s group is as well as how sheltered Guet Imm was before leaving her tokong. Her faith, at odds as it is with the others in the band (notably Ah Boon’s lack of faith, Ah Hin’s yearning for something to believe in, and Tet Sang’s dispassionate knowledge of Guet Imm’s faith), gives her strength but has also put her at a disadvantage because of her seclusion. This leads to several awkward situations as Guet Imm misunderstands how the world works now and Tet Sang has to find ways to correct the problems caused. There is a great dynamic between the nun and the bandit, subtly developed as they get to know each other better, and as both characters’ pasts are revealed. At the heart of the action and the conflict between Guet Imm and Tet Sang is the acquisition and disposition of relics from the tokongs (temples/monasteries) of the Pure Moon, another indicator of how the ongoing war has ravaged this country. Both sides of the conflict have destroyed tokongs for their own reasons, choosing also to either destroy or appropriate holy relics (something we know has happened consistently throughout our own history both by colonizing forces and by religious groups). The question is: what does Lau Fung’s group intend to do with the relics in their possession? Are their intentions honorable? And can Guet Imm stay true to her vows while traveling with the bandits? (One of my favorite scenes early on involves a discussion of those vows and how they might affect “intimate relations” between Guet Imm and any of the men. I won’t ruin it further by trying to summarize it.)

The war may be back-drop, but that doesn’t mean the novella is free of physical combat. The book starts with a fight scene in a coffee-house that is wonderfully described and captured all of the giddiness of the fight scenes I loved in Shaw Brothers movies played on my local New York City television stations on weekend afternoons (long before I learned the term “wuxia” or that the genre has a long literary history). And there are fight scenes later in the story – but they’re almost all one-on-one or small groups, as befits the genre. And they all result in character development or revelation in addition to being fun to read.

And there’s another thing I loved about this novella: the humor. Despite the war-time setting and the fact that the main characters are living “on the run,” there is a light-hearted tone to the narrative and tons of good-natured teasing between the characters. Zen Cho clearly had fun playing all of these characters off of each other. There’s also wonderful interplay between the main characters and people they encounter who are less inclined to humor and more inclined to be judgmental. The more officious and “high ranking” the person encountered, the more obsequiously sarcastic the main characters get. There are points where the main characters are clearly treading just up to the line of disrespect that would result in bigger problems, and every scene in which it happens is so much fun to read.

I have no idea if Zen Cho plans to return to this world in future novellas. There’s certainly room for more adventures of this band. But if not, I’m happy with where the characters are left, and happy to have spent the time with them that Cho gave us.

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The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water starts with a beautiful man, bandits, and a nun. Zen Cho takes Chinese traditions and culture and seamlessly threads suspicions of magic in what the nuns see as mindful practices. In a land surrounded by war, a group of men are forced into a life of banditry in order to help their families. A hilarious and irreverent nun joins them on a journey to a seller. The journey unfolds from there.

As much as I loved the comedic tone, the beautiful prose, and the dynamic relationships, this book failed to keep my interest. My main issue is the lack of drive going on in this short story. It sort of just feels like you’re tagging along with characters without really understanding the bigger picture. The endgoal of the group was not enough to make me satisfied that I got an interesting story. I don’t alway need a plot. I love character driven stories but I have to ask what is the actual drive here? Other than a nun tagging along with a group and maybe some characters showing sides to themselves we hadn’t seen before? If that’s the case then call me disappointed.

There is complexity in the one character I’m most interested in: Tet Sang. He has layers upon layers that the author subtly shows in small comments and ways of behaving. What I am uncomfortable with is the idea that normalizing trans identities seems to be in confusion with revealing his transmasculine identity. If this was about normalizing his identity why is it intentionally hidden? To protect his identity? Trans people in our own world face a lot of violence from our own transphobic society but I never get the sense that Zen Cho wanted to create a anti-trans or even anti-queer world. Feung Cheung’s own bisexual identity is explicit but Tet Sang’s identity isn’t. Even as we get from him that he hasn’t really ever seen himself as a woman in a long time, if ever. He even asks characters that discover that he isn’t cis to use he/him pronouns. As far as this aspect of the book, I just question how his identity is revealed. I’m skeptical of the fact that this isn’t queerness as a reveal.

The writing is exquisite, the characters are multi-faceted but the book handles normalizing queerness questionably and lacks a drive and complex story to keep my interest all the way through.

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3.5 stars

This 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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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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I have read and loved Zen Cho's magical works before and this one was absolutely delightful. It tells the story of Guet Imm, a former anchorite who finds herself embroiled with a group of bandits trying to make a deal. What I loved the most about this novella was the tone. It was so funny, unexpectedly so, and I read it with a smile on my face throughout. This is not to say that it doesn't deal with important and serious topics, because it definitely does, but there is definitely a rich vein of humour running through the narrative, which I really appreciated. I loved the relationship between Guet Imm and Tet Sang. Their interactions were so authentic and completely believable and I loved the way they each brought both the best and the worst out of each other. I also enjoyed the bandit group, which had a lot of strong personalities in it. There are some fascinating cultural elements at play here that permeate the narrative in a completely organic fashion and Cho never feels the need to over-explain or pander to those for whom these elements are not their own, which I thought was fantastic. My only criticism is that I did find the plot a little bit meandering on occasion, but for me, the joy of this book was definitely the characters. Overall, I really enjoyed this one and I will continue to pick up Zen Cho's books as I feel I am in very safe hands with her.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this ‘found-family’ fantasy set in a war-torn country, where people are caught between the tyrannical Protectorate à la Western imperialism and Reformists as well as varying degrees of bandits (i.e. some morally ambiguous to really bad guys). Guet Imm is a nun from the Order of the Pure Moon Reflected on Water turned coffeehouse waitress at the start of the novella. Lau Fung Cheung, the leaders of a group of bandits, ‘rescues’ her from harassment by customer. Following this event, Guet Imm convinces the bandits to let her join them and a journey and mischief ensue. The bulk of the story is from Tet Sang’s perspective. As, Lau Fung Cheung’s second in command, Tet Sang holds sway over the group however, he is often solitary with a mysterious past.

