This is a companion book to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and is very similar to the previous book in terms of retold tales and storytelling as a conceit within the book. I don't remember Where the Mountain Meets the Moon well enough to figure out if there are any direct connections, although given the retold stories, I wouldn't be surprised if there were mythological figures in common.
Rendi is running away from home, and he ends up working at an inn in the Village of Clear Sky. There are several interesting guests whose true identities are slowly revealed, local grudges, and the mystery of why the moon has disappeared from the sky.
I was less interested in this in the beginning compared to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, probably because I wasn't as sympathetic to Rendi, but I was still charmed as all the story threads started to merge and fold in on each other. I guessed most of the twists well beforehand, partly due to the book being aimed at a much younger audience and partly due to being familiar with the mythologies in question. As with the previous book, I'd love some sort of DVD-style commentary on specific changes Lin made to various stories; I caught a few, but probably nowhere near all of them.
I was a little annoyed that the message of the story to Rendi seemed to be "Go home and forgive your father;" I feel that may generally be a good message, but Rendi's father came off as a horrible human being, and I don't really think Rendi should feel obligated to forgive him or to go on thinking that his father's terrible behavior is excusable because it is ostensibly out of love.
As previously mentioned, I wish I had the physical book for this; the ebook has all the illustrations, but Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was so gorgeous that I would like this one for my shelves as well.
I am also tempted to reread Where the Mountain Meets the Moon to see how that book's mountain and moon mystery compares to this one.
And as a minor note, once I realized one character's identity, I wondered if it should be obvious to the people in the book due to his name (as opposed to the reader, who can't see the hanzi used). I will handwave and say that he used a character that sounds the same but is written differently.
Anyway, this is charming and relaxing.
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