Hard to Put Down

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I think I'm one of the few who hasn't read the Percy Jackson books. I've seen the movie though, which counts for something. And I've definitely read and watched and loved the Hunger Games.

If you've read reviews, you've probably seen a lot of readers referencing those two series in conjunction with Aiden Thomas' newest, The Sunbearer Trials. They're not wrong. I didn't think I'd get a chance to jump on this novel, but after a fun book gathering with the FierceReads crew and a sneak peek chat from the author... whelp, here I am.

This series has the trials and tribulations of parts of those novels, but it stands on it's own in uniqueness. Every ten years, ten semidioses compete for the honor of Sunbearer. The loser is sacrificied to fuel the Sun Stones to keep the Obsidian gods at bay.

The world building mirrors our present day with a 'gods walk among us' twist. Depending on the color, depends on the almost celebrity status of the semidios. I liked this element and the depth Thomas goes into for the culture, rituals and history of the world he's created without bogging down the plot flow.

The representation is phenomenal. Could you imagine the beauty of having a gender naming day? I loved it! Especially the parts that focus on finding your own identity when you're ready. Which leads me to the characters. Yes, there is magic, gods and dangerous trials, but the characters tie everything together. The modern personal  struggles of family, expectations and self acceptance give each character a role that was grounded in the narrative.

The audio is narrated by André Santana and his voice fits Teo well. I enjoyed the emotion and pacing of the narration as well as the different voices for the other characters. Excellent voice from Macmillan Audio that resonates with this novel.