I genuinely can’t praise this book enough.
Name: She Who Became The Sun
Author: Shelley Parker-Chan
Released: May 2021
She’ll change the world to survive her fate . . .
In Mongol-occupied imperial China, a peasant girl refuses her fate of an early death. Stealing her dead brother’s identity to survive, she rises from monk to soldier, then to rebel commander. Zhu’s pursuing the destiny her brother somehow failed to attain: greatness. But all the while, she feels Heaven is watching.
Can anyone fool Heaven indefinitely, escaping what’s written in the stars? Or can Zhu claim her own future, burn all the rules and rise as high as she can dream?
I’d had She Who Became The Sun on preorder for months ever since I saw a description for a queer historical drama set in Imperial China – what more could you want! Let’s just say that it was worth the wait. The cover may have also been a big factor in my ordering (we’ve all been there). Still, LOOK AT THAT COVER! Can you blame me? I own the UK one above but the US cover is equally gorgeous. Which one do you prefer? Let me know in the comments!
The whole book is unparalleled in style. It felt fresh and humurous, but very contemplative and beautiful at the same time. It’s not too long for a fantasy book, only about 400 pages, and the time sped by. I wouldn’t quite describe it as bingeable, but you get so immersed in the story it’s impossible to put down. The pace is brilliant.
Despite being a book about a warrior, there aren’t overly long fight scenes like you get in some war books. It wasn’t particularly gruesome either.
There’s no such thing as a side character in She who Became Sun. It balances on the thin line between a full cast, and so many characters they all merge into one… ie the perfect historical book! I wasn’t expecting the many other characters and plot lines not directly involving Zhu. Each character is so interesting and I love how the author fully fleshed out every one. I found Ouyang was such an intriguing, character and he broke my heart in so many ways. The author excels at these dramatic, complicated romances, and I’m living for Zhu’s. The sequel is one of my most anticipated books for the next few years!
I learned a lot about Imperial China, although it doesn’t feel like a history lesson. I’m also not sure how much of it is historically accurate… I genuinely can’t praise it enough – the descriptions of people are sublime, the dialogue was golden. It reads like a very beautifully described episode of the Jeremy Kyle show – betrayal! Vengeance! Romance! I couldn’t put it down.
For fans of The Priory Of The Orange Tree, this is your book. For fans of haunting plots, doomed romances, empowering queer characters and clever schemes, this is your book. You reading this, this is your book. Go and get it.