Title: She Who Became The Sun
Author: Shelley Parker-Chan
Published Date: July 20th, 2021
Genre: Fiction, Alternate History
Mulan meets The Song of Achilles in Shelley Parker-Chan’s She Who Became the Sun, a bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty from an amazing new voice in literary fantasy.
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.
Things I love History, Badass Women, Humor, and non-traditional gender roles. This book has all that and more. I adored it. I was the girl who grew up on Mulan. She’s always been my favorite, she’s tough, she’s hardworking and she just wants to make a difference, and damn if this book didn’t take that feeling and make it even better. This book is 5 stars! I loved this book! You need to check it out because it’s just such a well-written book, with a nuanced main character and the idea that sometimes you have to be different to fit in, and what makes your difference can make you a leader. This alternate history shows us how a young girl who was considered worthless can rise to the highest position possible and change the world. It’s got war, romance, friendship, and heartbreak but that’s what makes it great! I will be recommending this book to random people in bookstores for the foreseeable future. It’s so good.
Highly recommend this book!