Such an epic book. I honestly can't decide what I think exactly, so I will wait on that but I know that I will be continuing this series. Such an amazing story.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn comes the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.
A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun
In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.
Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man's mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.
Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.
Black Sun is the first book in a trilogy by Rebecca Roanhorse. Released 13th Oct 2020 by Simon & Schuster on their Gallery imprint, it's 464 pages and available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.
This is a lushly imagined and beautifully realized world with magic and majesty and imperfections. The characterizations are stunning and complex and really seem to live and breathe; following their own internal motivations (which aren't always apparent). Like all really well written fantasy, it feels very realistic - the author notes that the world is based on Pre-Columbian culture and it does show its bones, but the story is so much more. I stayed up way too late reading this book and even missed my bus stop reading a particularly engaging bit (totally worth it).
This is obviously an author who's adept at her craft (she's won pretty much every major award possible for speculative fiction/SF for her earlier work). This is an impressively well written book with precisely engineered pacing and dialogue. There is a fair bit of graphic violence (always in context) including body horror on a child. There is also nuanced and very well written non-binary gender characterizations as well as depictions of non-cis attraction and love.
I'm really looking forward to what comes next. This is probably my best read in the genre thus far this year. It's complex but definitely worth the effort.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
Black Sun is an epic fantasy adventure unlike anything I've ever read. This pre-Columbian inspired fantasy will take you on a high stakes ride with bisexual mermaids, crow gods, sun priest, sailors on a voyage, forbidden magic, political intrigue and a celestial prophecy with our four diverse cast of main characters on a mystical quest.
Reasons to add to your TBR:
☀ It's a high stakes political intrigue and rivalries
☀ The worldbuilding, inspired by various Indigenous cultural influences, is excellent, sharp, innovative and expansive. And the prose is absolutely vivid and vibrant which really brings this fantasy to life. Rebecca Roanhorse proves she has the range.
☀ Complex and fully developed (morally grey) characters
☀ The rep. One of the MCs is nonbinary whom prefers neo-pronouns (xe/xir) to which the characters respect. Another MC is bisexual. The casual queerness is commonplace in their non-cis/heteronormative society and it's very much appreciated. There's nuanced disability rep as well which was also handled with care (i.e. the author hired sensitivity readers).
☀ The story revolves around the winter solstice, a time for celebration and renewal, however this one will coincide with a solar eclipse which is a rare celestial event that tips the balance of their world.
"The sea herself," she said. "I am her daughter, and when I'm with my mother"--she exhaled gustily--"nobody fucks with her children."
Black Sun is easily one of the best books I've read this year, or of all time. Find out more: https://www.emptyxkingdom.com/2020/10/story-diary-black-sun-by-rebecca-roanhorse.html
I received a copy of Black Sun in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Rebecca Roanhorse is back, and this time with an all-new series, Between Earth and Sky. The first novel in this series is Black Sun, and it is not a novel you want to skip.
Serapio has known his destiny since he was a young child. Now, with the solar eclipse looming ever closer, it is nearing the time where his destiny will rise up. All he has to do is get to Tova.
Xiala is a Teek, one who has fought and struggled to make a place for herself in a world that is far less than accepting of her gender and race. Yet she's not one for giving up either. Naturally, when opportunity knocks, that means she'll answer. Even if the job is for her to carry a strange man across dangerous waters.
“As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.”
Wow. I'm honestly not even sure where to start. Black Sun is, simply put, phenomenal. It is wonderfully written, with rich details, depicting a society far from harmonious. The sheer amount of human nature portrayed within these pages is breathtaking.
Black Sun is a world full of magic, settling into place in a time of our past. It feels both familiar and foreign, and for all the right reasons. Roanhorse's characters flesh out the world, portraying the good and bad that comes with humanity.
It is a powerful read, one that is going to be worth multiple read-throughs in the future (especially as new additions to the series near release). And I truly do mean that. It has been three days since I finished Black Sun (I needed time to contemplate the novel before writing my review), and I still cannot get it out of my head.
Xiala and Serapio are but two of the characters portrayed within the pages. There are several other perspectives given highlight, each one making the world feel even more alive. I don't want to say much about the others, because I don't want to spoil their stories (which is why they're not mentioned in my description up above). I can tell you that all the perspectives quickly lent towards a complex story, with no right or wrong answer.
It's wonderful, actually. The more you think about it, the more intense and complicated it really is. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next novel (which has no title yet, to my knowledge), especially in regards to some of my favorite characters. After all, it would be impossible to read Black Sun and not become strongly attached to those within.
See more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks