Author: J. T. Greathouse
Title: Hand of the Sun King
Publication Date: Aug 5th 2021
Comment: I was given a free ecopy in exchange for an honest first impression. I have not been influenced by Magical scarring.
My name is Wen Alder. My name is Foolish Cur.
All my life, I have been torn between two legacies: that of my father, whose roots trace back to the right hand of the Emperor. That of my mother’s family, who reject the oppressive Empire and embrace the resistance.
I can choose between them – between protecting my family, or protecting my people – or I can search out a better path . . . a magical path, filled with secrets, unbound by empire or resistance, which could shake my world to its very foundation.
But my search for freedom will entangle me in a war between the gods themselves . . .
I will put my hand up here and admit that I have only read the first two chapters because I, somehow, had managed to book myself into not one, not two but EIGHT book tours this month.
This is because I don’t like to say ‘no’ to people, especially not to Gollancz who were the first people to accept me as a genuine bookblogger.
So, I agreed to give the book my first impressions, knowing full well that I wasn’t going to get to read it in time for the blog tour.
I can tell you how much I love the dual nature of the cover with its striking blue/orange look and how I think that resonates with the overall “torn between two worlds” feel. I could tell you that I’m all in for Wen, even after only two chapters.
But what I really want to talk about is the feel.
I have read many Adult/YA high fantasy books and they always seem to start the same. In order to understand the vast world that we are about to enter we have to have a set-up that can include pages of explanation of history, dynastic succession or cultural make-up. Usually, this is in a prologue form.
Then, sometimes, you come across a book that starts with the character and plot and allows you to discover the world for yourself.
The first books are like sherbert lemons- you’ve got to suck on the bitter to get to the sweet part. The second are like Jelly Babies- they’re chewy right from the get-go and you get to bite the head off to start and it’s satisfying to imagine the screams of horror from those waiting in line to be eaten… ok, this metaphor got away from me slightly. Also, I’m hungry.
This book was definitely the latter. As soon as I started reading I fell into the world. I know very little about what is going on but it doesn’t matter because Wen, his parents and his Grandmother have already shown so much of themselves that I’m confident that the characters can carry it.
The story had me sinking into it, curling up on the sofa knowing that this was going to be an epic story that I would enjoy. It actually felt a little like when I started reading Lord of the Rings for the first time.
I can’t wait to find out about his obsession with magic and how it shapes him as a person. I’m looking forward to delving into his culture and the juxtaposition between his Sienese and Nayeni heritage.
So, my first impressions are very positive. I will definitely be carrying on reading and I hope to give a full review in due course.
If you liked The Poppy War, Rage of Dragons or Mistborn, I think you will enjoy the Hand of the King.
If you would like to read a full review please go to one of these wonderful bloggers to read their impressions.