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Equal of the Sun: A Novel
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Equal of the Sun: A Novel

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,100 ratings  ·  286 reviews
Legendary women—from Anne Boleyn to Queen Elizabeth I to Mary, Queen of Scots—changed the course of history in the royal courts of sixteenth-century England. They are celebrated in history books and novels, but few people know of the powerful women in the Muslim world, who formed alliances, served as key advisers to rulers, lobbied for power on behalf o ...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Scribner (first published 2012)
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If you are like me and love your historical novels but are sick to death of reading about the same historical eras over and over, this is the novel for you. I had no clue about how much I DIDN’T know about Iranian royal politics until I started reading Equal of the Sun.

This is one of those books that when you are not reading it, you are thinking about it. And when you are reading it you are fully submerged in the atmosphere. Anita Amirrezvani does an excellent job of fording a believable and re
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways

Rating: 2* of five (p68)

The Book Description: Legendary women—from Anne Boleyn to Queen Elizabeth I to Mary, Queen of Scots—changed the course of history in the royal courts of sixteenth-century England. They are celebrated in history books and novels, but few people know of the powerful women in the Muslim world, who formed alliances, served as key advisers to rulers, lobbied for power on behalf of their sons, and ruled in their own right. In Eq
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I did not like this. I'm no longer giving specifics for books I don't like, because answering comments from disagree-ers steals too much of my time. Good Reads needs to add another check box option, "Allow comments on this review?" yes/no. Until that happens, y'all will just have to guess at my reasons for low ratings.
Fascinating historical novel based in Iran during the late 1500s. The drama surrounding a woman, Princess Pari, who should be the ruler but can't because she is a woman, and her eunuch, Javaher, is intense. The author is able to convey so much through her words. Everything about this story is sensory. We can hear the lilting cadence of the dialogue, we can feel the soft carpets under our feet, we can easily visualize the bright colours of the clothing and jewels, we wish we could smell and taste ...more
The Lit Bitch
If you have spent any time in the historical fiction section of your local library or bookstore you will find that most of the genre is dominated by Tudor era and WWII era fiction mostly set in England.

Let’s face it, those are the post popular periods and settings for HF. So if you are like me, you probably get really excited when you spot something of a new setting and era!

That’s exactly what happened when I discovered Equal of the Sun! Since I don’t know much about near/middle eastern history
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Set in 16th century Iran, this rich and detailed historical novel follows Javaher, a eunuch who becomes confidante, spy, and vizier for the Shah's brilliant, passionate, and greatly underutilized daughter, Princess Pari Khan Khanoom. As the novel opens, Javaher has just joined Pari's household, and as the Shah's favorite daughter, both Pari and Javaher have enormous access to the Shah's household staff, the courtiers, and the other nobles. For Pari, this allows her to better understand the facti ...more
May 18, 2012 Iset rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Iset by: GoodReads giveaways
Full disclosure: I won this through GoodReads giveaways, and received an ARC. The finished novel will be published in June, and the ARC instructed me not to quote as the text may differ from the published edition. I doubt it but have abided by those requirements.

We delve straight into the story from the first page, in the first scene alone Amirrezvani utilises show-don’t-tell to establish our first impressions of Pari and Javaher’s characters, and the writing is good. The first scene flows immac
Theresa Leone Davidson
Another beautifully written novel by Anita Amirrezvani, whose novel The Blood of Flowers was exquisite and led me to read this one, a novel of historical fiction about a princess in sixteenth century Iran named Pari, upon whom this novel is loosely based. It is narrated by her assistant, and later vizier, a eunuch named Javaher (I now know more than I ever thought I would about how a man becomes a eunuch...horrifying). When Pari's father, the Shah, dies without naming an heir, she is the most li ...more
This book was on my radar because I completely enjoyed her first novel, the Blood of Flowers. Even now, years after reading her lyrical descriptions of the main square in Isfahan I can still picture the scene. If I was unfamiliar with this author I probably would’ve completely missed this incredible read, because the plot descriptions didn’t interest me. The publisher sent me an electronic galley to read so I decided to give it a try. The beginning of the novel is full of so many strange names a ...more
A story of secrets, intricate conspiracies, and various forms of love: Equal of the Sun is a well- woven tale. The tale of a beautiful, intelligent, and ambitious woman in a time where men are rulers, all told through the eyes of a trusted eunuch, Javaher. He describes his time working at a complicated Iranian court for princess Pari of the Safavid dynasty. Pari and Javaher connect to readers' hearts and minds with their exotic world and interesting ideas.
This historical fiction paints a wonderf
Dan Radovich
Amirrezvani transported you to another time and place with THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS, and she succeeds once again here.1500's Iran comes to vivd life in her wonderful new work, and once again the story is centered around a strong-willed young woman. Based for the most part on very well-researched fact, the story or Pari Kahn Khanoom is riveting from the begining chapters. Told by her servant Javaher, a ficticious character who also happens to be a eunuch, Amirrezvani weaves fact and fiction into a gl ...more
'Equal of the Sun' was a surprisingly enjoyable read. Although set in a time and place far from what I know, I quickly became enmeshed in the characters' world. Ms. Amirrezvani has a true talent for transporting her reader; I luxuriated in the opulence of the palace, I felt the heat of the spices in the food. And, even more importantly for myself, I wasn't able to predict the ending of the book easily.

