The Hand of the Sun King by J.T. Greathouse

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’m going to keep this short. The Hand of the Sun King is one of the best coming-of-age fantasy novels I have read in a long time.

Here are some things that I liked:

  • The relationships between teacher and student. As a teacher and coach myself, every time I see an interaction of learning I take note. How is teacher breaking down the skill/ knowledge in order to help the student digest the information? What kind of motivation does the player have to learn? And how does the teacher reach for that motivation? Greathouse provides Wen Alder/ Foolish Cur several mentors in which to explore these themes.
  • The power of the story. Wen/ Foolish learns through experience, but also through the power of myth and legend. Both sides of his family, both cultures teach lessons and morals through tales. Some are more elegant and flowery and some are blunt and harsh. Wen/ Foolish not only has to understand the message, but needs to decide whether to and how to apply it to his own life.
  • The pacing. As Wen Alder progresses through his learning, each chapter is a different lesson on his road to becoming the Hand.
  • Impressive worldbuilding and magic system. Read the book… they’re great! (told you I was trying to keep it shortūüėā)

Overall. A book I will be recommending to many in the new year!

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