Melissa (thereaderandthechef)'s Reviews > The Seventh Sun

The Seventh Sun by Lani Forbes
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did not like it
bookshelves: nope, appropriates-culture

Unfortunately, The Seventh Sun is my biggest bookish disappointment of the year.

And *whispers* it is not an Own Voices book.

As a history lover, particularly about my own culture (I am Mexican and I live in Mexico), The Seventh Sun just did not do my people's rich culture & history justice. In fact, this book tried to erase Mexicas (because it keeps being promoted as Aztec when the real term should be Mexica). It draws from several Mesoamerican cultures and smashes them all together + Egyptian too into the "Chicome" people whose lives depend on blood sacrifices to keep their gods happy. And no one objects to the blood sacrifices except for a young princess who *surprisingly* has Christian views/morality that don't fit AT ALL the time and place of the book. Won't even start on the plot itself (the trials were only TWO and super weak?!?!), questionable romance, girl-on-girl hate, and let's not forget our perfect main character (Mayana) who is innocent and ALWAYS right.

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Edit: The Seventh Sun is obviously a Fantasy book with fictional people (OF COURSE) but this does not erase the fact that someone who is not #ownvoices (aka not from Mesoamerican descent/Indigenous) is writing outside their lane. This is still appropriating culture & you will never be able to properly represent our culture. It is NOT your story to tell nor to profit from.

And if your work was HEAVILY influenced by our history, then sure, you can claim "it's fantasy and should not be seen as historically accurate" because fiction is always like that and we do know the representation is not going to be accurate. In fact, it's probably going to be harmful. But if the presentation and marketing uses our history & culture to boost your sales, criticism will always be valid.

We are in 2020 and the book community is constantly pointing out why it's wrong to appropriate another culture. Why is it so hard to understand? :(

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This is another *gentle* reminder that you CANNOT insert Christian morality/values into a book about ancient civilizations because that is the CONQUEROR'S POV (aka colonialists). This is not right, particularly when the main character is supposedly from those cultures. Again, it's a big NOPE.

And quick history lesson: this story says it is inspired by Aztec mythology, but that's actually wrong. MEXICA mythology inspired this book. It's actually a disservice to call Mexicas "Aztecs" since, in short words, Mexicas were Aztec descendants who were oppressed by them, which led them to abandon their oppressors and later on build their own empire (Tenochtitlán​​).

But *sigh*, history loves to erase Mexicas and call them Aztecs. They are not interchangeable. And it's sad how everyone keeps making this mistake.

Overall, The Seventh Sun is just hurtful and offensive, it just portrays these ancient civilizations at their worst, just to make way to a character that shows no love or respect to their ways, This is why Indigineous stories should be left alone if you are not part or descended from their community.
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Reading Progress

November 19, 2019 – Shelved
November 19, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
February 9, 2020 – Started Reading
February 10, 2020 –
15.0% "hmmmm..."
February 12, 2020 –
40.0% "Okay I don’t like this 🧐"
February 16, 2020 –
55.0% "Sigh... this book. As a Mexican, I’m disappointed."
February 17, 2020 – Finished Reading
July 9, 2020 – Shelved as: nope
July 9, 2020 – Shelved as: appropriates-culture

Comments Showing 1-23 of 23 (23 new)

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message 1: by Paloma Hdez (new)

Paloma Hdez I know! Even in school was kind of confusing! I’m Mexican too!


Melissa (thereaderandthechef) The Countess of Bookton wrote: "I know! Even in school was kind of confusing! I’m Mexican too!"

Hiii!!! ♥ Yes, a big part of the problem is that a majority of history books and research about Mexican history was/is done by foreigners who just love to erase identities to fit into their own narrative. School books included! :(


Tiffany Not gonna lie... I was really hoping this would be an #ownvoices novel and not another NWL who got inspired while on vacay.


