Cover Image: A Hundred Suns

A Hundred Suns

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Member Reviews

I picked up A Hundred Suns, excited to read some historical fiction set in a time and place I'm not overly familiar with - French colonized Vietnam in the 1930s. 

The writing is very descriptive, which works really well to give the reader a visual of the setting and characters. 

The book also adds in some excitement when Jessie meets Marcelle. Their interactions were my favourite elements.

The book is a slow burn and at times, I needed to push myself through some of the slower parts. 

I can see this being popular with book clubs as there is a lot to discuss. 

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review.
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Intelligent and interesting, this novel tells a story of two strong-willed women whose paths had crossed during the times of the end of colonialism.
1933, Indochine (nowadays Vietnam). Wealthy American trophy wife Jessie arrives with her rich French husband and young daughter Lucy to Saigon, leaving some unnamed troubles behind her. Life in colonial Indochine can be good for the wealthy ones, especially when accompanied by her new friend, glamorous expat Marcelle de Fabry, who has a rich husband and even riche lover, the silk tycoon Khoi Nguyen. 
But nothing is like it seems under the Indochinese sun. Jessie is not only a pretty vase and Marcelle is neither. Both are hiding a secret - one is running away from the painful memories, other one is chasing revenge and what she considers a justice. 

While I did not like the end (a bit short and shallow given how rich and nuanced most of the plot is), I consider this novel being one of the best reads of 2022. The authoress can take both the wide picture of the times changing and the seemingly small lives of people into an intriguing mosaic. This is a realistic world where easy solutions do not exist, where ideas clash and everybody owns a piece of truth. Where no one is snow white lily snd yet they can be driven by the important ideas. Who can say what is the good solution for the future of Indochine? Why one life should matter more than the other? Is revenge right? And finally - should shame drive our lives? 

Certainly a good food for thought, this novel. Kudos, Ms Tanabe. I will read more of your books.
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Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for an advanced readers copy of this book for myhonest review. This book has now been published and is available for your next read!

If you are looking for your next great sweeping historical fiction, "A Hundred Suns" would be an excellent choice. Interesting characters, exotic locations, drama and twists you don't see coming make this an excellent, engaging novel.
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I think I’m going to take a break from historical fiction for a while.

This had all the ingredients of a book I should’ve loved: a new time and region I know little about, a mystery, strong female protagonists, and somewhat unreliable narrators. I just couldn’t get into it. It’s solid and a good enough story but I confess I struggled to finish it.
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The first chapter got me hooked -- a mystery set in 1930s French IndoChina (now Vietnam) about the disappearance of a husband and daughter told from the point of view of the wife, then the story begins with flashbacks. Then I got bored. I admit I did not finish this book. I read about 70% and then gave up. I have many more books on my shelf I want to read.

The setting is unique and the descriptive writing about the time, place and characters is actually quite good, but I just didn't find the characters or (in the long haul) the plot captivating. The storyline basically focuses on corruption and abuse in the French owned rubber plantations and the attempts to move toward communism. I just didn't find it interesting. This surprised me since I'm a huge fan of historical fiction. I just couldn't get attached to the characters, and I gave up before I even got to the disappearance. Maybe I'll finish later.
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I will not be giving feedback on this book. I started it, and was not in the right mindset for reading it. When/if I do pick it up again, I will definitely leave a thoughtful review.
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Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
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Tanabe writes a fantastic page-turner in A Hundred Suns, which is set in a very interesting time in Vietnam.  Whatever you do, don't start this book when you're crunched for time; you won't be able to put it down.
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Reading about Indochina in the 1930's was an eye-opening experience. Alrhough i was aware of the French colonization of Vietnam, I had no idea there were French plantations, which used slave labor and abusive "overseers." The story touched on this system but didn't go into too much specific detail except to convey that male and female local workers were abused in many ways and often killed. There was also a communism aspect that was interesting to learn about.

Despite enjoying the overall story and being drawn in by the well crafted mystery and historical setting and details, I found the pacing to be off and the characters one note. This trivialized the plot, causing it to feel rushed in some spots and drawn out in others. It also made it difficult to empathize and connect with many of the characters.

