After watching this review, I was just curious enough about “The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water” by Zen Cho that I decided to read it myself. So what did *I* think?
What Is This Novella About?
In Malaysia, there is a group of Tang (i.e. Chinese-Malaysian) ‘bandits’ running around, trying to survive as the authoritarian government oppresses Tang people. After they rescue a nun at a coffeeshop from sexual harassment, the nun insists on joining them as they travel to deliver their, um, “black market rice”.
Can you be more helpful in telling me what the Novella is about?
Okay. When I wrote this book review, I used Libbie Hawker’s formula for writing book blurbs (which I think is helpful for writing spoiler-free summaries in book reviews, not just selling books).
That formula (with answers for “The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water” is) :
Who is the main character? Tet Sang
What do they want? To stay alive and to stay with the group of bandits. Except, near the end (as in, within the last 10% of the novella) it turns out that Tet Sang wants something different that came out of the blue for me.
What or who stands in their way? The bandits are wanted men and the Protectorate’s people are hunting them.
What will they do, or what must they do, in order to get what they want? Safely deliver the goods and get paid.
What is at stake if they fail? They get captured or not paid enough money to survive as a group.
That does not sound like such a bad story.
It doesn’t, but I think Libbie Hawker’s formula tends to flatter stories (probably because it’s supposed to sell books). One of the problems is that it’s not actually that hard for the bandits to evade the Protectorate’s people. Even when their plan falls apart, somebody gives them good advice, and all they have to do to get the money they need and avoid capture is to follow the advice.
Is following the advice hard?
No, following the advice is totally doable. Continue reading