Saturday 22 October 2022

REVIEW: The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Macmillan
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
Release Date: September 6th 2022

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. 

Don’t you just love it when one of your most anticipated reads of the year lives up to your expectations? ME TOO. And thankfully, The Sunbearer Trials was one of those rare, special books for me. After falling in love with Cemetery Boys a couple of years ago, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Aiden Thomas’ next book. Reading the blurb and seeing the cover art only made me surer that I was going to love it. 

This book is set in an alternative world to our own in which selected teenagers born of diosas must compete in the Sunbearer Trials every ten years, with the last-ranked becoming a sacrifice to help keep their world stay protected. 

The characters in this story are just so fun. I loved getting to know all of them, even the ones that weren’t too friendly. But our main character, Teo, is such a joy to read about! He gets dragged into the trials unexpectedly and takes it all on the chin, doing his best to get through each day and ignore the prejudice of the other competitors who don’t believe that he deserves his place in the trials. 

I adored learning about the diosas and their children, getting to know the ins-and-outs of how their world works and their views over the course of the story. Xio was also an interesting character and I’m excited to see what happens with him in the next book. 

  • Incredible fantasy world. It’s a world that’s very much like our own, with social media and normal school education for most people, except there are dioses that are accepted in everyday life. 
  • Trials that will leave you on edge. They provide just the right amount of action and suspense. I was biting my nails every time the rankings were revealed! 
  • Mother of all plot twists. Prepare yourself for the unexpected! 

This is easily a new fave and I cannot wait for the second book in the duology. I’m both nervous and excited to see what awaits the characters after that ending! If you want a fantasy that’s a perfect mix of action and humour, definitely pick this one up next.

Royal Rating: 

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