A man stood beside the laurel, with his back to me. The aura that rippled from him was thick and opaque, like congealed grease. There was an odd familiarity about it, my senses prickling in warning.
I have mixed feelings while I am writing this review. I adored this book with every fibre of my being. It was everything I could have hoped for and so much more. But I am also sad and heartbroken that the series is over, and I won’t get to read any new stories from this world. I’m sure many bookworms have been through what I feel right now. Heart of the Sun Warrior is the second and final book in the Celestial Kingdom series. Like most fantasy series, you need to read the previous books before diving into the latest installment. Everything in this story is a result of what happened in Daughter of the Moon Goddess (the first book).
We pick up almost right after the end of the first book; Xingyin is back home with her mother on the moon and recovering from her dangerous encounter with the Celestial Emperor. Xingyin wants to live in peace and doesn’t want to get involved in political scheming in the Celestial Kingdom below. But danger and evil find their way to the moon and force Xingyin to flee her home again. What follows is a series of epic battles, shifting alliances, and the fight to save the world from an unimaginable evil.
The pacing of this book is much faster than the first one. The first few chapters in this book are quieter, but after that, things kick into gear and don’t slow down until the end. This fast-paced and twisty journey makes for one hell of a reading experience. You really can’t put this book down because you want to know what will happen next. And to be honest, time flies by without you knowing it. Even though the story is moving along faster, that vivid detail we have come to expect from Sue’s book is still there. The Celestial Kingdom comes to life through Sue’s words. I feel like I am being transported into this book. We get to explore new regions and meet new characters and creatures. I can’t get enough of this world, and it blows my mind how Sue can connect everything. Once again, I also love how she connects aspects of the Celestial Kingdom to Chinese folklore. It just gives the story that extra charm.
The characters, the characters, the characters. There wasn’t a character in this book or, heck, the series that I didn’t like, even those dastardly evil ones. Every character is well-developed and has a tremendous amount of depth. I got very attached to the characters. I was rooting for the good guys and shaking my fist at the evil wrongdoers. There is tremendous character growth happening in this series, and I was slowly peeling back layers as I was reading and learning more and more about these characters. They will make you laugh, cry, and have you cheering them on as the book progresses.
For those romance fans out there, you will be happy to know that the romantic love triangle between Xingyin, Liwei, and Wenzhi plays a more prominent part in this story. I did enjoy the romance in this story. I’m not always a fan of love triangles, but it works well for this book. This story is a clean romance, so if you are looking for a fantasy romance that is more like Jennifer L. Armentrout’s novels, you won’t find it here. I liked that it was a clean romance; it fits with the overall story and tone.
Heart of the Sun Warrior is one of my favourite adult fantasy reads!
Thank you, Harper Collins Canada, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.