Why this book?
This book is a fantastical retelling of the Hongwu Emperor’s rise to power, with the emperor re-imagined as a non-binary afab person. It’s billed as Mulan meets The Song of Achilles, but I vastly preferred it to both those narratives; the nascent emperor, Zhu Chongba, becomes gloriously ruthless in a way that defies their gender. There’s also a gay eunuch point-of-view character with an incredibly tragic backstory, who almost steals the show.
It’s very character-driven, which helps temper its epic scope. I don’t usually love stories with this much military/political scheming, but I absolutely loved this book. It’s a duology, with the second book expected in 2023.
She Who Became the Sun
Why should I read it?
2 authors picked She Who Became the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
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…