Member Reviews

Thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan for the advance Kindle copy of this 9.3.24 release. All opinions are my own.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/5 for the second book of this duology. I recently re-listened to The Sunbearer Trials, and loved being able to jump right into this after *that cliffhanger*. So now that Teo has essentially triggered the end of the world when he refused to sacrifice the loser of the trials, he sets out with Niya and Aurelio to fix things. Meanwhile, Xio thought he knew what he was doing when he worked with his real father, an Obsidian, to throw the trials and capture the Golds (minus Niya and Aurelio), but he is discovering that maybe he wasn’t exactly in the right. As Xio and Te both grapple with how to right their wrongs, they grow closer and closer to basically an apocalypse. Teo and Aurelio’s relationship grows, and Niya’s banter remains top-notch. Again, this is like if Percy Jackson and The Hunger Games had an f-bomb laced book baby. Recommended for grades 8+.

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Aiden Thomas has done it again!!! This book was SO GOOD! A wonderful conclusion to The Sunbearer duology! This story picks right up from where we left off in The Sunbearer Trials. There are alternating POVs from Xio and Teo.

Niya, Teo, and Aurelio traveling to Los Restos was full of surprises and humor, but also deep moments between the trio. Niya being vulnerable with Teo. Aurelio being very timid, but slowly getting comfortable with them. Teo trying to be a strong leader. This trio was my favorite!!

The chapters with Xio and the other semidioses in Los Restos were so heartbreaking, but also funny with commentary from Auristela and Ocelo. I just wanted to hug them all. Atzi was my favorite! The relationship between the semidioses was complex.

Overall, I loved everything about this book! The writing, plot, and characters were all done so well. Thank you NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends for the arc! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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thanks to netgalley & macmillan children's publishing group for the free earc in exchange for a fair and honest review!

i read the sunbearer trials back in february 2023, so over a year ago now. additionally, my brain can't keep any information about a book for more than a month of two. so, basically, i forgot the entire plot of the sunbearer trials and didn't want to reread first.
despite my somewhat foolish decision to read this without refreshing my memory first, i found that most of the character had settled in my memory well enough for me to follow along without too much confusion. characters like aurelio and ocelo were easily recognizable, even with my impaired memory of the first book.
i'd say the sunbearer trials was a slightly better book, but its structure made it so that the pacing was easier to control. celestial monsters struggled in pacing a little, especially towards the beginning. things either jumped too quick or too much time was spent in one place for no apparent reason.
however, this was a good conclusion to the story. each character's arc was wrapped up nicely, and i appreciated the way the author made sure to allow each character to grow. it was refreshing to see genuine changes for the better in some of the characters that were universally hated in the first book.
read this if you enjoyed the first book, like percy jackson, or like lots of combat with gods.

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This was probably my most anticipated 2024 release, and I'm so happy I got to read it already! I practically inhaled this, and it was so much fun. Plotwise, this would honestly be a 4 star read, because I did think the story sort of dragged a little and didn't always seem to go anywhere. But I love the characters and the writing so much that it still felt like a 5 star read for me. The writing is so fun, the characters are all so distinct, and I loooved seeing so much more of Xio in this installment.

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Celestial Monsters is a satisfying conclusion to the duology that takes the story in several directions I wasn't expecting--about half the narration is from Xio's point of view, and Teo's portion is more of a fantasy road trip instead of the fast-paced competitions of the first book. Aurelio and Teo's developing romance is super cute, and I loved how the story deals with the flaws in the system rather than just trying to revert the world to the status quo.

Aiden Thomas has the perfect YA voice and characters, and I can't wait for his next book.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the arc! Opinions are my own.

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Aiden Thomas has truly done it again in this one. I was enthralled the whole way through this book. The surprise of a dual point of view was just the beginning for a thrilling conclusion to the Sunbearer Trials duology. I adore this series for many things: its rich cast of characters, incredibly detailed setting (not just physical, but all aspects of world building), its social commentary, its humor, its romance brewing at the heart. But most of all, I love the way it all comes together, as if the events of this book truly couldn’t have gone any other way, even though you’re on the edge of your seat wondering what happens next through every page. I’m so happy I got to read this book and so sad that it’s now over.

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Anyone who loves a character-driven, diverse and heartfelt adventure is going to adore this duology. While not as strong as the first book, I did enjoy Celestial Monsters as a finale to the series. The development of the relationships between our massive cast of main characters took a backseat to the action and adventure setting this time around. Similarly, the lighthearted trial-based tasks of the first book stand in stark contrast to the higher-stakes battles of Celestial Monsters. Yet this book keeps the same humor and charm as its predecessor, still allowing fun in, sometimes when it is least expected.

For me personally, the villains of the book fell just a tad flat, and I was hoping for an even more serious tone to balance out the consequences of our main characters' actions. Instead, the dialogue and resolving actions of many of the situations in the story seemed just a tad too simple or easy. Fortunately, this only came in moments and waves, and didn't detract from the overall experience while reading.

