Unconquerable Sun (The Sun Chronicles, #1)

by Kate Elliott

4 of 5 stars 3 ratings • 3 reviews • 7 shelved
Book cover for Unconquerable Sun

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Unconquerable Sun (The Sun Chronicles, #1)

by Kate Elliott

4 of 5 stars 3 ratings • 3 reviews • 7 shelved

'An entertaining shoot-'em-up, replete with epic starship battles, court intrigue and Machiavellian betrayals' Guardian

It has been eight centuries since the beacon system failed, sundering the heavens. Rising from the ashes of the collapse, cultures have fought, system-by-system, for control of the few remaining beacons. The Republic of Chaonia is one such polity. Surrounded by the Yele League and the vast Phene Empire, they have had to fight for their existence. After decades of conflict, Queen-Marshal Eirene has brought the Yele to heel.

Now it is time to deal with the Empire. Princess Sun, daughter and heir, has come of age.

In her first command, she drove a Phene garrison from the beacons of Na Iri - an impressive feat. But growing up in the shadow of her mother - a ruler both revered and feared - has been no easy task. While Sun may imagine that her victorious command will bring further opportunity to prove herself, it will in fact place her on the wrong side of court politics. There are those who would like to see Sun removed as heir, or better yet, dead. To survive, the princess must rely on her wits and companions: her biggest rival, her secret lover, and a dangerous prisoner of war.

  • ISBN10 1800243200
  • ISBN13 9781800243200
  • Publish Date 1 October 2020 (first published 7 July 2020)
  • Publish Status Active
  • Publish Country GB
  • Imprint Head of Zeus
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 528
  • Language English

Reviews

Avatar for ashley

Ashley 4 of 5 stars
4.5 stars.

The first quarter-ish is pretty slow and I was concerned... But hang in there! It turns into non-stop action after that and gets super good!

Avatar for adecker

Austine (NovelKnight) 3 of 5 stars
Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight!

This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The last time I read a Kate Elliott book, I remembered liking the first book of the series well enough, and loving the sequel. Which I really hope ends up being the case for Unconquerable Sun and the Sun Chronicles series because I liked this book, but I didn't love it.

The synopsis promised a gender-swapped Alexander the Great (you know, except in space) which, okay, I can see it, but I'm not familiar enough with Alexander the Great's life to really catch any specific nods to the source material. That said, I don't think that stopped me from enjoying this book by any means. We get some kickass ladies dominating space. Can't beat that.

From a story standpoint, it's fairly straightforward. Through multiple perspectives, we see a princess attempting to live up to her mother's legacy while also standing out for her own accomplishments, one of her companions trying to live the life she wants rather than the one her family set forth for her, and a pilot who's just trying to live her best life in her fighter craft. But all parties are building toward the inevitable clash of sworn enemies in deep space.

With multiple PoVs, though, I ended up with a favorite and it wasn't the so-called protagonist Princess Sun. Apama, the pilot I mentioned, probably has the smallest role in the book overall. For the first like five chapters, all we see is Sun. After that we get Apama and Persephone at somewhat odd points. I was jarred out of the story almost immediately when each one was introduced which didn't work in any of the characters' favor.

In addition, I never really cared much for Princess Sun. She was showcased as this politically savvy strategy master but of all the characters I feel like we knew her the least, she was so distanced from the reader. Persephone was better and I liked her but found her to be a bit judgmental too. Not bad, and definitely preferable to Sun's chapters. And then there was Apama who got the least page time but I wanted to know more! She was a pilot thrust into a mysterious situation and became involved in the game of conquerors without realizing it. There was something so relatable about her and I hope she gets more chapters in the sequel.

Also this book is supposed to have a sapphic romance and it does but... it really didn't feel like the primary romance at all which was such a shame. Would have liked to see it more at the forefront especially when a "secret lover" is mentioned in the synopsis and felt like an afterthought in the story itself, especially when the characters in question could have simply had a close friendship and achieved the same results.

Unconquerable Sun really comes down to its characters carrying the story. The plot was perfectly fine and entertaining but I didn't find that WOW factor. I had a bit of trouble with the writing at the start and the way it took me out of the book several times but that eventually settled once all the character PoVs were introduced. The character made this story what it was and are also why I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped.

That said, I think Unconquerable Sun was a good series starter and I'll definitely pick up the sequel to see how things play out.

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Avatar for quirkycat

Quirky Cat 5 of 5 stars
I received a copy of Unconquerable Sun in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Kate Elliot is back and with an all-new tale. Or retelling, as the case may be. Here she's taken Alexander the Great and done something new with the core concept. She shot it into space and started playing with the genders of the primary characters.

Princess Sun is the daughter of Eirene, and living up to her legend (and expectations) has been anything but easy. Now Princess Sun is of age, and it seems like there are more plans for her than ever. All of which require her wit, intelligence, and allies in order to stand a chance at surviving.

“She could not shake the sense she was merely a potentially useful tool in her parents' personal tool kits, a piece held in reserve within the larger game they were playing.”

A gender-bent retelling of Alexander the Great? In space? Sign me up! Seriously, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book, and when I finally did I devoured it. So saying I went into it with high expectations would be the understatement of the century.

Did it live up to those expectations? Yes. Yes, it most certainly did. Unconquerable Sun lived up to the hype created by the comparisons made – and then surpassed them. This is a novel full of unique twists and turns, all while telling a story we're familiar with.

That isn't to say that Kate Elliot made it easy. All of the major players are there, but sometimes you have to look for them. There's no hand-holding here, and likewise, you cannot expect to have it all clearly laid out for you. Personally, I kind of enjoyed that extra level of intellectual depth. It isn't every day that you can find a retelling that expects you to figure out some of the components on your own.

“What my family wants harmed, I will. Even if Sun is a bitch.”

They say that there are two sides to every story. I don't think I could find a clearer example to that expression than what is here. Sun's story is not one-sided, and that went such a long way in showing the truth of what was happening.

Okay, the fact that Unconquerable Sun is also a space opera was not lost on me. In fact, that was without a doubt one of my favorite parts about this story. It made everything feel vibrant and alive once again, letting the setting, characters, and planets create organic changes as they progressed through this world (well, universe). It was refreshing in ways that I could not have expected. But then again, I do adore a well-written space opera.

I've been a fan of Kate Elliot for a while now, but I feel like Unconquerable Sun really showed what she's capable of, writing-wise. I was blown away by it and sincerely cannot wait to see what she thinks of next. Also, it did make me want to go back and read her previous works (like I have so much spare time to do that, but still!).

Check out more reviews over at Quirk Cat's Fat Stacks