Melissa (thereaderandthechef) Tiffany wrote: "Not gonna lie... I was really hoping this would be an #ownvoices novel and not another NWL who got inspired while on vacay."
I also thought it was an #ownvoices book when it was announced but it isn't :(


message 5: by Skye (new)

Skye Kilaen Yikes, this sounds like a mess! :(


message 6: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Palmer Also I have a question isn't that a peruvian tumi at the cover?


Melissa (thereaderandthechef) Skye wrote: "Yikes, this sounds like a mess! :("
it was not good :(


Melissa (thereaderandthechef) Cathy wrote: "Also I have a question isn't that a peruvian tumi at the cover?"

It is. I guess the cover artist got inspired by all the mesoamerican cultures...


message 9: by Isa (new)

Isa I was actually super interested in a review from someone more familiar with the cultures this book seeks to portray. Thanks!


message 10: by NymStorm (new)

NymStorm Thank you for mentioning all these issues ! I thought this book might interest me, but now I know it won't... At this point, I'm not even surprised, just disappointed ...


Melissa (thereaderandthechef) Isa wrote: "I was actually super interested in a review from someone more familiar with the cultures this book seeks to portray. Thanks!"
Thanks for reading! I would not recommend it at all. :(


message 12: by Melissa (last edited May 14, 2020 09:41PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Melissa (thereaderandthechef) NymStorm wrote: "Thank you for mentioning all these issues ! I thought this book might interest me, but now I know it won't... At this point, I'm not even surprised, just disappointed ..."

I was actually excited about it too, even hosted a tour for it, which put me in an incredible tough postion two days before it started when I realized how bad it was. It was painful to promote then and it still makes my stomach hurt whenever I think about it. It literally renders me useless. SIGH. And to think there are two books left in the series. Big yikes.


Kal ★ Reader Voracious Thank you for writing this review; I was initially so excited about the book when it was announced but became a little nervous when I noticed it wasn't ownvoices. I'm sorry it didn't do your culture justice/


message 14: by K (new)

K Thank you for this review. I was considering reading it, and now I won’t.


message 15: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Chavarie Do you have any recommendations for a fantasy type book similar to this one that you think does represent Mexica mythology more truly?


message 16: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah Zhao Thanks for sharing! I second Stephanie above that if you have any recommendations for better rep, I would also love that!


message 17: by Tori (new)

Tori Thanks for this, I was excited to finally read a latin america inspired fantasy (latina here) but if it's not going to do it justice, I'm greatful for the warning


message 18: by Tori (new)

Tori Aslo a good book that repersents latina american culture better (not mexica but yoou may still like it) is woven in mooonlight by Isabel Ibañez.


Suzanne Gods of Jade and Shadows by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is also a fusion of Mexican mythologies and was really good, for those looking for OwnVoices


Elaine Hrivnak I’ve never heard such blatant racism before. #own voices? So black people should not write fiction about English mythologies? White people must stick to European histories only to “stay in their lanes?” Wow. Very small minded of some people.

I loved the books, and I loved that I was introduced to a new part of history/mythology. I KNOW this is fiction and I will not be confused that this was a history lesson. I loved the simplicity of a good story without the female protagonist having to be a badass ninja assassin. Great story. Can’t wait for the rest.


Christopher Hatch @thereaderandthechef the fact that you own a tour company and that you can bash someone's creative work is disgusting and unprofessional. It's fiction for crying out loud.


message 22: by Su_enchanted (new)

Su_enchanted Thank you for the review. I was wondering whether you know any good books based on Mexica culture, that is not YA. ( no hate on YA but it's just not my thing right now). I would love to read something based on that.


Alexandrine I had the exact same thought 👏🏻 I don’t even know this culture much, and I hoped to learn from this novel, but it was so obvious that the Mayan/Aztec/whatever setting was just here to make profit. In fact, it was like reading a random YA book where the author had a weak story and just thought to put the characters in a different setting to make it look a little bit more original.


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