Hidden Sun
An eccentric noblewoman scientist's journey into a hostile environment will change her world forever, in this enthralling fantasy novel.Rhia Harlyn is a noble in Shen, one of the dozens of shadowlands which separate the bright, alien skyland. She has a missing brother, an unwanted marriage proposal and an interest in science considered unbecoming in her gender. Her brother's disappearance coincided with a violent unsolved murder, and Rhia impulsively joins the search party headed into the skyland - a place whose dangers and wonders have long fascinated her. The dangerous journey brings her into conflict with a young rebel stuck between the worlds of shadow and light, and a charismatic cult leader who believes he can defeat death itself.File Under: Fantasy [ Secret Science - Iron Age - Caravan of Courage - Into the Light ]

Hidden Sun Details

TitleHidden Sun
Author
ReleaseSep 4th, 2018
PublisherAngry Robot
ISBN-139780857668011
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Sci Fi Fantasy, Science Fiction

Hidden Sun Review

  • The Captain
    January 1, 1970
    **** trigger warning – attempted rape scene, gang rape description, self-harm, violence, drug use ****Ahoy there mateys!  While I normally do not post spoilers on me reviews this post WILL contain several of them due to the nature of the discussion.  It will also be very long.  If the trigger warnings and spoilers be not to yer taste then read further at yer own peril.I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .This fantasy boo **** trigger warning – attempted rape scene, gang rape description, self-harm, violence, drug use ****Ahoy there mateys!  While I normally do not post spoilers on me reviews this post WILL contain several of them due to the nature of the discussion.  It will also be very long.  If the trigger warnings and spoilers be not to yer taste then read further at yer own peril.I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .This fantasy book had many issues that led to a slow start and confusion, especially at the beginning.  But I enjoyed enough elements to get to the 90% mark.  Then what happened pissed me off.  I was so close to the end that I was going to finish the approximately 45 pages I had left.  But every time I tried to read the remaining bit, I would find meself angry again. When I ranted me thoughts to the first mate, I realized that it was time to stop reading this book altogether.  I was also unsure about whether I wanted to write a review at all even though that's me own rule for the log.  It is supposed to be a history of me readin' thoughts for good or bad.  And then I realized that I had to object to the treatment of rape in this book because what the author chose to do is in me mind, not only unnecessary, but horrific.Now to be fair, I don't usually include trigger warnings in me posts.  I have only done so one other time because of the nature of that particular book.  It was well-written, thought-provoking, and I liked the book even if it was extremely hard to read.  It was marketed as a YA dystopian and was graphic in certain ways that I felt potential readers should be warned about.  That book is not for every reader. But the lack of trigger warnings in me reviews come down to genre.  For example, I can read grimdark where rape, murder, and other unsavoury things happen all the time.  Some of me favourite books have these elements in them - like in the Game of Thrones series or the First Law Trilogy.  A fantasy book with wars will have battles and blood.  A romance book might have sex scenes.  Readers chose their reading material based on taste, preference, and personal history. For a milder personal example: when I was in grad school I had an experience where a male wearing no pants trapped me in me office and masturbated in the doorway in front of me.  I honestly at this point cannot say if he said anything or not.  The clearest memories of the situation are 1) that I calmly remained sitting in my office chair; 2) I had a screw driver sitting on top of a tool box and contemplated stabbing him with it if he tried to attack me; and 3) after some time I calmly yet forcefully told him to leave my office.  I have no idea how long he stood there or any other details.  What I do know it that it happened early in the afternoon not even 5:00 pm.  There were a ton of people at the other end of the long hallway who heard and saw nothing.  And the police who came proceeded to tell me it wasn't a big deal.  And the experience put me in a state of shock that was odd to process afterwards.I tell that story, not for sympathy or even comment, but because as a women living in the rich, fairly safe country of the U.S., rape is a legitimate concern.  It is a concern for all women regardless of background, race, wealth, age, country, etc.  For some men too, I don't deny that happens.  So as a women and book blogger in the current era of #metoo and where women everywhere are trying to eliminate socially acceptable rape culture, I couldn't keep silent when I see rape being mishandled in this fantasy novel.So in this book, one of the women, Rhia is an extremely intelligent noble women who sets off to a quest to find her brother, Etyan.  He ran away and Rhia suspects him of murder.  Yet she loves him and wants to protect him.  Well long story short, when her brother is dying, he confesses on his deathbed that he did not murder the girl but did participate in a gang rape.  He supposedly was going to apologize and then found her dead body, panicked, and fled the country.  The author used gang rape as a convenient plot point to have a character do something.  Rape as a plot point is not only lazy but horrible.  There are a million possible other issues that could have replaced the rape with NO change to the overall story.Now I thought the brother was horrible and assumed after his death that Rhia is finally going to realize her brother's true nature and grow and become the hero of the story.  But of course not.  