(4 / 5) – Worth It!
We are living through a beautiful explosion of fantasy writers and imaginations and I am 100% here for it and it is not every day that a book totally delivers on the epic breadth of storytelling it promises. Shelley Parker-Chan’s “She Who Becomes the Sun” does. It is a book written because Parker-Chan didn’t see the type of fantasy books she wanted to read on the shelves of bookstores and libraries and so she wrote it.
“She Who Becomes the Sun” is an incredible story of character, destiny and the human journey of finding self and the love we all crave. Set in a fantasy world based on ancient China, it is the story of a young girl who decides to take her brother’s destiny upon herself. The deep motivator for her life is survival, at all costs. She wrestles through a myriad of choices that lead her to a path of leadership where she has to decide just how deeply her convictions go as she weighs her survival and humanity against her destiny of greatness.
Parker-Chan takes the reader into a deep dive of ancient China and her characters, protagonist and antagonists, offer a wide range of identities that shift and morph realistically over time. Though this novel follows the epic life arc of Zhu, she is not the only character of epic proportions. The depth and complexity of characters allows the reader to care for them in their positive and negative qualities. Parker-Chan lifts up a variety of social issues through this fantasy world and it is a delightful read that offers insight and perspective through realistic and memorable characters.