Title: The Sunbearer Trials
Author: Aiden Thomas
Series: The Sunbearer Duology #1
Release Date: September 6, 2022
Edit: It’s been a week since I read this story and I still can’t stop thinking about this world and these characters. I am bumping my rating up because of it.
Teo is a 17-year-old Jade semidiós and trans son of Quetzal, goddess of birds. He never worried about the Sunbearer Trials because a Jade hasn’t been chosen in over a century. When Sol chooses two Jades, including Teo, for this year’s Trials, everything changes.
When I first read the blurb for this book, it seemed like a fascinating, inclusive, and very dangerous world, and it is. This is a fascinating world with gods, their children (semidiós), and a dangerous trial that ends with a sacrifice of a player to Sol. I was instantly swept up in this world and its unique characters and premise.
Teo was a fun, reckless, and brave teenager. He never expects to be chosen but is determined to at least not be at the bottom. HIs friendship with Niya and Xio was wonderful. They were dedicated to helping each other survive and had wonderful camaraderie. In the beginning, I did find Teo to be slightly whiny at times, but it was also normal teenage behavior so it made sense. I just could have done with less wine.
The rivalry between Teo and Aurelio was another main point in this story. There is a lot of history between them but you can feel their relationship changing as the story progresses. They have gone from childhood friends-to enemies- to rivals and are starting to creep towards love, but that doesn’t happen in this book. I enjoyed their rivalry because it made sense with their history, but I am still a bit unsure about their potential romance. I will have to see if the next book changes my thoughts on that.
This conclusion of the trials was action packed, emotional, and unexpected at times. I was very surprised by what happened, especially since it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Between the world and the characters I couldn’t put it down, and now I am sad that I have to wait for book two. If you are a fan of Percy Jackson, or that kind of fantasy story, I highly recommend this book.
Trigger warnings: body dysphoria; house fire, bullying, abusive mother, injuries, violence,
*ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review.*