Daughter of the Sun: A Novel of The Toltec Empire by Barbara Wood: A Book Review

Daughter of the Sun: A Novel of The Toltec Empire
Author: Barbara Wood
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: 2007
Pages: 453
Source: This book was given to me by Audiobookworm Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Hoshi'tiwa had a simple life: The daughter of a humble corn grower, she planned to marry a storyteller's apprentice. But her world is turned upside down when she is captured by the powerful and violent ruler of an infamous city with legends of untold wealth and unspeakable acts of violence to its name. Hoshi'tiwa is suddenly thrown into the court of the Dark Lord, and as she struggles for power, she begins an illicit affair with the one man who has the ability to destroy her.

Bestselling author Barbara Wood has crafted a sweeping saga of one woman's struggle to survive within the dangerous and exotic world of the Toltec court. Set against the backdrop of Chaco Canyon and the mysterious Anasazi people, Daughter of the Sun is an unforgettable novel of power, seduction, murder, and betrayal.

     My Review: Hoshi’tiwa’s life seemed to be happy and peaceful. She was the daughter of a corn grower, and she made rain jars for her people. She plans to marry her childhood friend and to live as a wife and mother. However, her life changes when their ruler makes her an outcast and forces her to live in his city to make rain jars to bring rain. Once she arrives, she learns of an ancient prophecy that foretells doom for her people. Can Hoshi’tiwa save her people and bring about the birth of a new world?

   I really could not connect with Hoshi’tiwa. She did not have any faults. She is a Mary Sue character. She is beautiful, intelligent, and has extraordinary talent. She is also the chosen one. There really was no depth to her character. Because she was not very interesting to me, I did not see she was special. For most of the novel, she just makes rain jars. If this novel was not about her, then she could really be an unforgettable character in another story.

    Overall, this book is about religion, friendship, and ancient prophecies. This novel is also about a young girl trying to navigate in a brutal world. The story was told from the viewpoint of many flat characters. The story was drawn-out and could easily have been much shorter. The writing itself was very repetitive. Every character always said the same thing over and over so that I started counting how many times they have uttered the same sentence throughout the novel. Therefore, I really struggled to finish the book and would probably have given up on it had I not listened to the audiobook version. The narrator breathed life into the story. She voiced all the characters well, except for Hoshi’tiwa, whom I believed sounded whiny to me. Still, while I did like the narration better, it could not stop me from disliking the book. It is really sad, for I wanted to love Daughter of the Sun because it takes place in a setting that I didn’t know much about. The only positive thing I can say about this book is that I did like the historical details, and I can tell the author went through exhaustive research when constructing this novel. For those of you that are still interested in Native American culture, there are better books that I think you might enjoy on the subject. A few examples are Island of the Blue Dolphins, Favorite Daughter: Part One, and Feathered Serpent.

Rating: 2½  out of 5 stars 

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