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Equal of the Sun

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,254 ratings  ·  444 reviews
From the author of the internationally bestselling The Blood of Flowers comes a compulsively readable and gorgeously crafted tale of power, loyalty, intrigue, and love in the royal court of sixteenth-century Iran.

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
Hardcover, 431 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Scribner
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  2,254 ratings  ·  444 reviews

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Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, reviewed, first-reads
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 Derus
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was ok

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
RM(Alwaysdaddygirl) Griffin (alwaysdaddyprincess)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bonnie Shores
This story takes place (mostly) in the palace of the Shah of Iran back in the 16th century and is told in the first person by a eunuch named Javaher. First person narration, imo, always makes a story feel more intimate and that intimacy is definitely realized in Equal of the Sun.

I wanted to show this beautiful Audible tapestry cover because it more clearly conveys the richness of the story. Vivid details of tapestries and rugs and clothing and accessories really paint a complete picture of palac
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
May 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
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
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
The Lit Bitch
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Elyse  Walters
Mar 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A terrific historical fiction, bursting with vivid characters! Fascinating period of history--Storytelling at its best! (addictive read).

I read this the week it came out ---not sure why Goodreads asked me to 'update' that I've read it....(oops...........forgot to check 'read')........ lol

Brian Griffith
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mother-persia
Amirrezvani's novel rivals the great sagas of court intrigue in pre-modern China or Japan. The center of action lies not in the official male-dominated court, but among the ladies and eunuchs of the harem, who are fully engaged a struggle to save their country. Princess Pari and her eunuch viceroy Javaher emerge as heroes worthy of classical Persian legend in their battle of wits between meritocracy and back-stabbing greed. The novel is more powerful because it is built on the life of a real wom ...more
All things considered, three stars is a pretty good rating for me here.

This book is beautifully written. I don’t think it’s overly written, as one reviewer suggested, it’s just that if you’re going to set a novel in a time and place where poetry was the national pastime, things are probably going to get a little flowery. In that respect, I think it’s just right. Personally, I prefer Amirrezvani’s earlier book, The Blood of Flowers. The body count was easier for me to handle.

That really is my pr
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
Meg - A Bookish Affair
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Somehow forgot to list and review this after I read it in 2014. I loved The Language of Flowers so was open to anything the author would write. It is an exotic tale, virtually A Thousand and One Arabian Nights sumptuously framed around biographical fiction of Persia in its cultured and educated history.
Ana Veciana-Suarez
Fascinating look at another era and another country. Truly enjoyed it.
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Sarah Beth
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 08, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18)
God demanded that his leaders rule with justice, but what if they did not?... Must we fear draw a breath?
If you wanted but didn't get a really awesome immersive Middle Eastern setting from The Wrath and the Dawn, then this is your book. Granted, it is adult historical fiction without a lot of romance, the narrator is a eunuch, and there's a whole lot more politics, which is confusing to follow, and there really isn't that much of a happy ending, it's a really good book with not that many
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
Dan Radovich
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
Iran 1576: an intriguing setting where success was based on loyalty and betrayal, paradoxically. The narrative, woven with the poetry of Ferdowsi, one of Iran’s greatest poets and author of the 60 000 line Shahnameh, is one of love affairs, gender roles and political despotism. Equal of the Sun loosely mirrors the tale of Kaveh the blacksmith, the protagonist within the Shahnameh, but transposes him with Pari as justice seeker. It is all strung together with scholarly research and is narrated by ...more
Amy Kamel
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A slow start, but well researched and I loved Amirrezvani's use of language. ...more
Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it
'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
Sharon Huether
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
Equal of the Sun By Anita Amirrezvani I won this book through Goodreads. This was a time in history in the middle east when women could not go places where men could go. Thus they needed a loyal man to here and see all. This eunuch had wise suggestions to the young princess after her father the Shah died. She appreciated him. She also had a lot of famly that muddied the waters politicly. Life was not simple.
Apr 26, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
I tried… and tried… and tried… I pushed past my own 50 page rule and just couldn’t…

I couldn’t get in to this book. And my efforts became dread. So now I’m giving up. 

The writing is good, the idea sounds fantastic. But I couldn’t buy in or connect with it. I would zone out and have to reread. 
More like 2,5-2,7/5. It wasn't an amazing book, but overall it was quick and interesting read!
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Play Book Tag: Equal of the Sun- by Anita Amirrezvani- 3.5 stars 4 18 Feb 09, 2018 02:51PM  

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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.

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