She Who Became the Sun

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan, Can be read in a few days depending on your speed, Adult Fantasy

The final review for the Trans Right Readathon! But that does not mean that’s the end of reading trans/non-binary authors or books. In this house, we read trans/queer book all the time!

Which is why I’m recommending a fabulous fantasy book! She Who Becomes the Sun starts in 1345 China in the midst of the Mongol rule. We meet a family—a father, son, and daughter—living in poverty and on the verge of starvation. But all hope is not lost. While the daughter is destinated for nothingness, the son—Zhu Chonbga—is destined for greatness. After an unexpected turn of events, however, only the daughter is alive. So, what is she to do? Starve to death herself? Or, take on Zhu’s identity and, hopefully, his destiny.

Photo of She Who Became the Sun standing on a paved road with trees behind.

Out of desperation, the daughter/Zhu lies about her age to join the monastery. Here, she finds that her will to survive only grows and she finds ways to not only fit in, but also hide her body’s true form. She lives like this for years until tragedy and politics strike and her monastery is burned down. On the run and with a will to not only survive but also finally meet her, or rather Zhu’s, destiny, she joins the rebel army and finds out who she truly is.

She Who Becomes the Sun is a fascinating first book in a duology. It is an exploration of politics, power, history, identity (gender, yes, but also in general), desperation, and survival. Told in multi-POV, we meet several key characters in the battle between the Mongols and the Rebels. The combined voices tell a story of intrigue, revenge, family, and hope. The only question that remains is who will remain when it’s all said and done? I have no idea but I look forward to finding out in the sequel, He Who Drowned the World, this August.

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