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Hidden Sun

(Shadowlands #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  29 reviews
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
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Angry Robot
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  76 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Feb 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

Received to review via Netgalley.

Well, thank goodness for other people’s reviews.

I was enjoying reading this, intrigued by the world and rather appreciative of one of the main female characters’ and her drive to understand the world. I can definitely appreciate a scholar! There were a few things that I felt weren’t really set up well enough — rather than feeling like I was understanding the world as I read, I felt like I was missing key pieces of information. It to
Jul 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Right up until the end, this was a 5 star book for me. One of the reasons science fiction and fantasy lies so close to my heart is that I have always loved the amount of imagination involved. Not only do speculative fiction authors have to invent characters and plots, they often have to create whole WORLDS, with all the unique species, races, cultures, biomes, and architecture that entails. A 5 star fantasy/science fiction, for me, is usually one that makes all these feel uniquely alien, while a ...more
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a thoroughly entertaining adventure story. It is very well written and the world building is done with finesse, being woven into the story rather than the reader having to suffer interminable information dumps.
It is necessary, before moving on, ***spoiler alert*** to refute The Captain’s somewhat histrionic coruscation of the book and its supposed rape scenes. I can reassure the reader that all episodes relating to sexual encounters are dealt with sensitively. First, there is no expli
Marika Lövström
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Wow! Vilken början mitt och påbörjad avslutning. Världsbygget intresserar och utmanar. Men, de sista 80 sidorna händer något, tempot tappas, känslan försvinner och boken tynar bort framför ögonen på mig.
David Gullen
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think the best thing I can say about this book is that I enjoyed it so much that as soon as I'd finished I bought the sequel, Broken Shadow. For me it took a couple of chapters to find its feet, but Hidden Sun quickly became a compelling and entertaining read I looked forwards to returning to whenever I could. Jaine Fenn has written a complex political fantasy filled with adventure on a strange and alien world. Recommended. ...more
The Captain
Aug 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandon-ship
**** 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
Caryn Shaffer
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This book had some interesting ideas, but they were talked about between characters rather than actually incorporated into the plot itself. Too much of the book was spent traveling, sitting, eating and talking. The characters were not very dynamic. :(
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tfn, sff
If this had been written in the 80’s — and it certainly has all the marks of 80’s SFF with its colony-world-forgotten-its origins-and-regressed-to-feudalism setting, complete with mutant humans living nasty brutal and short lives in the desert, dangerous journeys across the treacherous flora of the unterraformed planet, an all-powerful Church repressing the intellectual discoveries of a secret network of scientists, and a corrupt city state of eunuchs, poison, effeminate princes and royal incest ...more
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 2.0 of 5

Rhia Harlyn is a noblewoman in Shen. Being of noble blood she's been sheltered from much of common life and the only person she's been able to share that with, who understands her, is her brother, Etyan. But Etyan is missing and becomes a suspect in a local murder. Rhia wants to find him ... she's sure there's a misunderstanding.

Rhia also happens to have an interest in scientific research - which isn't very lady-like in S
Rachel Noel
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
*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
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the first 100 pages of this novel. The story starts with a bang, with our heroine defeating some hapless burglars, and then creating the telescope. Rhia is tough, feisty and smart, and has big plans for her life. Then a whole bunch of things happen and Rhia is forced on a quest.

Then we meet Dej, an outcast who is trying to find a place where she fits in, and Sadarkh, a nebulous bad guy with a cool, ghost sidekick. I wondered how on Earth the story was going to tie up all those plot thre
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
"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 ...more
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: preordered, signed
Science Fiction with a fantasy attitude.

A renaissance era culture appear to be living on a semi-terraformed world, but don't realise that. Our first protagonist takes a coach between two of the habitable shadowlands, looking for her reprobate of a brother. Getting wrapped up in court intrigue of the upper classes. Her world feels very claustrophobic; there's not many people in her life, but she gets a complete narrative arc. Our second protagonist is an orphan being raised to leave the shadowlan
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
The author has created an interesting universe but the book is flawed because the author develops three different plot lines that barely intersect by the end of the novel. The characters are ok, but none are well-developed (not a big surprise, given the amount of plot to move along!). I also found that several of the characters were not very likeable. The ending, such as it is, includes a bunch of surprise plot twists, most of which are not plausible and not explained. I suspect that this book s ...more
Jun 14, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I usually love a fantasy book akin to this one, but this didn’t leave an impression on me. In a world with two moons, different species based on child bearing, and a search for a lost brother. You would think these themes would really get me going. Normally this is really my kind of book; especially when I found out there’s a second installment and possibly a third in the future. The story was hard to follow and I thought there was an excess of characters. I won’t be continuing the series unfort ...more
James Reed
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hidden Sun is a gritty, emotional ride about an enterprising, driven young woman trying to make her mark in the world. It touches on a variety of social aspects such as group control, hidden societal layers and of course the struggles of a young woman in an almost completely male-dominated medieval world, but who is determined to forge her own path. I very much enjoyed this book and especially all the world building that sets the scene for the follow-ons!
Apr 30, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I really wanted to like this book. The world created in the first chapters is fabulous: divided between burning skylands and temperate shadowlands, with mysterious adaptations that have created two distinct races living in each. But then it all fell apart. The characters are unpleasant and shallow; the politics make no sense; and important information is withheld from the reader way too long. The sequel will probably fill in the blanks but I am not sure I am going to read it any time soon.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recent Reads: Hidden Sun. Jaine Fenn's planetary romance is a struggle for survival on a hostile world. Islands of shadow home a shattered society, linked by caravan clans. Mysteries unfold as scientist Rhia makes a journey; but can she save her brother? Now to wait for a sequel. ...more
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Fantasy with a strong science component, good characters, decent adventure, complete but with ground laid for the future.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Why did good things only happen to the one character who didn't deserve them!? ...more
Leader of the Pack
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Vibrant worldbuilding and an unhurried pace make Hidden Sun the sort of story you can really immerse yourself into. I've already picked up the next book in this series, Broken Shadow. ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: southampton
I enjoyed the book and I have questions about the worldbuilding: I’m looking forward to the second instalment!
Angel Hench
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Read for review in SFX.
Hanna Knutsson
rated it liked it
Dec 12, 2018
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Truth may be stranger than fiction, but it's also far harder to track down. Jaine Fenn has had numerous short stories professionally published, some of which appear in the collection 'Downside Girls' and has won the British Science Fiction Association Short Fiction award. Her Hidden Empire space opera sequence, published by Gollancz, starts with the novel 'Principles of Angels'. Her Shadowlands sc ...more

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Shadowlands (2 books)
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