The sun of the Chicome people has been destroyed six times. First by water, then by storm, fire, famine, sickness, and beasts. After each apocalypse, the creator goddess allowed one of her divine children to sacrifice themselves to save civilization. The gods paid their blood as the price for the lives of the people, and the people owed them blood in return.
Mayana is a noble descendant of the water goddess and can control water whenever her blood is spilled. She has always despised the brutal rituals of her people—especially sacrifices. She can’t even make it through a routine animal sacrifice without embarrassing her family. Prince Ahkin has always known he would be emperor, but he didn’t expect his father to die so suddenly. Now he must raise the sun in the sky each day and read the signs in the stars. But the stars now hint at impending chaos and the sun has begun setting earlier each evening. Ahkin fears he might not be strong enough to save his people from another apocalypse. And to add to his list of worries, he can’t truly become emperor until he selects a wife.
Mayana and six other noble daughters are sent to the palace to compete for Ahkin’s hand. She must prove she is a true daughter of water and face the others who have their own magical gifts from wielding the elements to the control of animals, plants and healing. And in a society centered on rigid rituals, Mayana must conceal her traitorous beliefs because if she doesn’t make Ahkin love her, she will become a ceremonial sacrifice to bless his marriage. But darker forces are at play and it won’t matter if Mayana loses if the world ends first…
Rich in imagination and romance, and based on the legends and history of the Aztec and Mayan people, The Seventh Sun brings to vivid life a world on the edge of apocalyptic disaster.
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When water and light are joined together, it creates something beautiful.
The Emperor is dead. A blood red comet streaks across the sky. The seventh apocalypse is nigh. Prince Ahkin finds himself leading an empire in the darkest of days. In order to obtain the crown, he must choose a wife from the noble daughters of the city states, but will his youth and naivety doom his people to suffer the end of an era? Mayana, daughter of Atl, questions the barbarity of the demands of the gods. Her disobedience will surely bring nothing but pain and heartache to the people of her lands. Summoned to the high seat of the empire, will she be able to conceal her beliefs long enough to make her father proud and save herself? Or will she be sacrificed to appease the gods she so questions?
The Seventh Sun is author Lani Forbes’ beautifully engrossing Young Adult Fantasy debut, heavily influenced by Mesoamerican history and mythology. At its heart, it’s a tale of balance and harmony, two opposing halves making the uniform whole. It explains the sacrifices, both physical and emotional, that must be made in the name of the greater good, although ensuring that it’s perfectly fine to question those demands. It also highlights the power of lies and the faults of man, but it consistently promotes the ideal of unyielding beliefs. Simply put, it’s a gorgeous book.
Forbes creates a wonderful narrative that rests on the shoulders of two point-of-view characters, both of which I loved right from the start. I always appreciate characters that hold positions of power, yet still exhibit modesty and feelings of unsureness, and this is captured well with both Mayana and Ahkin. Mayana, a headstrong, stubborn, but beautifully compassionate princess that struggles with the feelings that lurk in her heart and mind. Ahkin, an uncertain, dutiful, but ultimately selfless prince that bends under the pressure of the needs of his people. Individually, they’re charming. Together, they’re exquisite. Theirs is a romance, that while seems improbably rushed, flourishes in the most dazzling of ways.
A supporting cast of characters perfectly fleshes out this story to fully invest readers. Each of the daughters of the noble households are the living embodiment of their respective gifts in every way possible: imposing and regal, strong and wild, wispy and powerful, striking and dark, reserved and benevolent. Their interactions create a tension that keep the pages of this book turning at a rapid pace. The villains, well, I’ll just say some are glaringly obvious, while others are wolves hiding in sheep’s clothing, and I’ll leave it at that.
Simple prose allowing for close and deep character connections leads to a straightforward plot, which can be summed up as the princesses must complete a series of trials in order to allow the prince to choose his empress. Threats, both internal and external, define this story of apocalypse, war, deceit, and profound, yet complex love. It’s apparent the author is extremely knowledgable in the content she bases her fantasy world on, which feels incredibly real due to stunning worldbuilding and vividly portrayed settings. A whole new layer of wonder, which blindsided me to the fullest, is injected in the last few chapters, which left me anxiously counting down the pages until the end, and wishing I had book two in my grasp.
The Seventh Sun was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it has gone above and beyond all my expectations. I absolutely adored this book, and can’t wait to continue my journey alongside Mayana and Ahkin. While at times some aspects seemed highly improbable, the sheer enjoyment of this read made those easy to overlook. If you’re looking for a little bit darker of a YA story dominated by the gifts of choice and love and hope, then look no further, because this is exactly the one you want. I highly recommend.
Note: A huge thank you to Lani Forbes and Blackstone Publishing for providing me with an advance complementary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing and inviting me to participate in this book tour.
Be sure to check out all the other stops along the tour by visiting the official schedule here.
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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