Cover of Karma of the Sun by Brandon Ying Kit Koey. The sun rises over the mountains.

About the Book

Title: Karma of the Sun
Published: 2023

Cover Story: ‘Two Suns in the Sunset’
Drinking Buddy: ‘Another Tequila Sunrise’
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (graphic violence)
Talky Talk: ‘Sunshine on My Shoulders’
Bonus Factors: Post-Apocalypse, Tibet
Bromance Status: ‘Sunny’

Cover Story: ‘Two Suns in the Sunset’

Nice sun motif, with the red circle representing a new dawn or the nuclear war that destroyed everything. As always, less is more.

The Deal:

Deep in the Tibetan Himalayas, a village clings to a sustenance existence. Generations ago, six suns blasted in the sky. The prophecy says that with the coming of the Seventh Sun, everyone on earth will die.

Now this isn’t a Planet of the Apes scenario. Everyone knows that the suns were nuclear blasts and that humanity used to be much more advanced than they are now. Heck, there’s the wreck of a flying machine just outside of town. But that’s cold comfort to the people of the village who live under the brutal dictatorship of the Minister and raise starving yaks to survive.

Things are even worse for young Karma, son of the Sherpa. Years ago his father left town in search of The Mountain, a gateway to the spirit world that would save everyone. As it turned out, he just wanted to steal food and supplies, with no intention of ever returning. Karma and his mother live with that shame every day.

But things are changing. The Minister shows up at Karma’s village. Perhaps Karma’s father wasn’t the scoundrel everyone made him out to be. It seems he might have found the path to the Mountain before vanishing. And now Karma must finish what his father started. Led by the sound of a horn only he can hear, Karma leads a ragtag group toward the Mountain…and possibly his lost father.

Drinking Buddy: ‘Another Tequila Sunrise’

Two pints of beer cheersing

Karma was one of those characters you can’t help but root for. All his life, he’s been the scum of the town. Now, all of a sudden, he’s supposed to be their savior. He feels he’s not qualified to lead…but why is he the only one who can hear that phantom horn? Is he truly the promised one? Or can he fake it until he makes it?

That being said, I did have some issues with his character. He was forced to lie to survive in many occasions, and sometimes his betrayal of people who trusted him, even enemies, left a sour taste in my mouth. Also, the author chose to write in third, rather than first person, which prevented me as the reader getting into his head as much as I would have liked. A good character, but not one of my favorites.

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (graphic violence)

Treks through the unforgiving Himalayas (which are a little smaller than they used to be before the nuclear exchange); warlords, rebels, bandits, and rogue monks; the mythic migoi; and a thousand other perils. This is a quest few will come back from. In fact, few do. Just when I started liking someone, the author killed them off. It was hard to know who I should get attached to.

Talky Talk: ‘Sunshine on My Shoulders’

It was a good book, but not a great one. All the alliances, factions, and leaders kind of ran together in my mind by the end. Karma’s ‘look out for number one’ attitude wore thin. I’m not familiar enough with Tibetan mysticism to make sense of a lot of concepts, and the author kind of assumed readers’ knowledge. For a survival action story, it was okay. For an introduction to Tibetan culture and history, I’d stick with realistic fiction for now.

Bonus Factor: Post-Apocalypse

A nuclear explosion and mushroom cloud.

So the world has been destroyed, and remote Tibet is the only place that was spared, due to its isolation and the protecting mountains.

Except, we never got to hear much about that. I picked up this book because I was hoping for a lot of scavenging through the ruins, future people puzzling over artifacts from our time, tribes of weird nomads, mutant animals, and surviving fragments from ‘The Before.’ Instead, we’re told that this is a post-nuclear world, and that’s about it. With very little editing, this book could have taken place in the distant past, or in a complete fantasy world. The author states that he wanted to write an end-of-the-world book from an Asian perspective, but it was hard to tell what was real Tibetan culture or fantasy created for the novel, at least from this outsider’s perspective.

Bonus Factor: Tibet

Potala Palace, Tibet

So what does the average Westerner know about Tibet? Home to Mt. Everest? Used to be independent, now part of China? Monks? Yeti? The Dalai Lama? This book would have been a good introduction to an interesting place, but it was hard to tell what was real and what was created for the book.

Bromance Status: ‘Sunny’

A fun, cozy read. I hope this author branches out into contemporary fiction, I think there are good books in store from this guy.

Literary Matchmaking

The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1)

Lauren DeStephano’s The Glass Spare deals with another unlikely hero in a magical land.

Elemental (Elemental #1)

Antony John’s Elemental series also deals with an outcast who saves the day in a post-disaster world.

Let’s Call It a Doomsday

Let’s Call it a Doomsday by Katie Henry is a fun look at the end of the world.

Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.