As a bloodred comet and the fading sun bring a growing sense of dread, only two young people may hope to change their world.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
The Seventh Sun
Series: The Age of the Seventh Sun #1
Author: Lina Forbes
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Page Count: 336
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★
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Thrust into leadership upon the death of his emperor father, young Prince Ahkin feels completely unready for his new position. Though his royal blood controls the power of the sun, he’s now responsible for the lives of all the Chicome people. And despite all Ahkin’s efforts, the sun is fading–and the end of the world may be at hand.
For Mayana, the only daughter of the Chicome family whose blood controls the power of water, the old emperor’s death may mean that she is next. Prince Ahkin must be married before he can ascend the throne, and Mayana is one of six noble daughters presented to him as a possible wife. Those who are not chosen will be sacrificed to the gods.
Only one girl can become Ahkin’s bride. Mayana and Ahkin feel an immediate connection, but the gods themselves may be against them. Both recognize that the ancient rites of blood that keep the gods appeased may be harming the Chicome more than they help. As a bloodred comet and the fading sun bring a growing sense of dread, only two young people may hope to change their world.
Rich in imagination and romance, and based on the legends and history of the Aztec and Maya people, The Seventh Sun brings to vivid life a world on the edge of apocalyptic disaster.
I’m excited to be a part of THE SEVENTH SUN blog tour with The Fantastic Flying Book Club, from February 12th – February 18th, 2020!
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Blackstone Publishing via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
Content Warning: Death of a loved one and animal, Suicide, Human & Animal sacrifice, Self harm (cutting palm to perform magical rituals)
The entire Chicome Empire now relied on him. Hundreds of thousands of lives depended on his blood. He and his twin sister, Metzi, were now the only two surviving descendants of the sun god.
To what lengths must a leader go to bring honor to their deities? It is a question that Prince Ahkin asks himself shortly after the passing of his father. Due to tradition, Ahkin’s mother takes her own life so that the emperor will not pass through the Underworld alone. But Ahkin is not ready to lead an entire nation. Without the guidance of his parents, Ahkin must grow accustomed to his new position. His first task to truly claim his title is to pick an empress to rule Chicome at his side.
She was sick of the stifling and suffocating shackles of the rituals. She had fought against her heart for years to submit to them, constantly wrestling between what she wanted to do and what she should do. They had stolen the joy from her life. Now, they demanded her actual life.
Mayana is the daughter of the leader to Alt–the water region of the kingdom. Due to being born into royalty, Mayana is from a line directly derived from the water goddess, and is able to bend water to her will. The magic calls for a price, and can only be summoned by blood.
Sacrifices are a daily reality for the Chicome people. Due to the sacrifice Ōmeteōtl made for them when sacrificing her children to reinstate a new sun, the people must pay the gods back in blood. For some, like Mayana, these traditions don’t make sense. Why would a god, who supposedly loves the people, call for such a violent recompense? It is heresy to question the beliefs and practices of the gods, by Mayana cannot ignore her intuition that something isn’t correct.
Upon the death of the emperor, the prominent families in neighboring cities must send their most worthy daughters to compete for the hand of Prince Ahkin. Mayana is chosen, but at the apprehension of her father. Mayana hates making sacrifices–so much so that her family has to make excuses for her and why she won’t do them. One of six contenders, Mayana must win against descendents of gods with fire, air, earth, healing, and animal powers. But if she doesn’t win, she will see her end with the others that aren’t chosen, as the losers will be sacrificed to strengthen the waning sun.
The true core of a person encompassed their whole being. Now that she saw Yemania’s heart, the girl radiated beauty. Mayana hoped the prince would see Yemania’s beauty as she did, but at the same time, she realized that if he did, it would seal her own fate. How was she supposed to hope for Yemania without dooming herself?
The ceremony of choosing an empress naturally sets the girls against one another. For a compassionate soul like Mayana, the thought of sending someone to their death if she is chosen tears her apart. She makes fast friends with Yemania, a girl sent for her mediocre looks by a father who doesn’t care about her fate. It highlights the intimately harsh reality that most women encounter throughout life, wondering if their beauty will measure up for others.
As the competition unfolds, Mayana finds herself in the prince’s favor, but for reasons that aren’t her truth. Believed to be a pious follower of the gods’ and the codex of beliefs, Mayana knows that the prince is falling for someone that isn’t the real her. Her mission becomes proving to not only herself, but to others that the codex they follow isn’t entirely true. This, however, always puts her at risk to fall out of favor with the prince once he discovers her true beliefs. Mayana finds herself positioned between a competition to literally fight for her life, but another that requires her to remain true to herself.
The Seventh Sun will keep any reader at the edge of their seat. This isn’t entirely always for a good reason, as human sacrifice is a terrible reality in the Aztec and Mayan-inspired culture represented. I thought that this book gave a fantastic look into the lives of those that followed these traditions day-to-day. Sacrifice was a norm, but should never be taken lightly. Mayana’s character was far too soft for this society, and it makes me wonder what the souls of others’ were like. Of course, this is a work of fantasy, so liberties may have been taken when compared to one hundred percent accurate historical fact of practices and traditions.
A strong, sometimes disturbing, but deep read The Seventh Sun promises much more to come as Ahkin and Mayana must figure out their stance with the gods, and with one another. I’m curious if the threat from the Miquitz and their soul-abilities will reappear and pose an even deeper threat due to the positioning of Ahkin and Mayana at the conclusion of this installment.
Vulgarity: None that I recall.
Sexual content: Kissing.
Violence: A lot. This read is, in my opinion, not appropriate for younger readers due to the material discussed at length about human and animal sacrifice.
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Lani Forbes is the daughter of a librarian and an ex-drug smuggling surfer, which explains her passionate love of the ocean and books. A California native whose parents live in Mexico, she now resides in the Pacific Northwest where she stubbornly wears flip flops no matter how cold it gets. She teaches middle school math and science and proudly calls herself a nerd and Gryffindor. She is also an award-winning member of Romance Writers of America and the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
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