She Who Became the Sun

hardcover, 416 pages

Published July 19, 2021 by Tor Books.


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4 stars (9 reviews)

To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything

Mulan meets The Song of Achilles in a bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty from an amazing new voice in literary fantasy.

"I refuse to be nothing..."

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness...

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family's eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family's clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it …

2 editions


5 stars

This was amazing. I had not heard of this book until it was nominated for the Hugo Award, and as a Hugo voter this year, I am trying to read as many of the finalists as I can. This looked like a book that I would not normally enjoy, but I gave it a shot.

Wow! This is one of the most enjoyable novels I've read in quite some time. Parker-Chan addresses gender identity in a unique way that offers insights for the present day, despite the book being placed in 1345. The evolution of the actions Zhu will take to claim her fate are a fantastic lens through which we can see the character changing. While this book is classified as fantasy, the fantasy elements are minimal, and mostly understated. This book is part 1 of a duology, but it has a satisfying conclusion. Having said that, I will …

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