One of the next things that happen is that Rhia is then subjected to a beating and an attempted rape where her brother, miraculously living, beats the would-be-rapist with a rock and then lets him live.  So there is another rape scene that serves no purpose beyond "oh look bad guy is still alive."  Rape as another plot point.And here I should also mention that there was an earlier scene where the other main female character earlier has sex with this same bad guy due to low self-esteem and unpleasantly loses her virginity to him.  I should have known then but given the nature of the character and her reasons for why she did it, it unsettled me but made some sense in terms of character and culture context.But the final straw that made me fury explode was when Rhia who has just barely missed being raped herself and was pummeled and barely survived says this in response to her brother being alive:"'But she needed to see beyond.  Etyan's confession.  He had done something terrible, but not as terrible as she feared.  And he had not acted alone.  Had, in fact, been led on by his noble cronies, as he so often was . . . For now, I need you to know that I will stand by you.'  Despite what you did."NO NO NO.  She justifies her brother's behavior!  Etyan's drunkenness and  drug use DOES NOT excuse him.  His friends' encouragement DOES NOT excuse him.  His remorse DOES NOT excuse him.  Because it was rape and not murder DOES NOT excuse him.  Because he rescued his sister from her own potential rape DOES NOT excuse him.  Her love of her brother DOES NOT excuse him.  He only confessed when he was dying and then once he miraculously recovers expects his sister to forget all about it and asks her to cover up his crime. Jaine Fenn should be ashamed of herself.  Rape was used as plot points three times in this book and then the author excuses the behavior each time.  Once because the woman agreed to the sex initially, once because the "bad guy" did it but was stopped, and the last because the of the love the sister has for the brother.  This is unacceptable, horrific, and disgusting.  So lastly . . .While I am grateful to Angry Robot Books for giving me a review copy, this be my call to the publishing house to make a better effort at eliminating status quo of rape culture where women deserve rape and rape is valid to be used for no other purpose than a plot point.  Arrrr!Check out me other reviews at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    Note: I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.My favorite genre is science fiction, even though I started out loving fantasy twenty years ago when I started developing my own tastes. I have always read some fantasy, mainly those works described as the best in the genre, or works that are some sort of crossover (like post-apocalyptic novels were old technology/knowledge is magic). Anyway, when Hidden Sun by Jaine Fenn, published by Angry Robot, came Note: I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.My favorite genre is science fiction, even though I started out loving fantasy twenty years ago when I started developing my own tastes. I have always read some fantasy, mainly those works described as the best in the genre, or works that are some sort of crossover (like post-apocalyptic novels were old technology/knowledge is magic). Anyway, when Hidden Sun by Jaine Fenn, published by Angry Robot, came up for review on NetGalley I was intrigued by the description of a noblewoman scientist on a quest in the skyland. Fenn describes it as science-fantasy, and while I like a bit more science in this mix, at least there was some science and technology to be found in Hidden Sun.Rhia Harlyn is that noblewoman. Her mother died giving birth to her brother, and after her father, a natural enquirer died, she took up his research, even though it isn't proper for a woman. This has brought her trouble in the past, as she doesn't want to marry, afraid her husband might forbid her research. Her brother is the head of the family, but she's the older and wiser one. One night, after another fight with her brother about his drinking, drug use and general unwillingness to take his role seriously, he disappears. Months later she joins the search party for him to a rival city, travelling by caravan from one Shadowland to another. This caravan crosses the Skyland, a place where the sun is so bright, the life so hostile, that Shadowlanders cannot live there. The Skylanders escort the caravan. Skylanders are humans, but after being raised in a crèche in the Shadowland, they return to the Skyland to be bonded with an animus. In this story we meet Rhia, the noblewoman from the Shadowland, Dej is a Skyland youth in a crèche, and Sakhat is a priest in another Shadowland-city preforming some kind of experiment.As my attempt at a short summary shows, there is a quite a bit of world-building in this book. It is already planned to be the first part in a series, and it shows. A lot of groundwork is done by describing the world, the politics, the traditions, the people and the characters. The stories of each characters feel like a long prologue to establish them, with a short bit of action in the last quarter of the book. The character of Rhia is the main character, and while the other stories do influence hers, they do seem to be there sometimes just to provide a bit of backstory or world-building. I too have read the scathing one-star review on Goodreads, discussing the three rape-ish scenes in the book. They felt unnecessary to me too, although I wasn't that upset or triggered by them. They just felt out of place, and I do wonder if there wasn't any other way to influence the characters. I liked the world Fenn created, I am intrigued by the whole Shadowland/Skyland setup. I did feel that some elements, like Rhia's scientific discoveries didn't have much to do with this story, and are probably (hopefully) a start on something for the next novel. The story itself... I don't know. Like I said, it shows to be part one in a series, and that takes away some of the story on its own. Still, an interesting world, and a good tale, so four out of five stars from me.
