She Who Became the Sun

Paperback, 416 pages

English language

Published by Mantle.

ISBN:
9781529043396

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (13 reviews)

An absorbing historical fantasy, She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan reimagines the rise to power of the Ming Dynasty's founding emperor.

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan is a historical fantasy reimagining of the rise to power of Zhu Yuanzhang. Zhu was the peasant rebel who expelled the Mongols, unified China under native rule, and became the founding Emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty plain, a seer shows two children their fates. For a family's eighth-born son, there's greatness. For the second daughter, nothing.

In 1345, China lies restless under harsh Mongol rule. And when a bandit raid wipes out their home, the two children must somehow survive. Zhu Chongba despairs and gives in. But the girl resolves to overcome her destiny. So she takes her dead brother's identity and begins her journey. Can Zhu escape what's written in the …

2 editions

Epic in every sense

5 stars

I love this book for being an alternate history that's not fixated on Hitler. I love it for how carefully it weaves its fantasy into the real history it's anchored in - enough so that as soon as I finished reading it I had to read up on the actual Red Turban rebellion and see how many of the characters were close adaptations. I love it for how much desperate, furious, and yes sometimes joyous life its main characters have. I love it for how viscerally it evokes some incredibly hard times (though be warned, it's a heavy read because of that). I love it for how utterly unsympathetic all the "big people" are.

Around the middle of the book the weight of Fate on both the plot and multiple characters' obsessions started to feel stifling, but the more the narrator complicated that idea the more this stopped being a …

Wow!

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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