The Seventh Sun by Lani Forbes

The god sacrificed themselves to save us. We owe them blood.’

A bitter/sweet love story set in a South American world modeled after the ancient Mayan, Incan, and Aztec societies…  After the death of his emperor father, the Chicome prince is forced to choose a bride from the representatives sent from the six regions of the kingdom. Each represent the past apocalypses that have destroyed and then saved the people. Six princesses sent to the capital: one will be chosen, the rest will be sacrificed to appease the all mighty sun god. 

The competitors are put through a series of tests to show their ability to manipulate their magical connection to the natural world and their adherence to the religious Codex. Ahkin, the prince, and the royal matchmaker judge the young women and while she may not be what she seems, Mayana of the water region catches his eye. Underneath her confident exterior, she questions her own convictions and faith in the society she lives in… Will she be exposed? How will it affect her standing in the marriage contest? All these are bubbling under the surface as individual regions may be flexing their muscles at the thought of the capital’s possible weakness. 

I have not read a book where romance takes such a prominent role… and the young love was well done. I was taken with the innocence of the two, and their pure feelings. And the mix of expectations and outside forces make the situation realistic. 

While the first half sets up the world and the characters, the second half follows through with great scenes of action that open up the narrative to the potential devastation of a coming apocalypse. Combine that with the warring factions in the kingdom and the tension between Mayana and Ahkin, and this book really takes off. 

All in all, a book that I would definitely recommend to my students as well as any fans of YA fantasy. 

4 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to Edelweiss, Blackstone Publishing, and the author for an advanced copy for review. 

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