Thank you to publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I’ve never read a WWIII historical fiction book set in French Indochina and didn’t know what to expect.  The book was fascinating and I learned a lot about the region.  I’m not sure why, but it took me a long time to get through.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This was an interesting historical fiction read which focused on both the role that communism played in Indochina in the 1930’s as well as the role that money played for the rich French ex-pats that lived there during that time (and highlighted how those that did not have money lived in complete contrast).

I thought this was a unique way to portray the rise of communism, those that were for and against it. I enjoyed parts of this book very much, and other parts were a little hard to keep my attention. I learned a lot and thought that once it started to all come together in the second half, the ending was wonderful and overall this was an incredible story.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martins Press for the digital copy to review.
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A Hundred Suns was truly a stunning historical fiction novel. It's one of those titles that remind me what I loved about historical fiction to begin with: luscious settings, compelling characters, and does not let you go from moment 1.
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This book about historical fiction in Indochine is part history part mystery. I enjoyed it but it felt a little long and confusing. I loved the epilogue and the details of the times was great.
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Historical fiction that isn't WWII related, refreshing.  

 have never read anything by this author before so I wasn't sure what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised.  I was concerned this would just be another book about wealth and greedy people and in a way it was, but it was also history, communism, other peoples ideas about what money means and strong female characters.  

There was espionage and unexpected twists and also other things that were very predictable, but overall it was a good book.  I enjoyed that it wasn't set in Europe as I enjoyed learning about other counties than those.
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I love historical fiction, but this one felt a bit disjointed. Its a bit like "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous: Indochine" with some mystery and politics thrown in. Taking place in what is now called Vietnam in the 1930s, the story follows Jessie Lesage and then later also Marcelle de Fabry. It was a time of a lot of upheaval and discussion about the future of Indochine, then a French colony. There was a rising Communist movement, with a backlash by the French colonizers and a large amount of the local population so that is shown through the characters. The characters were interesting enough, though I found myself looking forward to the sections by Marcelle a bit more than Jessie's. Marcelle talks so much about the ways that the local Vietnamese population is suffering at the hands of the French, why people were attracted to Communism and the shifts in the society at the time which really brought in the history aspect of the story. Meanwhile Jessie gets driven around town a lot, visiting horse races, bars and clubs and seemingly just trying to keep herself busy. Her backstory was interesting but could have been a bigger part of the story. The mystery wasn't super surprising or appealing enough to really carry the story. I would recommend this book because it does cover an interesting topic, but the story itself is not unique enough. I give it 3.5 stars.
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This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe is set in the history of the Michelin empire and the political climate that led to the rise of communism in Vietnam in the 1930s. I wish the history had been a more integral part of this story, which is more a conflict between two manipulative women, their privileged lifestyle, and their back stories. For a book in this setting, I expected more of the history. 

Read my complete review at 

Reviewed for NetGalley.
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Drat, I was nearly done with my review when Netgalley had some sort of a maintenance issue and evidently my review has become lost. oh well....

A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe is not quite my cup of tea. I love historical fiction as a general rule but this book is really more like a romance that happens to take place in the past. Rarely have I seen a book take place in this part of the world in this time period so I decided to give it a whirl.  While much of this book was interesting, I could have done with less of the intimate details. I am sure that many readers will enjoy this book and will find it entertaining.
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A Hundred Suns is a well-written historical fiction novel set in the 1930s in Vietnam. American Jessie Lesage is married to the heir to the Michelin tire fortune. They've recently moved to be near the Michelin plants in Vietnam. Jessie meets a new friend Marcelle, who might not have the purest motives.

I really enjoyed the alternating perspectives told in this story. It really allows you to get to know both Jessie and Marcelle and see the full picture of the story. It touched on a lot of the political history of the time, which was something that I didn't know a lot about previously.
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Karin Tanabe is one of my favorite historical fiction authors for her ability to completely immerse the reader in a foreign setting. I love that that this one slowly unwound, reeling me in more and more deeply with each chapter.
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