First Lines Fridays (16) – July 30, 2021

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Today’s First Lines:

“Zhongli village lay flattened under the sun like a defeated dog that has given up on finding shade. All around there was nothing bu the bare yellow earth, cracked into the pattern of a turtle’s shell, and the sere bone smell of hot dust. It was the fourth year of the drought.”

Do you know which book this is from? Scroll down to find out!

Title: She Who Became the Sun

Author: Shelley Parker-Chan

Publication Date: July 20, 2021

Goodreads Synopsis

Mulan meets The Song of Achilles in Shelley Parker-Chan’s She Who Became the Sun, a bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty from an amazing new voice in literary fantasy.

To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything


“I refuse to be nothing…”

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.

When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.

After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

Thoughts & Comments

I’m so excited about this book, and I can’t wait to get to it as part of my Trope-ical Readathon TBR next month!

Does this book sound like something you would like? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!

One thought on “First Lines Fridays (16) – July 30, 2021

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