“The tests of the Sun”, the third novel by the young American writer Aiden Thomas, is inspired by Mexican mythology and brings its imagination to the present while adding diversity with its inclusion of trans characters and the use of inclusive language.
Aiden Thomas, the first transgender author to be on The New York Times best-seller list for young adults, is back. In Las pruebas del Sol, the young American writer of Latin American descent who defines himself as queer, transgender and non-binary returned with a fantastic genre novel inspired by Mexican mythology and its gods, some closer to real mythology and others invented. by the author, as the protagonist Teo, the trans son of Quetzal, the goddess of birds.
[”Perdidos en Nunca Jamás” puede comprarse en formato digital en Bajalibros clickeando acá]
With a strong LGBT+ representation and use of inclusive language, Las pruebas del Sol is planted as a combination between The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson but from a Latino and diverse point of view. Every 10 years, a physical prowess competition is held with 10 demigods between the ages of 13 and 18, who are selected by “le Sol” as the most worthy of competition, in order to keep the Sun alive and guarantee the safety of the world for another ten years. The winner will bring light and life to all the temples of the Sun Kingdom, but the loser has the greatest honor of all: he will be sacrificed and offered to Sol.
Edited by V&R, Las pruebas del Sol is the third novel by one of the most promising writers of youth literature, whose strength lies in broadening the limits of the genre and adapting them to current times and the needs of new generations. Says the author, “I wanted a super fun action-adventure story where queer, trans, and Latino kids could see themselves not just as heroes, but as children of gods. He wanted queerness, including trans, to be not just accepted in the Sun Kingdom, but celebrated.”
Cover of “The Trials of the Sun” by Aiden Thomas, published by V&R.
-Careful! We don’t want to screw up and get caught again,” Teo whispered while muffled voices argued inside his backpack. When he was finally released from his usual detention period, he was eager to put into action the plan he had spent two days on. While he psyched himself up, he made his way down the street toward the target of his prank for the day.
The ad for the Academy, taped to a brick wall in the school, was impossible to ignore. In large, gold letters, it read:
COME SEE THE TALENTS OF THE ACADEMY
COMPETE IN THE SUN TRIALS
Against the black background of the ad, tall figures were formed like an arrow in positions of power, smiling for the camera.
Matt recognized the woman standing in the center, Shine, who had been crowned Sun Bearer in the last trials.
On their flanks stood former Sun Bearers, identifiable by the golden sunburst crowns they wore on their heads.
The image nauseated him, and since he was forced to look at it daily, he thought he could at least add a bit of his artistic flair to it. Unfortunately, the sign was at least as tall as he was (proud of his five foot five, thank you very much) and out of his reach. There Peri and Pico entered the scene. Most of the inhabitants of Quetzlan had birds that, more than pets, were companions. There was a lifelong bond between the human and the bird, but only Teo and his mother (Quetzal, goddess of birds) could communicate with them. Or, in his case, team up with them to vandalize school property a bit.
It may interest you: Two lost brothers, an alcoholic father and a workaholic mother: keys to the new version of “Peter Pan”
“There are no moors on the coast, get out,” he said as he unzipped the backpack. Instantly, two birds poked their heads out. Do you remember how to use this? she asked, showing them the smallest spray paint cans he could find in the store.
-Of course! –pipe Peri.
-I love it! –added Pico and opened his can with his beak like an expert.
The two young caiques were Teo’s accomplices and were always ready for action. They had agreed to help him even before he had offered them the dried mango he had in his pack.
-What’s the plan? Pico asked, sticking his head out to look at him.
“I think a little humility wouldn’t hurt them,” Teo said as he looked at the Dorados. Make ridiculous faces? The suggested-. I am open to his artistic ideas.
-Good idea! They both agreed before taking off.
“Try to hurry up!” Teo yelled after them as he looked at the time on his phone.
-Count on us!
The best part of the joke was that by the time someone saw his latest creation, he would have been in the Temple of the Sun for a while.
During the Trials of the Sun, the longest vacation was given in the Kingdom of the Sun. It was a competition between the best demigods to keep the sun alive and guarantee the safety of the world for another ten years. It had started as a sacred ritual thousands of years ago and had become a sponsored, televised event that dominated cities. And Teo and his mother had to attend.
Aiden Thomas became the first transgender author to be on The New York Times Young Adult Best-Seller List.
As a mere Jade, he knew that there was no chance that the all-knowing Sun would choose him to compete; something he was constantly reminded of by the ads that had been posted on buildings and utility poles for weeks. They were also all over social media, so they were impossible to ignore.
