And the Jade Bones by Lani Forbes

In less than a week, I’ve driven over forty hours just so I could attend my brother’s wedding. Totally worth it, but I’m exhausted. The only reason I even have a book to review is because I won The Seventh Sun audiobook in a drawing last month and I saved it just for my trip.

So, here’s my review:

The Seventh Sun by Lani Forbes

Young Adult Fantasy

Prince Akhin, reeling from his parents’ sudden deaths, feels unready to rule the Chicome people, unready to honor the sacrifice-heavy codices laid out by the gods, unready even to use his royal blood to harness the power of the sun and raise it into the sky each morning. With the people uneasy, and the sun mysteriously fading, Akhin may be right to doubt himself.

Mayana, a royal whose blood controls water, is one of six noble daughters sent to the royal city to vie for the role of Empress–many against their will. Those not chosen will be sacrificed to the gods, and Mayana–with her blasphemous questions about the bloody rituals that keep their world safe–is the last woman the devout Akhin is likely to choose.

And yet, the attraction is undeniable.

But can Mayana win the heart of a prince when she keeps her own heart hidden away? And does Akhin have the power to rule the sun, or will his weakness bring on the next apocalypse?

I truly enjoyed the story, and not just because I was trapped in a car with nothing else to do. The plot was exciting, the Aztec/Egyptian background breathtaking, the characters larger than life with their magic and royalty, yet down-to-earth with their worries and fumbles.

The book even had me questioning some of my own beliefs. How often do we do things because it’s the way we’ve always done them? How many of our “rules” are simply the preferences of someone who died centuries ago?

My biggest complaint is that these books are a trilogy (for some reason, I had it in my head that it was a duology). The Jade Bones ended on an even worse cliff hanger than The Seventh Sun, and now I have to wait for book three to be published before I can find out what happens!

Now, a quick review about the audiobooks in particular. As I said, I won the first one and listened to the whole thing on my trek to my brother’s wedding. For the way home, I caved and bought The Jade Bones on audible. I was…disappointed.

The narrator seemed too focused on making her voice deep and the male voices came off flat. This wasn’t so bad in The Seventh Sun where Prince Akhin is the only main male character, and the lack of emotions fit his logical personality. But The Jade Bones features more males characters, and once I noticed they all sounded the same, I couldn’t unheard it. Eventually, I turned it off so I could finish the book myself and let my brain give those poor guys some feelings.

Still, I’m grateful to the narrator for book one, and for providing a pronunciation guide. It was so strange seeing the names spelled out and trying to figure out which was which, and wondering where certain sounds came from.

Summary: Definitely recommend the books. Recommend The Seventh Sun audio with minor reservations, and don’t recommend the audio for The Jade Bones.

Sex – kissing and touching, a little over-the-top for my taste, but I’m not a big romance reader.

Swearing – sadly, yes, and I was disappointed since it really would have been easy to avoid. It was fairly light, but still there.