Reviews

Review – Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse - Black Sun cropped for featured image - review
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Book Title: Black Sun

Book Description: 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.

Book Author: Rebecca Roanhorse

Book Edition: 1st

Book Format: EBook

Publisher - Orgnization: Saga Press

Publisher Logo:

Date published: October 13, 2020

Number Of Pages: 464

  • Writing - 8/10
    8/10
  • Plot - 8/10
    8/10
  • Overall - 8/10
    8/10

Summary

Black Sun is a new and engrossing epic fantasy from Rebecca Roanhorse that will take you on its dark wings and let you fly.

Overall
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Trigger Warnings: Suicide, abuse, death, gore

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Black Sun is the first in a brand new epic fantasy series, the Between Earth and Sky series, by Rebecca Roanhorse. Roanhorse is best known for her Sixth World series, an urban fantasy series in which climate change has altered our world (known as the Fifth World) into one it’s hard for us to recognize. Black Sun starts a very different series, set in a very different time and place, on an epic scale.

Black Sun

Rebecca Roanhorse - Black SunIn a world inspired by the pre-Columbian Americas, Serapio was born to be something greater. Serapio was born to be the vessel to the Crow god. He learns this at an unfortunately young age, when his mother ritualistically blinds him (this is a pretty gory book!) and then dies of suicide. Over the years, he is tutored by three people, with the goal of getting him strong enough to serve the god’s purpose. 

20 days before Serapio is meant to fulfill his destiny, his journey to his mother’s homeland begins. Xiala, a sea-captain with stigmatized magic of her own, is pressed into taking him to Tova. However, the journey is not an easy one, and Xiala does not trust what she sees of Serapio. Are Xiala’s instincts right, and will she continue trusting them?

His mother’s homeland is having some issues of its own. Naranpa, the Sun Priest, wants to change her order for the better. She grew up in the surrounding area and knows better than most that the priesthood does not really serve the people. Therefore, Naranpa is trying to reach out to the land’s people, including the Carrion Crow clan. This makes her fairly unpopular with just about everyone. Sooner rather than later, she has more assassination attempts than she can shake a stick at, and still no idea that Serapio is coming. How can Naranpa survive when it seems like there’s an untrustworthy knife around every corner?

Modern Expectations of the “Past” in Black Sun

Roanhorse does not want the reader to forget that this book takes place in a year modern readers would associate with “the beginning of civilization”. Most of the action takes place in 325, year of the Sun. In this world, there are societal norms that we don’t associate with any past, especially not our own. Women are in positions of great power, both because they’ve earned gender-neutral positions, and because some of the societies displayed are matriarchal. A major secondary character uses xe/xir pronouns, and there are a few more characters who pass by on-screen who aren’t cisgender. Point-of-view character Xiala expresses attraction for both male and female characters. It’s wonderful to see.

Roanhorse isn’t restrained by our perceptions of the “past”. In letting those go, she gives the reader more queer representation than most epic fantasy generally has. More should follow her example.

Conclusion – Black Sun is a Gorgeous Epic, With More to Come

Black Sun is a gorgeous and atmospheric epic fantasy. Fair warning, it can also get pretty dark. Not all books are for all people, but if you don’t flinch at the aforementioned trigger warnings, I recommend at least giving this book a try.

I received this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Black Sun is available at Bookshop.org.


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About the author

Siobhan Dempsey

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