The novel is described as a surprising story of the depth of friendship between an Iranian pri
I had a really hard time getting through this book. The historical aspects are interesting, so you learn what life was like in Iran hundreds of years ago. The way it's written makes it hard to feel like any of the characters are real. Not that the writing is bad, just dry and totally unemotional.

Won through Good Reads.
Jennifer D, overall i have been left feeling like a lot of potential was wasted with this story. it wasn't bad but it could have been great. i struggled with the early part of the story feeling like the staccato rhythm of the writing was taking away from the tale. by the mid-way point, i was more invested in the book and the characters and by the end, i didn't want to put it down, to see how the story played out. but all along, i was not super-impressed by the writing style. the use of poetry thr ...more
David Ketelsen
I received this book free through a Goodreads giveaway contest.

This book is told from the point of view of Javaher, an eunuch in 16th century Persia. He's in the employ of Princess Pari Khan Khanoom, the daughter of his former employer, the recently deceased Shah Tahmasb I of Iran. Equal of the Sun refers to Princess Pari, who was greatly admired by Javaher. This book is written as if penned by Javaher in an attempt to preserve the memory of the princess after she was murdered by agents of her b
IQ "I thought about how impossible it was to know a man's true face without knowing about every place he showed it" Javaher, pg. 251

^Just let those words marinate in your mind for awhile

I don't read as much historical fiction as I would like so I'm not sure if this was exceptionally long or if that's normal but this story takes a long time to develop and that didn't bother me since I love all the nitty-gritty details. I like to know what daily life was like in the 1500s Iranian royal court whe
absolutely stunning piece of historical fiction here...unlike another reviewer on this title, i had never heard of her and was just lucky enough to stumble on the ARC system and requested it to read so i could give an advance review...

had to really rip through it to be done ahead of publication as promised, but it was not a hardship because i couldn't put it down...

the world (re)creation in this is sumptuous and the story is interesting, gripping in places, even and who amongst us historical fic
I was really excited when I received an Advance Reader copy of Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani as a GoodReads First Read. I had read and loved her first novel The Blood of Flowers, set in Isfahan, Iran, in a period contemporary with Elizabeth I of England. Equal of the Sun is set in a few years earlier in the Iranian Court, and introduces us to Princess Pari Khan Khanoom of the Safavi dynasty. This story of politcal intrigue and Iranian court politics is told from the point of view of her ...more
Sarah Beth
I won this novel as a giveaway on Goodreads. 4.5 stars.

I was excited to see that Amirrezvani has written another novel because I read her first novel, The Blood of Flowers, and really enjoyed it. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this one even more. Unlike her first novel, which dealt with an impoverished girl working her way to independence, Equal of the Sun is set at the palace and the very heart of the ruling class of Iran. The year is 1576 and across the world, Queen Elizabeth I is 20 years in
Jackie D
Set in 16th century Iran, this novel is centered around a turbulent period in that country's history after the death of Tahmasb Shah who had ruled for over 50 years. The story is told from the point of view of a palace eunuch, Javaher, and concentrats on Princess Pari Khan Khanoom, daughter of the recently-deceased shah. Pari was a strong woman who probably would've become the next ruler except for the small fact that she was female. She was skilled in political manuevering but outwitted twice b ...more
Pari has been raised as her father's favorite daughter. He has seen to her education and spent much of his time with her at his side, sharing his knowledge with her. When her father dies, he has not designated his heir. Pari is the most qualified person to fill this role except for one detail - it is Iran, 1576 and her father was the shah. She is a princess, not a prince.

