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He Who Drowned the World: the epic sequel to the Sunday Times bestselling historical fantasy She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor, 2)

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I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to really immerse myself into this because it had been a while since I’d read SWBTS.

But to Zhu, whose general was her brother in all but blood, their distant shapes were as easily distinguished as two faces. Zhu realizes she can’t go it alone and makes an unlikely alliance with someone who is more like her than he realizes.I can just imagine the sets, the landscape, the cities etc, visually I want this book to be made into an anime like Ooku or Blue Eyed Samurai.

Not that I was unmoved by the end of part two, but it did feel like this was the emotional crescendo when the plot itself hadn’t yet finished. Overall, He Who Drowned the World has a taste for the dramatic I don’t share but the last part was addicting enough to leave me with a positive memory. Ultimately, The Radiant Emperor duology focuses on a collection of different characters who are all people that the world does not want to win.But He Who Drowned the World continues the first book's pattern of exuding a strange level of empathy for every character on the page, even while it never excuses their actions.

I wish the last chapter had been longer because there was no epilogue and I wanted to know more of what happened after the end. If you haven't read She Who Became the Sun, then you're almost certainly going to be confused by this book. Parker-Chan’s exquisitely wrought prose brings light and nuance to the novel’s immense themes of gender, power and fate.Stationary and yet soaring on her hilltop, she had the curious sensation of seeing her entire path to her future stretching before her.

Zhu in particular manages to inhabit a world that is neither entirely male or female and succeed in part because of that distinction. We know as well as she does that 'desire is the cause of all suffering,' and that 'the greater the desire, the greater the suffering, and now she desired greatness itself,' but how much is too much for Zhu to bear?The beginning of part three has a line that would have been the perfect cliffhanger ending to this book (I don't know why I would want that but it would have been awesome). Her desire was the radiance of the sun, an immensity that filled every part of her without exception. That was Xu Da’s unmonkishly tall frame, his joyful stride that of a young man eager to taste the world.

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