FICTION

The Seventh Sun

Blackstone. (Age of the Seventh Sun: Bk. 1). Feb. 2020. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781982546090.
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Gr 7 Up–Magic is real, godlike power resides in the blood of leaders, and celestial signs all point to a dire, uncertain future. Set at the height of the Aztec Empire among fictional Chicome people, the book stars Prince Ahkin, who must take over as emperor at merely 18 following the abrupt death of his father. Observing the required ritual, his mother self-sacrifices to follow her husband into death, leaving Ahkin to navigate this huge burden alone. Mayana is the only daughter of her people’s leader. She loathes the cruel blood rituals, believing they’re not dictated by the gods. However, everyone worries disbelief will bring calamity. Ahkin must have a bride to become emperor and tradition dictates that all leaders send a daughter as a candidate. After the prince chooses, the others will be sacrificed to bless the new empress and their reign. Mayana disrupts the process, despite being the favorite, upending tradition with her attempts to abolish the sacrifices. But everyone has been misled as a villain attempts a power grab, duping the prince into dying for his people. Debut author Forbes tells a story rich with Aztec traditions, foods, names, and mythology. Predominately a romance between the two protagonists, the book encourages readers to ponder deeper questions like the value of life and pitfalls of blind faith. A map and an author’s note detailing her research are appended.
VERDICT Despite occasional awkward writing, the story fills a gap in Indigenous narratives. A good purchase for romance fans.

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