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The Battle of the Sun

(Tanglewreck #2)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  406 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Imagine a city made of gold, and each thing in it made of gold, and every person as golden as a precious statue. . . .

A magus dreams of turning London into a city of gold, but he cannot do it alone and so he kidnaps a child called Jack, who he is sure will help him realise his ambition. But Jack is not a willing assistant and instead he embarks on a magical adventure to sa
Paperback, 391 pages
Published November 2nd 2009 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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 ·  406 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Chelka Posladek
Dec 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-books
I'm really torn on how to rate this book. If I could give it 3.5 stars, I would. Because it's Jeanette Winterson, I'm going to round up... I adore Ms. Winterson and often say that I'll read anything she writes (yes, even her grocery list). Something about Battle of the Sun disappointed me, though. Can't quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it's her lack of solid plot. It works brilliantly in her adult fiction, allowing for the fusion of poetry and prose. There's enough of a plot in those books to ...more
Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

I remember quite enjoying Tanglewreck, so I was somewhat surprised to be rather unhappy with The Battle of the Sun. The opening is fairly promising — the description of Jack being so, so eager for his spaniel, so full of thoughts of the spaniel, that he’s practically a spaniel himself, it really works and paints exactly the picture it needs to. Not that vivid imagery has ever been a problem for Winterson, and it’s so surprise that her writing is poetic and vivid an
Oct 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jeanette Winterson can really write anything she wants...picture books, narratives for the young and old and all are well-thought through and crafted with mastery. This latest is a great piece if historical and magical fiction. Includes a few characters from Tanglewreck if there are those who what to go back and refresh, but it's not essential to do so. A grand adventure.
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I make the point that this book is a sequel to Tanglewreck first, because I did not realise this when I bought it, and I think the story would have worked better had I read the first one first.

But despite my occasional confusion, this was a wonderful adventure set mostly at the turn of the 17th century, where Jack Snap is swept up into the nefarious plans of a magician who cares little for the lives of thsoe he harms, and is plotting to bring down Queen Elizabeth (the ginger one).

The plan involv
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
As always, Winterson is endlessly inventive, but this book was entirely too zany for my tastes. There are an overabundance of absurd things happening and no logic to be found anywhere. I also hadn't read Tanglewreck yet, and Silver's story suffered because it was heavily reliant on the reader's knowledge of it.
Amber M. McCarter
Rather poetic; meaningful messages.
On Jack Snap`s twelfth birthday, he gets kidnapped. When he comes to, he finds that he has been kidnapped by the Magrus, his goal is to transform the city of London into the city of gold, yes everything will turn into gold. Soon he will take over the world too, but that comes later. But he needs Jack in order to fulfill his goal. Jack, who is strong willed and has his heart in the right direction, tries to fight it. Will Jack succeed and save his new friends, who were previously captured, along ...more
Mar 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It is London in 1601, but things are not quite as history would have us believe. The life of the young protagonist, Jack, is about to take a turn away from the future planned out for him, and he goes from being a pawn in a game played by others to one where his resourcefulness and bravery lead to his his transformation into a person of some power.

'The Battle of the Sun' comes over as dreamlike, with figures from alchemical treatises, supernatural happenings and irrational actions all assuming a
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Battle of The Sun is an astounding book by Jeanette Winterson. It features Jack who on the afternoon of his twelfth birthday gets kidnapped by a Magus. Upon arriving at the Magus' dwelling, Jack quickly befriends the four other boys who share in his misery and misfortune. As they misadventure together, Jack discovers the true meaning of love and friendship. Jack explores the house and finds two halves of the same living creature-the Magus' Servants, a phoenix, a sunken king and a bargaining drag ...more
Dave Morris
Jul 12, 2015 rated it liked it
The caveat first: it's a kids' book, so I'm not the intended audience. I'm trying to think back to what books I'd have read at that age. Robert Heinlein's juvenile novels (Red Planet, etc). Dracula. Mike Moorcock's Mars books. Very different.

It's full of inventive ideas and Ms Winterson is obviously enjoying herself, to such an extent that it often feels as if she's making it up as she goes along. That's okay, by the way, as long as you don't drop any plates. And she doesn't.

The style is lush an
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it
A city made of gold, and each thing in it made of gold, and every person as golden as a precious statue, and the Thames itself a flowing golden god, where a dropped line would hook a golden fish. . .

This story is about a man called the Magus. He dreams of turning London into a grand city of gold, but he can’t do it alone. So he kidnaps a child called Jack, who he is sure will help him realise his ambition. But Jack is not a willing assistant and instead he embarks on an adventure to save
I liked this book, but I think it will turn out to be one of those books that in a years time I can't remember much of. The plot was interesting and had definite potential, but it felt so underdeveloped: some things happened way too quickly, also there were too many loose ends. My copy of this book says there's another book called Tanglewreck available, which might clue me in on the details I missed while reading The Battle Of The Sun, but because I was under the impression this was a stand-alon ...more
Candy Wood
I’d call this more a companion than a sequel to Tanglewreck, this time focusing on London in 1601, combining a folktale with a hero named Jack (just 12), who must complete many strange tasks to defeat the evil Magus and his plot to turn everything in the city into gold, with the perspective of a 21st-century girl named Silver, the protagonist of the earlier time-slip novel. The combination allows for pleasures like a string of Yoda-like statements finishing with the Dragon’s “‘what comes to pass ...more
Unfortunately, I did not like this book at all! I finished it but did not enjoy it in the slightest. Hence the 2 star rating as I couldn't really give it any more than that in all fairness.

