Friday, February 14, 2020

"The Seventh Sun"

Lani Forbes is the daughter of a librarian and an ex-drug-smuggling surfer, which explains her passionate love of the ocean and books. A California native whose parents live in Mexico, she now resides in the Pacific Northwest, where she stubbornly wears flip-flops no matter how cold it gets. She teaches middle school math and science and proudly calls herself a nerd and a Gryffindor. She is also an award-winning member of the Romance Writers of America and the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Forbes applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Seventh Sun, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“What supplies will you require for the ceremony?”

“Um.” She swallowed hard. “Some water?”

“How much, my lady? A bowl? A jar?”

Her palms started sweating again. Mayana wished more than anything she could run home and hide behind the waterfall gushing off the temple pyramid in Atl. It was one of her favorite places in the world, listening to the roaring water, watching the rainbows in the mist dancing on the stone wall. An idea hit her like a ball from a ceremonial game.

“I just need a bowl.”

The servant dipped her head and left the room.

“You look beautiful, Mayana.” Yemania appeared in the doorway. Her red skirt and top did not reveal as much skin as Mayana’s, but it flattered her figure. The designs painted in red on her cheeks distracted from her nose.

“You look beautiful too.” Mayana gave her a sad smile.

“Do you know what you are going to do to display your power?”

“I have an idea. But it’s a little risky,” Mayana said.

“I wanted to know if you’d help me with mine.” Yemania shuffled her feet and didn’t meet Mayana’s eyes. She needed to display her ability to heal ...

“That depends.” Mayana involuntarily leaned away from the princess of Pahtia. She could barely handle pricking her own finger to bring forth blood. A sudden image of Yemania driving a spear through her stomach and then healing her to great applause popped into her head.

“It won’t be much. If you go before me, just let me heal your hand. I’m not trying to impress anyone. I just need to show that I am a descendant of Ixtlilton.”

Mayana’s instinct to avoid pain warred with her instinct to help. Yemania’s eyes opened wide to implore her.

“As long as you promise to heal it as fast as you possibly can.” Mayana gave a great, exaggerated sigh.

Yemania beamed.
I am surprised by how well page 69 does in fact represent The Seventh Sun. This scene takes place before the princesses are to be presented to Prince Ahkin as possible brides. Each daughter is descended from a different god or goddess and must display that ability as part of the opening ceremony for the selection ritual. I love that this scene captures the idea of the overall plot, but that it also shows Mayana’s internal struggle. She very much despises the rituals that she’s told protect them from another apocalypse because her compassionate heart tells her they aren’t necessary. Ultimately, even though she hates spilling her own blood for the sake of rituals she doesn’t agree with, she is willing to do it to help her friend. I think it is an excellent foreshadow to the ultimate theme the novel wrestles with, which is how sacrifice is the ultimate form of love.
Visit Lani Fobes's website.

--Marshal Zeringue