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While this book is most definitely written for a younger audience than me, to the point where I feel like it’s a bridge between a lot of young adult and middle grade books, it was still a fun book to read. The characters are all idiots half the time, but in the way that a lot of teenagers are, and I thought they were all really entertaining to read about. I said in my review of the first book that it was the book that I wish I could have had when I was thirteen, and I agree even more now that the duology is finished. (while this is only tangentially related I still stand by my headcanon that Teo is more Guatemalan than he is Mexican when translated to real life. I mean his mom is Quetzal. That’s like if my mom was named Bald Eagle/Dollar Bill and yet somehow I was Canadian. Also nobody in books is Guatemalan much less also transgender so I am taking what I can)
There are certain times during this book where it feels almost like fanfictiony, but not necessarily in a bad way. I don’t know exactly how to describe it. I think it may be due to the worldbuilding that this series has as a whole though. Just saying this as a warning, not a criticism. Or maybe it’s because of the takis and the instagrafia and tutube (which my computer continuously tries to correct to youtube), something that keeps on catching me off guard because it is so unserious

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This was a great follow up to the Sunbearer Trials. Aiden Thomas does a phenomenal job expanding on the world created in the first book, drawing readers in by exploring the physical nature of the world and, more intriguingly, the political aspects. The world building throughout the book was just incredible.

We left off the Sunbearer Trials on a pretty massive cliffhanger and this book does a great job of maintaining the high stakes feeling for both reader and characters. We get to see the characters explore more of who they are, facing struggles with their own identities and the world they live in. Teo, Niya, Aurelio, all of the golds and even the dioses have incredible arcs throughout, but I believe that Xio's character arc is the star of the show. Getting their perspective throughout the story gave so much more depth to the interpersonal conflicts of not only the characters but the world as a whole. Their internal struggle with where they fit into the world and the role they are meant to play creates such a nuanced and intriguing character. Their conversations with the golds were some of my favorite moments in the story.

I will say, there were moments when I found myself struggling with some moments in the writing that felt a little more laid out or slightly more juvenile dialogue, but I don't believe that has anything to do with the book or Aiden's writing, more so the fact that I am definitely a few years older than the target audience.

Overall, I had such a great time reading this. I devoured it and never wanted it to end. I'll miss reading Teo and the rest of the gang, but I will definitely be back to reread the duology in the coming years.

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I absolutely loved this one. A perfect sequel. A perfect end to a series.
I was enthralled from beginning to end, I could not stop reading. I love this world and Teo and his friends and all the characters really. Even the ones I don't really like I love. This series is just so special and good and I loved it so much. I loved the magic system and all the plot and it was just so so so good. I kept being surprised by where the book took me and that was so great too. I really don't have much more to say, I just loved it all.
I just want to read all the books by Aiden Thomas.

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The characters continue to be the reason to read this book, and I think it also fills an incredibly important place in the lower age range of the YA market. That the tone felt at times too light for the subject matter for me seems almost besides the point compared to that. It's a fun book that a lot of teens will probably feel very supported and seen by and I will definitely buy in and hand sell this duology!

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Celestial Monsters.
5/5 For Story
-Percy
Jackson Main Quest
Complete
4/5 For Worldbuilding
-We Could've Spent A Little More Time
Exploring This World 4.5/5 For Exploration Of Themes Of Good And Evil
-The More I Think Of The Ending The More I Like It.

Percy Jackson quest with cool monsters. It explores themes of the consequences of our actions and having to pay for our wrong doings. It talks about the problems with censorship and only listening to one side of a story.

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Cute fantasy romance that YA folks are sure to love. Lots of queer representation, and the latin mythology was to thoroughly embedded in the story it was incredibly fun. Some folks might be mad with where the sequel went plot-wise but i thought iut built from the themes of the first book and was wonderfully done

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This was a sweet follow up to The Sun bearer Trials, which I read earlier last year. It suffered from second book syndrome a little, but picked up quickly and became a really exciting read. My favorite character is 100% Niya (what an icon), but they were all really well written and developed. Xio was especially compelling towards the end, and I love what the author did with his story. Overall, Aiden Thomas is a great name in YA and defines the genre in a positive way; I can't wait to read what he's got next.

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I loved the story, the world building and meeting the different characters. I felt completely immersed in the story and couldn't stop reading it.

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Aiden Thomas could write a phonebook and I would read it and ask for more.

I really loved Sunbearer Trials, and knew Celestial Monsters was going to be a wild ride from start to finish- it did not disappoint.

Every single hero's personality shone so clearly in this continuation, and I love all of them as if they were my own annoying children. They're all hot headed and slightly self centered, but they have pure hearts (and mostly empty heads) so it was easy to root for them in this journey.

I'm also a HUGE softie so I knew this was gonna pluck at my heartstrings, but man. Thomas got me good a few times, and when I tell you my favorite character might be the one with the least on page. time, I mean it.

Thomas excels as taking real world issues and making them both relatable and nuanced enough for younger audiences to digest without losing the heart of the issues. You can feel the love and care that went into these characters and their story and I cannot recommend this duology enough.

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I really liked this sequel to The Sunbearer Trials! I think the author does a brilliant job of writing for youth (so very readable in terms of lexile level) and also never talking down to that age group. The story line is very fast paced with constant action (reminiscent of Rick Riordan), but the complexities of the issues these young characters are dealing with are difficult and nuanced, which shows respect for the critical thinking skills and moral development of tweens and teens. As always, Aiden Thomas normalizes gender fluidity in a way I wish we could all do in real life, and I appreciate that so much. I think this duology will have a place in school libraries and children's fantasy literature alongside RIck Riordan and all the other great writers of this mythology-fantasy-action genre.

I will highly recommend this to all readers of YA fantasy adventure!

Thanks so much to the publisher and NetGalley for this ARC!

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Aiden Thomas continues to get better and better with each book. Celestial Monsters up where The Sunbearer Trails ended. Teo and his friends need to retrieve the sol stone. Xio is struggling with who he wants to ne after reviewing everyone. Thomas does a brilliant job showing how nothing is black and white in life. There is not purely good and evil. Everything is a spectrum and I loved it. It had me laughing and tearing up!

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