Wednesday, 18 March 2020

#bookreview: The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water | Zen Cho

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in WaterThe Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some of the most difficult reviews to write are the ones that you love so much for undefinable reasons. Do I say I like The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water (Pure Moon for short) because of the way it's written? Do I say it's AMAZING because, on the very first page, I paused and thought it really sounded like the corner coffee shop? Do I count the times I chuckled because those situations and responses are legit what (and how) the aunty or uncle down the road would say?
"You hexed a customer?" he roared. He smacked her on the side of the head.
"I didn't say that, Mr Aw," protested the waitress, rubbing her head. "I just said I didn't deny only."
It's really not what I expected to find in a Tor book. Even though it's rather par for the course with Zen Cho's other (Malaysian-published) work. But better. Much better. I was looking at texts to use to illustrate using Malaysian English in writing, and I have to say, this is it. THIS is pretty much it. I spent a lot of time reading the text (especially the dialogue) in my head with the intonation of a Cinapek-uncle-next-door, if you get what I mean. But it's not that foreign that you can't read it in a normal quasi-British tone. Though, where's the fun in that?

Pure Moon's world seems to be a rather thinly veiled pre-independence Malaysia: the Reformists/bandits (Communists) and the Protectorate (the British) banding against Yamatese (Japanese) occupation, only for the Reformists to be outlawed again once the war was won.

What's the novella about? Well, a nun joins a group of bandits, hilarity ensues.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tor via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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