One of the things I loved the most about Daughter of the Moon Goddess was the way I could not predict what was going to happen. It was a high action fantasy which enthralled me. And the sequel, Heart of the Sun Warrior was the same way. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
After winning her mother’s freedom from the Celestial Emperor, Xingyin thrives in the enchanting tranquility of her home. But her fragile peace is threatened by the discovery of a strange magic on the moon and the unsettling changes in the Celestial Kingdom as the emperor tightens his grip on power. While Xingyin is determined to keep clear of the rising danger, the discovery of a shocking truth spurs her into a perilous confrontation.
Forced to flee her home once more, Xingyin and her companions venture to unexplored lands of the Immortal Realm, encountering legendary creatures and shrewd monarchs, beloved friends and bitter adversaries. With alliances shifting quicker than the tides, Xingyin has to overcome past grudges and enmities to forge a new path forward, seeking aid where she never imagined she would. As an unspeakable terror sweeps across the realm, Xingyin must uncover the truth of her heart and claw her way through devastation–to rise against this evil before it destroys everything she holds dear, and the worlds she has grown to love… even if doing so demands the greatest price of all.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
To say I was excited for Heart of the Sun Warrior is a huge understatement. The action? The characters? Everything was unparalleled. From the very beginning, I loved how Heart of the Sun Warrior gets to heart of betrayal. How difficult it is to open up our heart again and the ways a relationship is irreparably changed. As someone who has a very hard time trusting, this theme resonated strongly with me. All the tricks we see disguised in smoke and mirrors, good intentions overshadowed by our past.
At the same time, I loved how Heart of the Sun Warrior deeply explores Xingyin and what she wants. The fact that the court still won’t accept her and her mother wounds her deeply, but can they ever get through it to be with the one she loves? As someone who has often felt on the outside, it is such a vulnerable and isolating position to be in. Throughout this theme, Heart of the Sun Warrior examines the nature of stories. Not only who gets to be the victor in the end, but also who gets to tell the story.
Because power has the ability to corrupt and favors transform into something else. So who is telling the story becomes even more important. Heart of the Sun Warrior tells a story about the cost of revenge and price of forgiveness. Additionally, I adored the love triangle in Heart of the Sun Warrior. How these characters represent futures and possibilities to Xingyin. Not only that, but it also delves into the kind of person she would be, could become, with these characters.
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Heart of the Sun Warrior plunges into the depths of human ambition. We can make unwitting victims when we don’t expect it. And what value is honor when we are pushed to the brink? Full of action, Heart of the Sun Warrior is a perfect sequel. It feels sweeping, lush, and heart warming all at once. If you loved the first, you have to read this sequel or are looking for a series with action, romance, and strong thematic discussions! Find Heart of the Sun Warrior on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.