Bild på författaren.

Shelley Parker-Chan

Författare till She Who Became the Sun

4 verk 1,749 medlemmar 54 recensioner 1 favoritmärkta


Verk av Shelley Parker-Chan

She Who Became the Sun (2021) 1,566 exemplar
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Allmänna fakta

20th Century
Priser och utmärkelser
Astounding Award for Best New Writer
Laura Rennert



Really interesting and unique story of the power of sheer will and determination. A few things bugged me a bit.

- I want to know more about the ghosts
- It annoyed me that we never learn Zhu's actual name, only her patronymic and her brother's name
- I really want to know more about Ouyang ... his life and what happens after
decaturmamaof2 | 49 andra recensioner | Nov 22, 2023 |
In a lot of ways, this book reminded me of the legend of Mulan, a woman who disguises herself as a man to fight the Mongols and expel them from China. However, this story is so much more than that. She Who Became the Sun is a novel about identity, acceptance, familial expectations, and fate. It is a novel that will keep you guessing and leave you in awe.

Our female protagonist is unnamed until she learns that her brother is destined for greatness and so steals his name at his unexpected death. Going primarily by her family name Zhu, the girl navigates her world as a boy, going to great lengths to conceal her identity. She begins working her way up the ranks in the Wuhuang Monastery followed by the army of the Red Turban rebels. Zhu is the definition of 'work smarter not harder'. She is repeatedly given impossible tasks but always manages to achieve them through unusual means.

Zhu spends the majority of the novel shunning her female self. Eventually, she learns that her strength comes, in part, from this side of her. If she wasn't female, she wouldn't have the tenacious desire to survive nor would she be as cunning as she is. In fact, her greatest achievements - the taking of the city of Lu and the Yao River encounter - are not won by masculine behaviors such as fighting. Instead, Zhu uses her intelligence to win the day. In particular, she uses her understanding of the limitations facing women in her society to her advantage as she connects with the other women in her life. Zhu truly sees her female companions and thus truly sees her female readers.

Meanwhile, our other major character of General Ouyang is a foil to Zhu. Unlike Zhu, he is surrounded by family (albeit their ghosts), and he cannot escape his fate while Zhu seeks hers. He acts very much like he has not control over his life while Zhu wants nothing more than to control hers. Ouyang's journey is just as tough and gut-wrenching, even as he succeeds in his goals. Ultimately, I worry about Ouyang because I get the feeling his future is limited because he refuses to accept his duality, or that a duality exists in others. While he was born male, Ouyang was castrated as punishment by the Mongols. As a result, he despises his body and what it is not. He even goes a step further to detest women because they remind him of what they have in common. Whereas Zhu eventually learns that her strength stems from the balance of her identities, Ouyang is trapped in a realm of toxic masculinity.

This book is very light on the fantasy. There are ghosts and bursts of light/flame that come from certain people, but that's about it. Sometimes it didn't feel like a fantasy novel, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment of it at all. I highly recommend this book for its creative storytelling and the fact that it packs an emotional wallop.
… (mer)
readerbug2 | 49 andra recensioner | Nov 16, 2023 |
She Who Became the Sun is a fascinating historical fantasy, the likes of which I have rarely (if ever) encountered before.

I was completely gripped by this book and its many, highly complex and morally grey characters. They were definitely my favourite part, even though most of them are extremely unlikeable! The settings are also gorgeously rich, and I loved the fact that some of the plot is based on actual historical facts. I didn't go on a research (read: google) spree like I normally would because I desperately want to avoid spoilers for the next book, but I certainly will catch up on that afterwards!

The only thing I struggled with was the pace, which in certain parts of the book seemed to drag a little, and the multitude of characters, which I sometimes struggled to keep straight in my head. The were also some rather explicit violent scenes which I personally wasn't a fan of, but were well inserted in the narrative and I could certainly see why they have been included.

Other than that, this was a fantastic read and I am definitely looking to the next one!

I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
… (mer)
bookforthought | 49 andra recensioner | Nov 7, 2023 |
Set in 1345 China when the Chinese people were under the rule of the Mongols, this story is about a young, poor Chinese girl who lives in a village with her father and brother. One day, the father has the children’s fates read and while the son is fated for greatness, the daughter is destined for nothingness. So when bandits come through and kill their father and then her brother dies from despair, Zhu decides to take on the fate her brother wouldn’t and the only way to do that is for her to become her brother. She must convince not only others, but herself that she is now her brother or fear the possibility that the gods will find out who she really is and refuse the destiny of greatness to her and instead fall into nothingness.

Zhu becomes a monk and from there constantly searches out the best paths that will lead her to greatness, the destiny which she feels she truly deserves. Meanwhile, we also get chapter perspectives from the Mongol prince and his close companion and general, Ouyang. As war breaks out between the rebels of China and the Mongol leaders, Zhu’s fate seems to become entwined with that of the prince and Ouyang.

Parts of this story were very interesting and kept me wanting to turn the next page, but then other parts felt pretty slow. The pacing in general didn’t feel consistent to me. But the characters were intriguing and honestly Ouyang’s story in particular became the most interesting to me. While I also enjoyed Zhu’s parts of the story, her character isn’t necessarily the most likeable, especially as the story goes on, and she seems almost a little too single minded.

One thing that was interesting about Zhu’s character to me was the development of her gender identity and her exploration of her sexuality. I think these aspects do add some more depth to her single minded character, but then for the most part she prefers not to think of these things and to keep her mind on her goal.

These are some of the reasons this wasn’t a 5 star read for me, but in all I did enjoy the story and the writing and would most likely want to read the next book so I am going with 4 stars for this one. I also listened to this on Audiobook and some of the minor characters were a little harder to keep up with for me, as well as some of the stuff going on with the war plans and politics. Maybe if I had read the physical copy I could have kept up with these parts a little better though.

… (mer)
rianainthestacks | 49 andra recensioner | Nov 5, 2023 |



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Associerade författare

JungShen Cover artist
Jennifer Hanover Illustrator.
JungShan, Cover Illustrator.



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