Review: The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas

Series: The Sunbearer Duology #1
Author: Aiden Thomas
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Released: September 6, 2022
Received: BookishFirst
Warnings: Bullying, sacrifice

4 kitties

The Sunbearer Trials has been on my TBR list for a hot minute now, and I am thrilled that I finally made some time to read it this weekend! It was SO worth it! Written by Aiden Thomas, this is the first novel in the Sunbearer Duology.

A new decade means it is time for the Sunbearer Trials to occur. The Sunbearer Trials are a famous event in which ten of the most powerful semidioses compete for the right to be Sunbearer. Those chosen are handpicked by Sol.

Enter Teo, a seventeen-year-old semidios. Since most chosen are of the Gold rank, and Teo is Jade, there didn’t seem to be much cause for concern. There was no chance that Teo would be picked to enter the challenges. So Teo’s most significant concern had been for his friend, Nina, as she was guaranteed a spot in the Trials. You can probably guess what happens next…

“It was true, he wasn’t a Hero. But it wasn’t like anyone had given him a chance to be.”

When I first heard about The Sunbearer Trials, it was described as a fantasy version of The Hunger Games, but with more representation. To say that I was utterly sold on the concept would be the understatement of the year.

That begs the question – did The Sunbearer Trials live up to this vivid and exciting description? Yes, yes, it most certainly did! Not only did it live up to those expectations, but it found new ways to surprise and delight me.

There is so much to take in throughout this one novel. We have Teo and his story, the story of all the semidios, magical cities, and trials. It’s a lot to take in. Honestly, I wouldn’t have minded a bit more time spent learning about all these elements. But I’ll take what I can get.

Teo is by far my favorite character. His story is compelling, his personality is bold but bright, and the personal journey he is on is quite intense. The vivid imagery of his wings along would have been enough to keep me reading, though, if we’re being honest. That was a brilliant detail to include.

The trials take readers to several different cities in this world, giving us a chance to see how each city operates, how their ideals differentiate, and how the semidios of the area act. Once again, this was all utterly fascinating.

Nothing can be complete with the story of the trials themselves. I’m sure every reader had a theory for what was happening and how it would end. Myself included. I should probably mention that I didn’t know The Sunbearer Trials was the first in a duology, so you can imagine my surprise at how it concluded!

Thanks to Feiwel & Friends and #BookishFirst for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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