Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher and bought two copies of the finished book. Thanks and support your authors! All opinions are my own.
Book: The Sunbearer Trials
Author: Aiden Thomas
Book Series: The Sunbearer Duology Book 1
Diversity: Hispanic Trans MC, Hispanic Trans-Questioning character, Hispanic characters, Black Hispanic characters, Deaf Black Hispanic character, Non-binary Hispanic character, Black Hispanic Lesbian character.
Recommended For...: young adult readers, fantasy, mythology, Mexican mythology, LGBT, queer
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Genre: YA Fantasy
Age Relevance: 15+ (cursing, parental death, racism, classism, religion, death, grief, violence, body dysphoria)
Explanation of Above: There is some cursing in this book. There is violence shown in the book and death. There’s parental death mentioned. There is some racism, prejudice, and classism shown in the book. The book is based off of Mexican mythology and gods are shown and mentioned. There is some grief shown. There is a scene where body dysphoria discussed.
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Synopsis: As each new decade begins, the Sun’s power must be replenished so that Sol can keep traveling along the sky and keep the evil Obsidian gods at bay. Ten semidioses between the ages of thirteen and eighteen are selected by Sol himself as the most worthy to compete in The Sunbearer Trials. The winner carries light and life to all the temples of Reino del Sol, but the loser has the greatest honor of all―they will be sacrificed to Sol, their body used to fuel the Sun Stones that will protect the people of Reino del Sol for the next ten years.
Teo, a 17-year-old Jade semidiós and the trans son of Quetzal, goddess of birds, has never worried about the Trials…or rather, he’s only worried for others. His best friend Niya―daughter of Tierra, the god of earth―is one of the strongest heroes of their generation and is much too likely to be chosen this year. He also can’t help but worry (reluctantly, and under protest) for Aurelio, a powerful Gold semidiós and Teo’s friend-turned-rival who is a shoo-in for the Trials. Teo wouldn’t mind taking Aurelio down a notch or two, but a one-in-ten chance of death is a bit too close for Teo’s taste.
But then, for the first time in over a century, Sol chooses a semidiós who isn’t a Gold. In fact, he chooses two: Xio, the 13-year-old child of Mala Suerte, god of bad luck, and…Teo. Now they must compete in five mysterious trials, against opponents who are both more powerful and better trained, for fame, glory, and their own survival.
Review: I really liked this book for the most part. The book revolves our MC who is a semidios in a world where every decade a trial is replenish the sun’s power and keep the evil gods at bay. However, one person must be sacrificed in the trial and their body is used for fuel for the sun stones to protect the people for the next decade. Our MC is selected for the trial and the book goes through his journey through the trials and trying to figure out the best way through this predicament. I thought overall that the story was great and I was interested in it throughout the read. The book reminds me a lot of Percy Jackson and it’s like it and The Hunger Games had a baby. The characters are well written and the book has amazingly detailed world building.
However, the book takes awhile to get into and the amount of characters in the book is very overwhelming. I did have to read the synopsis to understand the basics of the book and the prologue made me a tad more confused than I thought it would.
Verdict: It was good! I highly recommend it!