I loved the blurb and the cover and book was gorgeous, but in this case the book definitely did not live up to expectations.

I was annoyed by the fact that the book ended up being connected to another of the authors books Tanglewreck! Which I haven't read! I have it but I preferred the blurb on this one and dec
Jo Bennie
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: w
In Winterson's sequel to Tanglewreck we are thrown back into Elizabethan London and Jack is on his way home eager to take charge of his new puppy when he is kidnapped and kept prisoner in the grey stone of the house of the Magus, an alchemist who has found a way to turn London to gold and force Elizabeth I to cede power to him. As Silver is pulled through time from the present day and her previous battle to rescue the Timekeeper in Tanglewreck London starves and the children battle old and new e ...more
Mar 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Aimed at 9s – 12s. Set in an alternative London around 1600, this is the story of Jack, kidnapped by a Magus who believes him to be The Radiant Boy. Apprenticed against his will in a strange magical household, Jack encounters seven more kidnapped boys, the Sunken King, a Creature Sawn in Two (Wedge and Mistress Split) and The Knight Summoned. While he's looking for a way to escape the Magus and his strange alchemical experiments, his mother is trying to find him with the help of a local witch.

Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was an amazing book based in 16th,17th, 18th century ( i forget which one) london, with an interesting plot, and great detail in the setting. The fantasy mixed great with with the time as all this wasn't that absurd. All the characters were special and soo cool, that i wanted so much to be in Jack's shoes.

(view spoiler)
Jeanette Winterson is one of my all-time favorite authors, and I was pretty excited about parts of this book: alchemy, medieval London, the way it feels like a bedtime story, where fantastical things happen, and even the narrator doesn't know what to expect. But eventually that trope stopped working for me, and then the book lead back to characters from the dread Tanglewreck book, and I just... got tired of reading it. If you liked Tanglewreck (and someone must have), then I think you will like ...more
Apr 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I found this slightly less fun and thought-provoking than Winterson's previous novel for kids, Tanglewreck, which is also - surprisingly and happily - connected to this one. Lots of stuff in this, weird creatures, magic, good people, bad people, bad people turning good, stuff of legends and fairytales along with everyday stuff, and a suitable moral and happy ending... Not as fascinating as I hoped though. Not for me at least. Recommended for kids, though.
Oct 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
Probably a three and a half. The beginning has a taste of Neil Gaiman, plunging you right into the very weird action, which is related as very normal. There is also some big love for old England and some likeable characters. Agree with reviewers who were a little dissapointed, but it's tricky comparing her to herself...this was such a different type of book from her other works (except for the related Tanglewreck, which was written for her young goddaughters).
Oct 23, 2012 rated it liked it
After a stellar start, the book gets lost halfway through trying to be a sequel to Winterson's first and less proficient YA novel, Tanglewreck. It winds up being a good but ultimately forgettable Elizabethan fantasy novel.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
A beautifully written YA book, lots of great characters, I particularly like the Creature(s), a half man/woman made in a bottle and split in half to hop along together/not together being hateful and hated and wanting. I hadn't known Jeanette Winterson did YA and I will certainly check out Tanglewreck.
Sep 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I always like to enjoy reading a children's or YA novel from time to time and this was a good choice.

Perhaps not quite as enjoyable as it's predecessor, Tanglewreck, but it is a worthy read.

I found the first half of the book stronger than the second but any fans of young adult fantasy or anyone who absolutely loves the mind of Jeanette Winterson will enjoy the whole journey.

Maggie Holman
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book for pre-teens, especially boys, and YA/adults too. It's full of interesting and unusual characters, and the plot goes at a great pace and keeps twisting and turning. It uses a real historical context (16th century Elizabethan London) to tell a magical story of good winning over evil.
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Young adult: I liked this even more than Tanglewreck, but some of the characters from that first book appear here. A young boy turns into a golden fish and is taken from his mother to be put in the service of an evil alchemist. Terrific tale! ...more
Oct 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Loving how it links into Tanglewreck...was thinking all the way through though..this is leading to a third book and what dya know..cliffhanger! humpph! series writing authors!
JW is still my one true love though! xx
Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it
I will read any Jeanette Winterson book and often times more than once. I however was disappointed with this book and not enjoying any of it until Silver showed up. I loved Tanglewreck but could not connect with Jack at all.
Maureen E
I really liked this one! I did not realize it’s by the author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit until well after I read it. I think that would have changed my expectations somewhat going in. It’s slightly weird, but also lovely. And historical fantasy, which is always okay with me.
Dana Berglund
Aug 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: youngadult
I didn't realize that this was a companion novel to Tanglewreck. I read that back in 2006, and had a difficult time pulling up the connections. It was good as a stand-alone, but would have been better if I could remember the crossovers.
Emily Lavender
Jun 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: gave-up-on
Yeah, it was well-written but I don't know ... I think she might have been trying too hard or not hard enough. Either way, there were lots of neat images that left me feeling ... Nothing. I kinda didn't care.
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Novelist Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester, England in 1959. She was adopted and brought up in Accrington, Lancashire, in the north of England. Her strict Pentecostal Evangelist upbringing provides the background to her acclaimed first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, published in 1985. She graduated from St Catherine's College, Oxford, and moved to London where she worked as an assi ...more

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