The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas
Narrated by André Santana
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
In the world of Reina del Sol, the Sun’s power must be recharged every decade in order to continue traveling the skies and keeping the evil Obsidian gods at bay. Sol selects ten semidioses (children of the gods) to compete in the Sunbearer Trials: the winner will carry light to the Sol temple and the loser of the Trials will sacrifice themselves. Teo, the 17 year old semidiós child of the god of birds, is preparing to observe the coming Trials. Since he is the child of a lesser Jade god, he isn’t worried about being chosen by Sol to compete. His best friend Niya however, is a Gold semidiós and a sure bet as a competitor this year. But when Sol selects not one but two Jade semidioses to compete with the Golds in the Trials, things get complicated for Teo. Beyond the strange choices for competitors, something seems off during the Trials. Can he manage to keep from being at the bottom of the rankings during the Trials? And can he help Xio, the newly turned 13-year-old semidiós child of the god of bad luck?
Thomas’s book is a fun, fast-paced read for action, adventure and mythology lovers of all stripes. Teo is a realistic teen and a kind, strong-willed boy who works his hardest to help other people. Santana’s narration is spot on and is a great portrayal of a confused teen boy who just wants to do what is right. This first book in a duology will be a hit with fans of Thomas’ first novel Cemetery Boys, as well as for Percy Jackson fans and readers who enjoyed All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater.
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.