DISCLAIMER: I did not complete the book and have stopped at the 40% mark.
Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott is book one of two in The Sun Chronicles. I was extremely stoked to start this one. I was advertised non-stop space battles! Exciting political intrigue! A heroine for the ages! Humor! What I instead got was a teenage princess pouting her lips when her queen mother doesn’t want to acknowledge her battle accomplishments. Rather than getting assigned to an important post on a battle cruiser, she instead gets relegated to touring duties with her ragtag band of supporters who each have almost zero interesting characteristics and charisma. Up to the 40% mark, I got zero space battles. So much for non-stop action!
“Perhaps my family honestly intends to kill me, since death is just another form of running away.” - Persephone
The story actually started off decently. The world and culture building was evident as we are introduced to the Chaonia empire, its neighbors, and enemies. Set into the far future, we get the usual cool collection of technology on display such as augmented reality and private neural communications between characters. Heck, we even get to witness the female queen taking on a female consort with the possibility of having an heir together without really explaining how. Interesting? Sure. But shortly afterward though, things go downhill when we get introduced to Sun’s entourage of Companions and cee-cee’s. I’ll save you all the trouble. They are all completely boring and lifeless. One is known to use blades for a weapon, one is a popular idol on TV who plays the ukulele for an instrument and carries it with him wherever he goes (for whatever reason I have no clue) and we are reminded of how good-looking he is repeatedly, one who is sort like the court jester, one close to Sun who, well, is just a close friend whom we all know will likely betray her one day and one who is a runaway daughter of a Major House.
“There is no Rule Two. There is only survival.” - Princess Sun
If any one of the characters above suddenly did a superman, blasted off into space, and stopped a mighty battle cruise from destroying their planet, I wouldn’t have batted an eye. Maybe they will get more interesting as the story goes on but I’m not sticking to find out. It seems like the author threw many ideas into this world but nothing really stuck. There were flashes of witty dialogue and intrigue but were gone in an instant. We have sea monsters, battle drones, and all other kind of things we’d expect from a good futuristic sci-fi world but as always, it will all be for naught if no one cares about the characters.