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  • Rachel Noel
    January 1, 1970
    *Book provided via NetGalley for an honest review.This book was an intriguing introduction to an interesting world. It is well written and has some interesting characters and plot developments. The travel from Shen to Zekt provided some insight into the differences between the Shadowlands and the Skylands, the Skylands are on plateaus and are dangerously bright and hot for Shadowkin. And these plateaus and flatlands are in a honeycomb kind of pattern. You never get two Shadowlands or Skylands ne *Book provided via NetGalley for an honest review.This book was an intriguing introduction to an interesting world. It is well written and has some interesting characters and plot developments. The travel from Shen to Zekt provided some insight into the differences between the Shadowlands and the Skylands, the Skylands are on plateaus and are dangerously bright and hot for Shadowkin. And these plateaus and flatlands are in a honeycomb kind of pattern. You never get two Shadowlands or Skylands next to each other.In order to survive the Skylands, Skykin children must undergo a bonding ceremony and be bonded with what is called an animus. This changes their physical and psychological nature. It gives them a magical talent (i.e. pathfinding) and gives them the kind of scaly skin, muscles and reflexes needed to survive the creatures of the Skylands. And if you have a damaged animus, you have to join the clanless, the lowest caste in the Skylands. The clanless tend to live down to that reputation.This book wasn't really easy for me to get into. I had problems visualizing the world. I get it, but it was still difficult for me to visualize. I guess I was at odds with myself while reading because Rhia mentioned seeing a building built by the ancients and all I could think of was that this was a post-apocalyptic Earth or space colony and I was waiting for the big reveal. I accidentally made it more difficult on myself to get into the world.That being said, I still liked the book. It's got an interesting blend of characters and three different, interesting, intersecting story lines. I really felt for Dej. I was encouraged by Rhia's scientific curiosity. I was intrigued by Sadakh's role in everything. I know there is more going on than meets the eye and it's well worth a read.
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  • Jacey
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed from an ARC.Jaine Fenn has a gift for building unusual and fascinating worlds. The shadowlands are protected from the deadly sun and exist as autonomous city states. Between the city states the skylands are deadly. Exposure to solar radiation is lethal for non-adapted humans. Only the skykin – bonded with a symbiote – can survive there, and even then everything about it (the lands and the wildlife it harbours) is deadly.Rhia is a noble of Shen, one of the Shadowlands. She's a Natural En Reviewed from an ARC.Jaine Fenn has a gift for building unusual and fascinating worlds. The shadowlands are protected from the deadly sun and exist as autonomous city states. Between the city states the skylands are deadly. Exposure to solar radiation is lethal for non-adapted humans. Only the skykin – bonded with a symbiote – can survive there, and even then everything about it (the lands and the wildlife it harbours) is deadly.Rhia is a noble of Shen, one of the Shadowlands. She's a Natural Enquirer, the closest thing to a scientist Shen has, but it's not a seemly task for a woman. Her feckless younger brother is missing, reportedly having crossed the skylands to another shadowland, and a girl has been brutally murdered. Is there a connection? Rhia hopes not, yet when the Duke sends three soldiers to escort him home she feels compelled to join the party. Dej is destined to be a bonded skykin, but we first meet her in a shadowland crèche where she's a little troublemaker. Imperfectly bonded to her symbiote, she's no better off in the skylands, ending up clanless. Meanwhile a priest is carrying out illicit experiments with recovered skykin symbiotes, seeking the secret of immortality. Viewpoint shifts between these three characters, but it isn't until the last third of the book that the Dej and Rhia strands mesh. The story resolves, but there are still many unanswered questions about the world that Ms. Fenn will hopefully answer in the next book. Highly recommended.
