Sunday, January 8, 2017

Bedtime Stories: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

I am for the most part a reader of adult oriented books but they rarely center around genuine warmth and kindness and if they do they frequently veer into the territory of smarmy and saccharine. Which is why it is sometimes necessary to delve into the younger reader ocean of books to find warmth and kindness and while they can be just as smarmy and saccharine for younger readers, there is still a larger talent pool of writers to be found in the younger reader arena that can convey warmth and kindness (frequently far better than most author who write for adult readers). Grace Lin's Where the Mountain Meets the Moon made for an excellent first read* of the year because it has warmth and kindness in abundance. I forgot to mention it also has one of the sweetest dragons. 

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a lovely series of re-told Chinese fairy tales wrapped in the quest of a young girl who seeks to help her family. The young girl, Min Lee, is kind, bright, and pro-active. Lin has created a character who is curious, full of empathy, and the desire for adventure. It was refreshing to have a quest tale where the young female character is pro-active and eventually respected for it. What made me really enjoy Lin's characters is that she allowed all of them to grow.  An example of character grow is Min Lee's family, who at the very beginning are shown to be on the very protective side, but they are allowed to grow and think, and eventually come to respect Min Lee's choice. In fact they are allowed to go outside the genre of "dumb parents" and be whole and thoughtful. This is a short book but Lin is able to expertly convey human nuance and depth in her characters that makes what could be a simplistic book actually one of greater depth.
Paige Gemmel from Society Social

Next I must mention the beautiful and lovely language that elevates Where the Mountain Meets the Moon to book full of magical imagery. Lin has an exquisite precision in her writing in that she is able to capture the simplicity of fairy tale language and but also able to convey clear and vibrant imagery. A reader can easily imagine the sweetness of the peaches, the beauty of lively round happy children, or a kind and confused dragon who wishes he could fly.

Crystal Liu from My Modern Met

My reading experience was enjoyed through the audio book format for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and the one thing missing from that experience is the wonderful illustrations that Lin also did for the book (Yes, she is that seriously talented).

Reason to pick up this book: If you are looking for sweet and magical tales.

Books and Films of Similar Taster for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairy Land in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Kubo and the Two Strings
Spirited Away

*Should the names seem incorrectly written it is because so much of my reading these days is audio books for my rather short but long commute. 

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