Happy Saturday and welcome to my stop on the The Seventh Sun blog tour!! I am so excited to be a part of this tour, and I’m even more excited for you to discover Lani’s favorite scenes from her book, how she chose the names for her characters, and some fun facts about Mayana and Ahkin that didn’t make it into the book! Plus, follow the rest of the tour and enter to win a print copy of The Seventh Sun!
The Seventh Sun by Lani Forbes
Published on February 18, 2020 by Blackstone Publishing
Genres: YA, Fantasy
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Thrust into leadership upon the death of his emperor father, young Prince Ahkin feels completely unready for his new position. Though his royal blood controls the power of the sun, he's now responsible for the lives of all the Chicome people. And despite all Ahkin's efforts, the sun is fading--and the end of the world may be at hand.
For Mayana, the only daughter of the Chicome family whose blood controls the power of water, the old emperor's death may mean that she is next. Prince Ahkin must be married before he can ascend the throne, and Mayana is one of six noble daughters presented to him as a possible wife. Those who are not chosen will be sacrificed to the gods.
Only one girl can become Ahkin's bride. Mayana and Ahkin feel an immediate connection, but the gods themselves may be against them. Both recognize that the ancient rites of blood that keep the gods appeased may be harming the Chicome more than they help. As a bloodred comet and the fading sun bring a growing sense of dread, only two young people may hope to change their world.
Rich in imagination and romance, and based on the legends and history of the Aztec and Maya people, The Seventh Sun brings to vivid life a world on the edge of apocalyptic disaster.
Do you have a favorite scene, quote, or moment from The Seventh Sun?
I don’t want to give anything away, but there is a huge twist at the end that was my absolute favorite scene to write. I love scenes that have extreme emotional tension, and this scene was just so tense! Mayana struggles with animal sacrifices because of an experience she had as a child, and let’s just say it comes back to haunt her and she has to decide if she is willing to take a stand for what she believes.
If Mayana and Ahkin were to hang out with characters from other YA books, who would they be and why?
I’m not sure if its because I think they’d actually get along or just because I personally adore these characters so much, but I would love to see them hang out with Aelin and Rowan from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I think it’s fun that they have elemental magic like Ahkin and Mayana do and I think they could definitely relate over fighting to save their respective kingdoms.
How did you choose the names for your characters?
I studied certain words in the native Nahuatl or Mayan language and picked names that had special significance. Some of them I altered or changed slightly so that it didn’t get confusing (I had a lot of names starting with ‘”M” at first, so I changed that so readers wouldn’t get confused). Ahkin, for example, is actually Mayan for “He of the sun”. Metzi is a form of “Metzli” which means “moon”. I wanted Ahkin and Metzi to literally be the sun and the moon. Mayana’s name actually means “hungry” because I just see her as hungering for truth. Yemania means “soft” and I picture her having such a soft and gentle heart. Even the names of the cities hold significance. Millacatl, for example, means “farmer”, and Millacatl is the city responsible for growing most of the empire’s food.
What was your favorite piece of research you ended up not using?
I had SO much research saved and compiled into files. The Aztecs had such amazing feats of architecture and design that I wish I could have included more of in the story. One of my favorite pieces of research would have to be the floating gardens known as “chinampas”. Because the capital of the Aztec’s was built in a lake, they literally built gardens on top of rafts in order to farm. They would pile vegetation and soil on top of rafts to grow food, rotating the crops and allowing for highly efficient farming. The level of ingenuity for that is just incredible! I also really wish I could have found a way to fit an ancient Maya ballgame into the plot, but it just didn’t work out.
What are some things we might not know about your characters?
I don’t go into it very much in the books, but Mayana is terrified of heights. She gets nervous whenever she has to climb the pyramids and I don’t think I overtly say that it is a fear for her. She can do it because she has to, but she is very careful not to look down. I personally got to climb some of the Maya ruins in Belize and Guatemala and I can attest that they are incredibly high with steep ledges. I don’t blame Mayana for being afraid! Ahkin is afraid of fish, which is why he never learned how to swim. He tried as a child and they creeped him out haha!