At the end of May The Fantasy Hive Team asked who would be interested in a readalong for She Who Became the Sun. This is a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while and since I finally got a physical copy I of course had to jump on this readalong. I’ve also found it a bit daunting, like The Poppy War, so I’m glad I’m not reading it alone.
Every week The Fantasy Hive is throwing some questions our way to answer, and like with the W&W readalongs I decided to answer them on my blog.
This is for week 1 (chapters 1 to 4).
First of all, before we get into the story itself, let’s chat about the Historical Note. Did you read it? Are you a fan of historical notes, generally?
I was actually very happy to see the historical note because I for one did not know all of the historical setting of She Who Became the Sun. And I won’t be the only one. It certainly added to the start of the story for me because I had a better idea of the world our characters were moving in, even if they were still far away removed from any of the political/rebellion happenings in this first part.
I can’t say I am a fan of the historical notes. I certainly haven’t read many books with a historical note like this. But in the way it was done in this book it was an asset for me.
As openings go, chapter 1 paints quite a bleak picture. What were your first impressions?
It certainly was a bleak start for Zhu and all the girls. Her being the last one in the immediate area sounds scary. Not having a mom and only being surrounded by a hostile father and brother (and other boys) sounds terryfing for a young girl. But it also showed just how good at survival she has always been. Has needed to be. Her taking the choices she did in further chapters are not a surprise in that light. She will do anything to survive. And she can.
What do you think the importance of her being able to see ghosts signifies? Is it a sign of her greatness or is it a punishment?
I don’t think I would see it as either. It is just a consequence that happened of the burden she carries with her. I think it left her open to the paranormal.
Morality of what she does to Prefect Fang?
I can’t say I agree, lol. But we aren’t following Zhu because she braids everyone’s hair. And to be fair, prefect Fang was an absolute asshole. Still I feel like she went into the fight or flight modus with it. And even though she choose to at least not kill him, maybe there were other options than this humilation.
What do we make of Xu Da’s reaction?
Ah Xu. He is a cinnamon roll. And smart. Of course he knew. I hope we will continue to see him in Zhu’s journey.
What do you think she’s going to do at the end of part one, help the abbott or switch sides?
I got the impression she was preparing herself to switch sides. As said, she is a survivor and she will not go down with anyone. She has no real allegiance with the abbott. Becoming a monk was just a way to surive.
The header graphic I used (and that you only see on my front page) was created by The Fantasy Hive.