She Who Became the Sun

Paperback, 416 pages

English language

Published by Mantle.

4 stars (10 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


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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