Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott

Unconquerable Sun (The Sun Chronicles, #1)

by Kate Elliott

'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.

Reviewed by Quirky Cat on

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

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 6 July, 2020: Finished reading
  • 6 July, 2020: Reviewed