I’m really excited about this review today, I absolutely loved Daughter of the Moon Goddess and Heart of the Sun Warrior was no different! I think this is one of my favorite duologies that I’ve read, and I can’t wait to get my Waterstones edition of Heart of the Sun Warrior soon!
Heart of the Sun Warrior
by Sue Lynn Tan
Series: The Celestial Kingdom Duology #2
Release date: November 10th, 2022
Related: Daughter of the Moon Goddess Review
After her perilous quest to free her mother, Xingyin thrives once more in the tranquility of her home. But her fragile peace is threatened by the discovery of a strange magic on the moon and the unsettling changes in the Celestial Kingdom as the emperor tightens his grip on power. While Xingyin is determined to keep clear of the rising danger, the discovery of a shocking truth spurs her into a treacherous confrontation.
Forced to flee her home once more, Xingyin and her companions venture to unexplored lands of the Immortal Realm, encountering legendary creatures and shrewd monarchs, beloved friends and bitter adversaries. With alliances shifting quicker than the tides, Xingyin has to overcome past grudges and enmities to forge a new path forward, seeking aid where she never imagined she would. As an unspeakable terror sweeps across the realm, Xingyin must uncover the truth of her heart and claw her way through devastation–to rise against this evil before it destroys everything she holds dear, and the worlds she has grown to love… even if doing so demands the greatest price of all.
Heart of the Sun Warrior is the sequel to Daughter of the Moon Goddess, and it definitely lived up to all the hype, and then some!
I loved the journey these characters went on, both the emotional journey and the physical journey. It felt like there was more emotion in this book (if that’s even possible), and I definitely found myself crying for the last 15% of this book.
Like with the first book, I adored the characters. Xingyin went through a lot in the first book, and just when you think she’ll be able to have peace and enjoy her freedom with her mother, their home is invaded and once again they are being persecuted and need to flee. I thought she had a lot of character growth in the first book, and in this one she really came into her own. Instead of fighting only for what she wanted, she fought for the good of the entire Immortal Realm and did what was needed to protect everyone, not just her family. I still love Liwei and Wenzhi like I did in the first book (despite the actions of one of them in the first book). This is the kind of love triangle that I can get behind – they clearly both have feelings for Xingyin, and while they don’t like each other, they’ll do whatever is necessary for Xingyin even if it means working together. I wasn’t as big of a fan of Liwei in this book in particular, I felt like his character really took a backseat and didn’t really add as much to this other than being the Celestial Heir.
The worldbuilding and writing was just as good, if not better in this than in the first book. I also found the pacing was much more solid. I mentioned in my review of the first book that the middle was a little slower and could’ve been shortened a little, and I didn’t feel that way at all about this book. In fact, I flew through this book because I just loved the characters so much.
The ending was so unexpected and was so bittersweet. It definitely felt like the right ending for this story, and as satisfying as this was, I can’t help but want another book just to check in with them and see if everything turns out okay and see how all the kingdoms are faring after war. For me, that’s the sign of a favorite book when I just want a follow up to see the characters in their everyday lives just to make sure these fictional characters are thriving. (There is an as of yet untitled novel set in this world and my fingers are definitely crossed!)
I still can’t believe that this duology is this author’s first published works, the writing is phenomenal, and I can’t wait to read more that she writes!