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July 26, 2021 • Cee • Discussion

What common things do all these books have in common in this post? They’re written by Asian authors, and they’re books I want to read (and you should too!).

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to see so many intriguing books by Asian authors that are out this year. I may not have read any it, but I desperately want to, and I sure hope everybody is taking note and putting these books on their TBR list.

These are books that feature LBGTQ+ characters and retells history or a classic with a different spin. Let’s see what these books, shall we?

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu uses the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

Why would I want to read She Who Became the Sun? It’s pretty bold of the publisher to market this as “Mulan meets The Song of Achilles” when this book is probably even more than those two stories. This sounds like a fantastic epic rooted down in history that features LGBTQ+ characters, which is everything I ever want in a book. I don’t read historical fiction fantasy, but that will change with She Who Became the Sun.

I imagine if people enjoyed the historical fantasy of The Poppy War, they will enjoy this too.

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