133: The Sunbearer Trials

filled star filled star filled star star unfilled star unfilled
saraweather Avatar


The Good

I. Funny, sweet, and wholesome.

A. The kids chosen for trials feel like teenagers and good people.

B. The story could have easily made certain people villains but did not.

C. Friendship and folks being nice is always a plus for me.

D. There are so many peaceful things about this story.

E. Niya is my favorite character.

F. It was funny and wholesome!
II. Representation

A. Reading this while experiencing the first few episodes of Rings of Power & House of Dragon (and all the discussion around them) I’m just excited to be in the middle of something that is: centering folks of different skin tones, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, disability and body types. There is something peaceful about representation just being automatically the default/ fabric of story. Not to mention there is a softness/peacefulness to this story in general.

B. I enjoyed being on the tour of the Mexican inspired fantasy world.

The Bad

Repetitive? Towards the latter half of the story, I felt it was not moving forward enough.

The Meh

The trials were interesting at certain points but not as cool as they could have been.


I. Representation

Starting up House of Dragon & Rings of Power while in middle of reading this really made me think so much about representation.

A. I spent so much time trying to quantify why I felt so automatically connected to Sunbearer Trial characters/story in a way that I was not with Rings of Power or House of Dragon.

B. So much of the heavy lifting of representation is in my reading. It makes me more aware of how monumental Sunbearer is and so many stories I read are.

C. I got exhausted a bit because representation is such a large encompassing conversation (thus should not overwhelm my review of a really good book).

II. Inspiration – Hunger Games

A. What is the difference between Sunbearer and The Hunger Games?

B. Gods vs Mortals

How is sacrifice viewed between mortals and gods? In this story we see sacrifice of gods through eyes of the gods.

III. Mudding Waters of Age Range

A. Does this story read like middle grade? Or does it represent the innocent/younger aspect that can be present in teenagers? The question of how this reads also has to be weighed with the marketing/pushing of ya to adults conversation. Is ya out of touch with teens? What does that mean to think a story reads like middle grade or reads young in a category that many feel reads adult?

B. So much is put to adult vs young adult but what about middle grade vs young adult. You can have middle grade stories that have a full cast of teenagers (Ex: Ever After High/Monster High).

C. Publishing is creating a “grey area” blurring the lines between what is ya, adult, and middle grade. The grey area is a bad and good thing. I wonder if it is becoming more of a problem now because skewing of young adult to be adult.

IV. Miscellaneous

This would be good to read on a cruise because it is basically going from place to place on a ship.

I won this from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group via bookishfirst