[”Los chicos del cementerio” puede comprarse en formato digital en Bajalibros clickeando acá]
Like their parents, the children of the Golden gods were stronger and more powerful than the Jades demigods; some could create and control the elements or even move mountains. They attended a sophisticated academy, with sophisticated uniforms and elegant training from the age of seven, to become Heroes of the Sun. They were the ones who were asked for help whenever there was an emergency or a catastrophe.
On the other hand, Teo and the other Jades were not considered powerful enough to attend the Academy, so they had to go to public schools with the mortal boys. Quetzlan High School was wired and the only uniform Tim had ever received was hideous lime green gym shorts and a gray T-shirt that didn’t fit him. While the Dorados traveled the Kingdom of the Sun saving lives, Teo’s most interesting responsibility was being a judge at the annual Quetzlan bird exhibit. He was tired of having all the privileges of the Dorados rubbed in his face.
Pico and Peri used their claws to hold on to the banner canvas as they brandished the cans of spray paint to get to work.
“I’m getting good at this!” –Said Pico while he pecked non-stop at the nozzle of the aerosol to spray the smiling faces of the Golden demigods with blue color.
Peri was focused only on Brilla, and when Tim asked her what she was drawing, she proudly announced:
–You said we should make ridiculous faces for them. Nothing more ridiculous than a cat!
“Very clever,” the boy agreed. The graffiti was unkempt, and it certainly looked as if it had been done by two birds, but it was satisfying to see those smug expressions covered in paint. Final touch time! As Pico and Peri descended to perch on his shoulders, Tim unfolded a piece of paper that he had written on during his detention period. Can you write this at the top?
It may interest you: Youth literature no longer deals with wizards and vampires: how are books for realistic adolescents
–Ah, it’s good, Son of Quetzal! –Pico laughed before taking the paper with the beak and flying away.
-What does it say? Tim heard Peri whisper as he flew after Peri with the spray ready.
I don’t know, I don’t know how to read! Peri held the paper while Pico strove to recreate the words as well as possible. The result didn’t make any sense, and Teo hid his laughter with his hand so as not to hurt the birds’ feelings.
–It should be a loop, not a scribble! Peri protested.
It’s a loop!
Why don’t you fly here to show him how it’s done, Son of Quetzal? Peri snorted.
-Don’t tell him that! You know he’s sensitive about his wings!
It doesn’t have to be perfect! Tim pretended he wasn’t listening, though his wings fluttered in the compression garment under his T-shirt. They had to get out of there before someone saw them. An aerosol can went off, coating Pico’s white chest in gooey blue paint. Don’t make so much noise! the boy hissed.
–My feathers! the bird screeched, flapping its wings in astonishment.
They discovered us!
-¡The abortion, the abortion!
Aerosol cans bounced off the ground as the birds flew up, screeching. Hearing footsteps, Teo bent down to pick up the cans to put them in his backpack. Afraid of who might have seen him, he turned to the voice. Luckily, it was just Yolanda, one of the city’s portfolios, who was accompanied by a parrot with red plumage that delivered letters through the open windows of the neighbors.
–Hello, Son of Quetzal! the parrot squealed and bowed its head respectfully.
What are you still doing at school? Yolanda asked.
–I was running to meet Huemac! The boy answered and closed the zipper safely before walking away.
“You didn’t!” Yolanda looked at him as if she knew what she was really doing.
-Ok, now yes. Teo showed his teeth in a not entirely innocent smile. The woman laughed and waved him off of her.
-Go. Try to behave during the tests. Huemac is no longer so young.
Huemac and the people of Quetzal had raised Teo. His mortal father had died when he was a baby and his mother was busy with the responsibilities of a goddess, so the village had been his family. Although he was already seventeen years old, he was still cared for, sometimes too much.
– I always behave! She exclaimed over his shoulder as he ran to the opposite sidewalk.
–You speak like a real troublemaker! Yolanda’s voice flew after him.
♦ He was born in California, United States.
♦ He is a writer and became the first transgender author to be on The New York Times best-seller list for young adults.
♦ Wrote books like Lost in Neverland, The Graveyard Boys, and The Trials of the Sun.
Two lost brothers, an alcoholic father and a workaholic mother: keys to the new version of “Peter Pan”Youth literature no longer deals with wizards and vampires: how are books for realistic adolescentsA world devastated by the Fourth World War and an intergalactic conflict: this is how “Cinder” begins
Leave a Reply