Heart of a Sun Warrior - Review
*I received the physical copy for the B2 Weird Bookclub tour via Harper Voyager. All reviews are my own.*
I have officially read Heart of the Sun Warrior, the sequel to Sue Lynn Tan’s Daughter of the Moon Goddess, twice, and I’m kind of up in the air with it. To my day ones, we all knew how excited I was about DOTMG. Tan beautifully told the story and had me learning about Chinese Mythology I never knew of. And though the ending to DOTMG was open-ended, I knew a sequel was in the works, and I was curious where the story would go. While Heart of the Sun Warrior may not have gotten a 5-star rating like its counterpart, the story still landed pretty high on the scale.
"The stunning sequel to Daughter of the Moon Goddess delves deeper into beloved Chinese mythology, concluding the epic story of Xingyin—the daughter of Chang’e and the mortal archer, Houyi—as she battles a grave new threat to the realm, in this powerful tale of love, sacrifice, and hope. After winning her mother’s freedom from the Celestial Emperor, Xingyin thrives in the enchanting tranquility of her home. But her fragile peace is threatened by the discovery of a strange magic on the moon and the unsettling changes in the Celestial Kingdom as the emperor tightens his grip on power. While Xingyin is determined to keep clear of the rising danger, the discovery of a shocking truth spurs her into a perilous confrontation. Forced to flee her home once more, Xingyin and her companions venture to unexplored lands of the Immortal Realm, encountering legendary creatures and shrewd monarchs, beloved friends and bitter adversaries. With alliances shifting quicker than the tides, Xingyin has to overcome past grudges and enmities to forge a new path forward, seeking aid where she never imagined she would. As an unspeakable terror sweeps across the realm, Xingyin must uncover the truth of her heart and claw her way through devastation—to rise against this evil before it destroys everything she holds dear, and the worlds she has grown to love . . . even if doing so demands the greatest price of all."
Instead of reading my physical copy, I took my chances on the audio for this go-round. You don’t know how big that is for me. It’s like starting an anime show in dub and switching to subtitles halfway through. It puts me in shambles, and my small bout of OCD starts to kick in. I won’t say the audio version is terrible because it isn’t. Natalie Naudus narrating matched the beauty of the writing. It just wasn’t for me. And in all honesty, I don’t think reading it would have been any better. I don’t believe any preference would have sufficed with this book. Though HOASW is another polished written story, I couldn’t absorb it, so I read it twice. I couldn’t write my review correctly because I couldn’t remember anything the first time I cracked open the book.
Please don’t let my review dissuade you from reading the series! It’s something you should experience. I just found Book 2 to be on the romantic soap opera side. I’m not much of a romantic, and I missed that fire Xingyin had trying to protect her home in Book 1. In Book 2, she’s more focused than ever, trying to keep her family out of harm’s way and figuring out the threesome between her Wenzhi and Liwei. I need my warrior goddess to push through that lovey-dovey triangle! But hey, I knew this plot was coming anyway.
*art done by @arz28art
Aside from the romance, we still have some great action sequences – a lot of wins, a couple of devastating losses, found family, and a new villain who seemed deadlier than the first. I think this guy is more sadistic than Mr. Grinch. We still get that vibrant world-building that drew you into the Celestial Kingdom from Book 1.
Overall I rated the book 4-stars. I originally had 5-stars, but after rereading, I was hyping myself up to keep the same energy from DOTMG. HOASW was a good story, but in some areas, I found myself impatient for it to get to the point—those damn romantics. Anyway, Ms. Tan, I can’t wait to see what you offer next on your book journey. Congratulations on completing your first series!
Heart of a Sun Waarrior is out now!