What I like most about this novella was the focus on relationships between the characters, the tension between faith and necessity – particularly in times of war – and what is ‘right’. I think this is where the book really shines. Some readers might be expecting more martial arts and fight scenes, which could lead to disappointment, however if you’re looking for complex interesting characters and relationships then this is the book for you!

On the surface, this may appear to be a ‘grim’ fantasy with topics like oppression, destruction of temples and cultural artifacts, and loss of faith. Yet, Cho deftly weaves in humor and heart throughout the story. Moreover, there isn’t a ‘chosen one’ here or other epic fantasy tropes, rather it’s a story of one group of people -focusing on Tet Sang and Guet Imm – and how they navigate their world. I really appreciate this change of pace! While I love a good ‘chosen one’ hero arc it can get tiresome. So this tight focus is fabulous.

Highly recommend!

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AMAZING. This is the fantasy we need more of — diverse, exciting, original plot, vivid setting, equal parts lovable and loathable characters. So dang good,

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Much like others, I was immediately drawn to The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water because of the gorgeous cover. It’s stunning and bold. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even remember the description, but felt that I couldn’t go wrong.
So, I don’t believe I’ve ever read a Wuxia story before. Wuxia is defined as a genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists in ancient China—wuxia literally meaning “martial heroes.” Anyway, I was intrigued by the story. There was a surprising LGBT+ representation, which was presented wonderfully. Oftentimes authors will haphazardly throw in LGBT+ characters without it actually being meaningful. In other words, they are there for the sake of diversity, but they add no other value to the story. Zen Cho presents their character rather cleverly.
My only concern is that there were so many terms that I didn’t know—and it would have been nice to have a glossary or some kind of reference point. Additionally, it was so short. I would have loved it to be longer, and I really hope that this isn’t the end! It wasn’t finished! I’m not finished yet!
I’m really hoping for a sequel. I need to see this out!

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This is a fun novella. It's about a group of people coming together to mutually respect each other and try to achieve a common goal.

I loved the way the characters interacted with each other and the immersive world the author built. Although, perhaps, not chock full of action as some may have been wanting, the book makes up for the more quieter moments that allow the characters to shine.

The cover is fantastic and if you wanted something short to dig into, this story is perfect.

eArc provided by NetGalley.

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Okay.. I really don’t know what to say about this book..
I really enjoyed the writing, it read really easily and when I picked it up I flew through a chapter! But for some reason I kept not wanting to pick up this novella. I think for me not enough was happening!
Guet Imm was a very interesting character! I really liked her view of the world, and how she was willing to try out everything, and most importantly she knows what she stands for! There was also a side character, Tet Yang (I think his name was), who I really liked. But for all the other characters, I was way too confused to know if I liked them. There were quite a lot of members in their little band, and the novella was too short for me to distinguish them all. Besides they didn’t always use the same names, so I kept being very confused about who was who!
I feel like there was so much happening in this world, which I would have loved to learn more about, but the story was just too short. I wouldn’t have minded if the book was longer!
I just feel very mediocre about this one. Since I did really enjoy the writing I do want to look into the authors other work!

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A bandit walks into a coffee shop and it goes about as well as you expect. This novella is a fun ride with a large cast that shares equal page space. Stakes are high as they are trying to deliver relics on contract in a shifting world.

This novel is much quieter than its boisterous beginning implies. There is a lot of fun banter between the nun from the titular order and the unsavory characters that are the bandits. Cho deftly weaves together worldbuilding in a dense package. Each character has their own stakes and tensions, plus moments of evolution and self-discovery. A feat, given that this novella is under 200 pages.

The world and its relationship to and understanding of magic weaves expertly from page to page. What I also admired is the normality of queerness. Though there is an organized religion, we do get moments when the gendered aspects of it are deconstructed and rebuilt into something into something refreshingly inclusive.

A wuxia fantasy novella which blends together tight world-building, fun dialogue, and found family.

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3.5 stars

Zen 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.

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The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected on Water is a Wuxia inspired story about a nun who joins a band of bandits on an adventure, and yes, it’s just as fun as it sounds.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Wuxia is a Chinese genre centered in martial arts. Now, this novella is not Wuxia precisely. The author herself describes it as “wuxia but not really, more a fanfic of wuxia”.

The Order has been marketed as having the vibrancy of old school martial arts movies so it’s understandable that a lot of people go into this thinking it’s action packed, but they’d be wrong. This novella is more about feelings than martial arts, though there’s action too of course. But it’s all about the characters.

We have a bunch of outlaws trying to survive in the middle of a war which gives this story such an interesting perspective. Put a bunch of assholes together who 1) are morally ambiguous and 2) view each other as family and you got me hooked.

I just had the best of times. It’s a highly entertaining novella with a heartwarming found family and immersive worldbuilding, and honestly what else do you want?

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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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This is a fun fast read from Zen Cho, which simultaneously satiated me, filling the void left upon finishing her last full-length novel, and whetted my appetite for more. It's not as excited as I expected, upon hearing it was a queer wuxia story, but it's still an entertaining read to dip into, with a great "found family" aspect to it.

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"Zen Cho returns with The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, 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."

I am so excited for this book I have literally had it preordered since before there was cover art!

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