British Fantasy Award Winner
Lambda Literary Award Finalist
Two-time Hugo Award Finalist
Locus Award Finalist
"Magnificent in every way."—Samantha Shannon, author of The Priory of the Orange Tree
"A dazzling new world of fate, war, love and betrayal."—Zen Cho, author of Black Water Sister
She Who Became the Sun reimagines the rise to power of the Ming Dynasty’s founding emperor.
To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything
“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 is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother's identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.
After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother's abandoned greatness.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Parker-Chan's fascinating debut, the first in the Radiant Emperor duology, gives the historical Red Turban Rebellion a grimdark fantasy twist. After bandits kill Zhu Chongba's father in 14th-century China, Zhu dies of grief without ever having fulfilled the destined greatness that was foreseen at his birth. Instead, his purposefully never-named sister takes on her brother's identity and his fate. The new Zhu's tenacious will to survive and desire for glory leads her to become first a Buddhist monk, then a commander in the rebel army attempting to overthrow Mongol rule of China and results in continual clashes with an antagonist to whom her fate is inexorably intertwined: the eunuch General Ouyang. For his part, Ouyang is not about to let a no-name monk distract him from a revenge plot a lifetime in the making, leading to a Machiavellian series of bargains and battles between the two. Though Parker-Chan's unrelentingly grim view of humanity bogs down the middle of the novel, her nuanced exploration of gender identity and striking meditation on bodily autonomy set this fantasy apart. Fans of Asian-influenced fantasy have just been given their newest obsession.
Looking forward to book 2
I enjoyed this book more than I thought. It left me a little sad because I can already see how Zhu’s quest got greatness will eventually destroy her and those she loves. I hope not as she’s gone through so much but I can already see she’ll do and give up everything to achieve greatness. Looking forward to seeing how the story continues.
This book was GORGEOUS. While it starts slow, it’s something that you push through and fall in love with all at once, without even realizing you’ve held your breath. It really kicks into gear when you get to the other characters PoV and are truly able to dive into the world. Zu and Ouyang are beautiful and bitter foils in a fantastical historical fiction that explores gender identity, femininity, desire, political intrigue all while peppered with battles. Esen i felt was himself a perfect highlight for Ouyang, loved by the world just as his friend (and perhaps love) is reviled, the perfect man in all aspects despite his same inability to have a male heir…ugh just a wonderful book. I wanted so badly for Ouyang to stop and find peace, but we knew from his introduction and haunting that his fate was as sealed as Zhus was free. UGH! So many times I was aching for the characters to make different choices, holding onto my helpless rickety raft, steered by a lovely author. This is the type of book you want to discuss to pieces.
She who became the sun
Absolutely fantastic. Historical novel with a touch of fantasy. Epic in scope, beautifully plotted with fierce protagonists and non-stop action. Hope there will be sequels.