Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse | Book Review

Wednesday 14 October 2020

 There are two things I can say about Net Galley. The first is that it's really screwed up my reading plans. I'm all ready to pick up the next book on my TBR but what's that? I just got approved for a book I wanted? Well there go my plans. The second thing I can say is that it's given me the opportunity to read a lot of good stuff for free. When I saw that Rebecca Roanhorse's new book was available to request, I jumped on it. Now the book is out available for purchase from your local book peddler and in celebration of that, here's my review.

I already want the next book. I want it in my hands now. So if you're looking for a simple good or bad review, this is it. This book is good. In fact, it's wonderful. But for those of you who want more, I'll go on.

Premise: A ship sets sail for the holy city of Tova. On that ship is Xiala, the captain who is a disgraced Teek. She has the power of song that can calm the seas and warp men's minds. She has one goal, to deliver a passenger named Serapio to the holy city in time for the convergence, a holy time. But this year the convergence is happening alongside a solar eclipse and Serapio, the blind and scarred young man, has a destiny to fulfill. There is also Naranpa, the Sun Priest, who aims to reunite the people of Tova who have long since distrusted the priesthood. But she has enemies from all sides who don't want her to succeed. 

I had a bit of fear when picking up this book. I feared that I would get confused. There really is a lot going on and one of the downsides of the fantasy genre is that if it's not done well, it's easy to get lost. I'm currently reading The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan and I got lost more than once. But I'm happy to say that Rebecca Roanhorse is a pro and it never got too hard to follow.

There was a good mix of characters and not many of them fell into any classic trope. Even if they did fit a certain trope's niche, they were their own person and not some cardboard cutout of what's expected of the genre. There was also no clear bad side. Though I did pick a side, it's not as clear as something like Jedi vs Sith. The characters and their various plights have depth beyond good vs evil and I loved that. Naranpa's goals are pure and honest. She wants to restore people's faith in the priesthood. Serapio's goals are honorable. He wants to bring forth an long dead god to bring his people back to their former glory. These two goals can't coincide. Only one side can win and I'm not sure who I want to get the metaphorical gold.

There was also wonderful representation for the LGBTQ+ community. A main character is Bi. More than one important side characters use gender neutral pronouns, and there's even transgendered representation. The best thing is, is that it all came about naturally. It never felt forced to meet some sort of unspoken woke quota. The only thing I found difficult was the use of the xe/xir pronouns since I'm used to the more popular they/them. But that's not really a big deal at all at it was easy to get used to even if it was jarring at first.

 The world Roanhorse created is vast and full of possibility. Just like Terry Brooks's Shannara, Roanhorse's world in the Between Earth and Sky series has a lot of potential for stories beyond this series. Everything was original too which makes the promise for more even more intriguing. But right now all I want is the sequel to Black Sun. IT doesn't end on a huge cliffhanger, but it's so good that I want more right away.

Black Sun is a fun read. It has a very intriguing story with great characters that tell a unique tale. The world is immersive and easy to understand but that doesn't take away from the wonder of it all. Rebecca Roanhorse is a master of her craft and I'm so glad I got the opportunity to read this book.

Black Sun gets an 11 out of 11

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