Javaher is Pari's closest adviser. He is an unusual eunuch, for complicated reasons he had chosen to be cut at the age of sev
I received a free advanced copy of this book through the First Reads program, and what an exciting, wonderful read it was! Set in 16th century Iran, this book gives life to a historical figure, Princess Pari, daughter of the Shah. When the Shah dies without designating an heir, the palace becomes a madhouse with multiple sons claiming the throne and only Pari truly in tune with the inner workings of the palace. Because she's a woman, there's no chance Pari can rule as Shah, but through clever ma ...more
This was a 3.5 star review for me.

My thoughts:
• I enjoy reading the stories of women who are left at of his history, especially those who influenced or participated in the political turmoil of their times – so this was an enjoyable informative read for me.
• It started off slow and as this was an audio book I had to get use to the names and roles, but once the pace picked up it was a good “read”
• To help me acclimate to the times and the some of the players – I googled to see who were the shahs d
I received this book through GoodReads giveaway.

This book is beautiful. I was transported from the very first pages to a faraway place and time that seemed fantastical. The author wove such convincing images of people, places and situations that I often thought I could hear the music, taste the dates and tea, smell the perfumes.

We are introduced to the "princess Pari" who is the beloved daughter of the Shah. Because of her favorite status, she is allowed to behave in a manner that no other woman
It took me a little while to get engrossed in Equal of the Sun. Not being familiar with Persian court politics, etiquette, and intrigues, I found some of the interrelations between various nobility, other court members, and tribes to be a bit confusing. Especially at the beginning, the novel seemed a little underdeveloped, as if some details that would lend more development and cohesiveness to the story had been edited out, and the plot felt a bit rushed in places.

The book improved, though, the
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Okay, I know that I go on and on about how I like when historical fiction books that me to places that I've never been before. I seriously do like that so let me just gush about this book a little bit. Iran is someplace that I don't know a lot of older history about. I know a lot about the more recent history but not much prior to the 20th century. This book takes the reader back a few hundred years to the time of the Iranian royalty, in particular, the Safavi dynasty. It was a time of struggle ...more
I am not normally drawn to books set in the near East, but this was for my book club, and I loved it! The story of Pari, a princess in Iran in 1576, told from the point of view of her eunuch vizier, Javaher. The setting felt very exotic and foreign, and yet it was explained so thoroughly as to not be confusing at all. And it was wild to realize that during this story, which felt like it might be very, very long ago, Elizabeth I was queen of England and this is during modern history.

Pari's father
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I picked up this book after enjoying Amirrezvani’s first novel, The Blood of Flowers. This one turns from the lives of regular people to those of royalty, which tend to interest me less (weird, I know), but still proves to be a compelling read.

This is the story of Princess Pari Khan Khanoom Safavi, told through the eyes of Javaher, a eunuch in her service. Pari has long been an adviser to her father, the Shah, and when he dies, she’s neck-deep in intrigue: trying to put the brother she prefers o
If you enjoy historical fiction, you have probably read dozens of books on the 16th century in England, as the Tudors seem to be so popular in that genre these days. But do you know anything about Iran in the 16th century?

I have to confess: I knew absolutely nothing, though I did imagine women had more power than now, as is the case in many Muslim countries, where women use to enjoy much more direct influence than they do in most countries today.

This was a wonderful read, with well defined and s
I have never read a book set in Iran before so this book was something new for me. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading about the Muslim world in the 1500's. Amirrezvani has accomplished what I most love about historical fiction, I was transported to another place and time by a large cast of characters, a descriptive setting, and an interesting story. Court life at this time was fascinating and reading about all of the power struggles and assassinations made it hard to put th ...more
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Anita Amirrezvani is the author of the forthcoming novel Equal of the Sun, which was published by Scribner in June, 2012. Her first novel, The Blood of Flowers, has appeared in more than 25 languages and was long-listed for the 2008 Orange Prize for Fiction. She teaches at the California College of the Arts and at Sonoma State University.

More about Anita Amirrezvani...
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“Shamkhal and Majeed exchanged a glance of excitement and Majeed leapt up, his face glowing with triumph, to repeat what Ibrahim had said to another noble, and then he sped to the other side of the room to make sure the words traveled from man to man.” 0 likes
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