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  • Nichole
    January 1, 1970
    Rhia is a noblewoman. It is not acceptable for a woman to run her own household. Many of the merchants won't deal with a woman. She is a scientist. She just wants to study the environment and be left alone. With a marriage proposal on the table, Rhia must go on a journey to find her brother, otherwise she may have to accept the proposal. Rhia is also shadowkin. Shadowkin live in the shadowlands. There are also skykin. They live in the skylands. Skylands are dangerous for shadowkin. They can't be Rhia is a noblewoman. It is not acceptable for a woman to run her own household. Many of the merchants won't deal with a woman. She is a scientist. She just wants to study the environment and be left alone. With a marriage proposal on the table, Rhia must go on a journey to find her brother, otherwise she may have to accept the proposal. Rhia is also shadowkin. Shadowkin live in the shadowlands. There are also skykin. They live in the skylands. Skylands are dangerous for shadowkin. They can't be out during the day because the sun will kill them. During the night, there are other unfamiliar dangers to worry about. Rhia must pass through the skylands on her journey to Zekt to find her brother. It's a dangerous journey, but the scientist in Rhia is also excited. She has always wanted to know more about the skykin. This could be her chance to have all of her questions answered. But, her main goal is to find her brother and bring him home. What she doesn't know is that there are others looking for her brother as well. This book was very interesting. The world is very unusual and fascinating. I loved Rhia's character. She is such a strong and smart woman. I'm interested in reading more from this author.I received a copy from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Liesl
    January 1, 1970
    "Hidden Sun" is split between three narrators: a female scientist who is investigating the disappearance of her brother; a girl who is on the cusp of becoming "skykin"; and a priest engaging in some kind of anatomical investigation. I really loved how the three stories wove in and out of each other, to finally start to come together in the end. Rhia's story was probably most of interest to me. I loved hearing about her scientific experiments, the Natural Enquirers were a really cool bit of world "Hidden Sun" is split between three narrators: a female scientist who is investigating the disappearance of her brother; a girl who is on the cusp of becoming "skykin"; and a priest engaging in some kind of anatomical investigation. I really loved how the three stories wove in and out of each other, to finally start to come together in the end. Rhia's story was probably most of interest to me. I loved hearing about her scientific experiments, the Natural Enquirers were a really cool bit of worldbuilding and I liked how how her discoveries paralleled certain real life scientific breakthroughs. This was probably also in part because the difference between skykin and shadowkin were explained as and when needed by the story, which led for a confusing start with the other two sections. Overall, I loved the mystery and political drama elements of the book. Definitely will be checking out the next one!Thank you Netgalley for giving me an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jo (Mixed Book Bag)
    January 1, 1970
    Hidden Sun follows three different people giving you three different points of view. It is not until the end that you find out how the three are connected. Shadowlands and Skylands are two very different parts of this unusual world. Each is inhabited by different types. The world and characters Fenn built are very different. It took me awhile to wrap my head around what she created and to become invested in the characters but the wait was worth it. This was a slow start and at the end it left a Hidden Sun follows three different people giving you three different points of view. It is not until the end that you find out how the three are connected. Shadowlands and Skylands are two very different parts of this unusual world. Each is inhabited by different types. The world and characters Fenn built are very different. It took me awhile to wrap my head around what she created and to become invested in the characters but the wait was worth it. This was a slow start and at the end it left a lot unanswered and available to use in the next book.I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.
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  • Elisabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Fantasy with a strong science component, good characters, decent adventure, complete but with ground laid for the future.
  • Angel Hench
    January 1, 1970
    This is a promising start to a new sci-fi/fantasy series. I will be looking forward to the next installment.(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.
  • Nic
    January 1, 1970
    Read for review in SFX.
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Rhia is...unconventional, to say the least. She is a noble lady - but one who spurns the idea of a conventional marriage, because she knows that a conventional man would not allow his wife to continue with her scientific studies. She is also the acting head of household - as her brother disappeared the night a young lady was murdered. When she hears that her brother has been located, she decides to join the party going to fetch him, figuring she can see to her brother *and* her studies at the sa Rhia is...unconventional, to say the least. She is a noble lady - but one who spurns the idea of a conventional marriage, because she knows that a conventional man would not allow his wife to continue with her scientific studies. She is also the acting head of household - as her brother disappeared the night a young lady was murdered. When she hears that her brother has been located, she decides to join the party going to fetch him, figuring she can see to her brother *and* her studies at the same time. When her path crosses with a skyborn who is only half-bonded, one who has no real history other than the one created for her at an orphanage...Full review at vampirebookclub.net
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