The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water
by Zen Cho
ebook, 176 pages
Published June 23rd 2020 by Tor.com Publishing
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.
This short novella packs quite a punch in terms of fun and characters, I unexpectedly fall in love with it!
Order of the Pure Moon a has one of the most fun and intriguing opening of all time, where a bandit walks into a coffeehouse and shenanigans (which, for the record, not initiated by him) follows. The bandit group has to hide from the government and yet Guet Imm still able to find them and insist on joining them. Despite their bewilderment and hilarious deliberation, she was welcomed into their fold and join them in their quest of protecting the sacred object.
What happens next was a fast-paced story of travelling, found family, and non-stop action. Due to their hiding, most of the story set in the jungle but they do travel a lot so there were scenery changes, especially when they had to enter small towns or telling stories about their life before being a bandit. It was a short novella, and yet Zen Cho manages to develop all the characters really well. From the bandit leader Fung Cheung that immediately reminds me of Stephen Chow with his antics, the quiet and more reserved Tet Sang, to the mysterious happy go lucky Guet Imm. The rest of the bandits were also got their time to shine- from their early apprehension to their willingness in talking, learning, and cooking with Guet Imm. The aspect of found family was really strong in this one, especially in their moments of banter and strife which show how much they chose to be with each other despite the hardships.
While the synopsis exclusively mentions Guet Imm, I personally feel like the main character of this story was Tet Sang. Don’t get me wrong, I love Guet Imm with her naivette, shrewdness, and sarcasm. But the story was told through Tet Sang’s eyes and I was intrigued by his quiet and reserved nature.
I don’t think there’s much to say about this story without spoiling it, but I did not expect to love it as much as I did. The humor, the world building, and the character development are just perfect. The ending was sudden and left me wanting for more, but overall it was a perfect quick read!