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I thought this would be a one off type of fantasy book but I feel it's a set-up for more in this alternative Mesoamerican setting (as otherwise, that's a strange ending!). The setting is well done and does ask good questions about fate versus destiny, especially when you have new and old gods....I do hope there are more in the series as it's pretty unique.
Too often books are forced to work doubly hard to tell a story and present a message because there is a lack in the publishing world they need to fill. "Black Sun" did not bother too hard with the message. Meaning, the author wrote characters who were, for instance, of a third gender without spending precious time explaining that. It was completely normal to the characters enough so that it did not warrant explaining.
I did not like the different perspectives evenly, however, and I think there were a few characters whose perspectives weren't as necessary as others. I wanted more of certain characters and less of others, basically. Overall, worth a read.
I wanted it to be good, and it is good! The setting is strong, and the character work is believable and compelling. It's a mix of character driven with occasional action, so the character arcs being well done is satisfying.
It is great the setting is not a pseudo-medieval Europe. It feels uniquely epic and added to the experience in a fun way. I kinda want to read more about pre-columbian cultures in North America now. I think this setting can easily support a lot more storytelling. In terms of magic it's more of a "low magic" setting in that magic/supernatural forces clearly exist but not in a common everyday sort of way.
The characters feel quite real, even the ones with magic stuff going on. I like how grounded their stories are, for me there was a real sense that these are just people doing their best in their respective situations and trying overcome their various flaws. The storytelling happens across three main chapter points of view, with an occasional fourth.
It's quite dark and violent at times but not overwhelmingly so. I don't think it fits into the "grimdark" category.
I'm excited to read the sequel. It's worth giving this one a try. There is a lot to like.
First, I must mention the cover, that is what originally sold me on this book. It's so simple, yet breath taking. The color contrast...OMG! It just interprets the book so well. From the very beginning to the end, I was captivated. Rebecca Roanhorse does an amazing job transporting readers to the pre-Columbian Americas era. The representation in this book is so necessary. A cast containing POC who identify as gay, non-binary and everything in between? Uh yes please! A sea captain who has a deep connection with the sea that even some of her crew admire/fear her for. Sign me up! I am now a forever fan of Rebecca Roanhorse. The Between Earth and Sky trilogy shall defiantly have a place on my bookshelf. Can’t wait for the sequel!
Excellent story and storytelling, can't wait for the next book in this series.
Gritty fantasy with unforgettable characters, indigenous influence and mesmerizing prose.
Roanhorse skillfully weaves together a world inspired by pre-Columbian American cultures and traditions, in this first novel in a new epic fantasy series. The book presents the reader with strong characters, a world that feels lived in but not overly complex, and a gathering of protagonists that are neither clearly good or evil, right or wrong. The story is fairly straightforward to follow, with some intrigue, but the tale mostly revolves around a chronological countdown to an upcoming solar eclipse and the climatic events that follow, with some backstory thrown in to flesh out characters and the world. Overall, some characters are more engaging than others, and the world feels fresh yet real; this is a good first entry in a new series that is sure to draw a following as the series continues.
Rebecca Roanhorse began her writing career only a couple years ago, but with this ambitious work of high fantasy, she has earned her place as one of the finest writers in the genre. Fueling the storyline with mythological elements from ancient indigenous American cultures, Roanhorse delivers a fast-paced adventure tale of political intrigue with strong female protagonists and rich cultures. She writes with a mastery that already seems fully developed, and I look forward to spending more time in her worlds--starting with the next two volumes of this planned trilogy.
Rebecca Roanhorse, an established and acclaimed writer of sci-fi and urban fantasy, has really hit her stride in Black Sun. Inspired by pre-Columbian Indigenous folklore, it has all the makings of the next big fantasy series. Effortless world building, complex and memorable characters, great queer representation, a plot that unfurls in a most satisfying way to an epic conclusion that left me yearning for book 2 of the Between Earth and Sky series.
"And Grandfather Crow said to First Woman, tell me your stories so that I might know who you are and what you value."
I have no words. Thankfully, Rebecca Roanhorse, author of Black Sun, was filled with brilliant words and concepts when she created what I believe to be the best epic fantasy of the year.
Black Sun is a stunning fantasy inspired by pre-contact Mesoamerica. Roanhorse has created a complex world that is revealed by three characters as they converge on the holy city of Tova. An upcoming solar eclipse is set to interrupt a winter solstice ceremony and certain factions within the city are at a tipping point.
Sun-priests, giant crows, mutiny at sea, and intensely compelling characters make Black Sun an innovative high fantasy unlike any other. Fans of N.K. Jemisin will appreciate the diverse cast and unique world building in the first book of the new Between Earth and Sky trilogy.
This is how to write a first chapter! Roanhorse kicks off Black Sun with an compelling beginning that immerses readers in a deeply imaginative world inspired by Pre-Columbian history. Featuring several distinctive characters, Roanhorse propels readers towards something called the Convergence. For fantasy fans that love being immersed in world building.
Fantasy with a world inspired by pre-Columbian civilizations. Really, really, excellent world building. Tough, nuanced characters. Matter-of-fact LGBTQ+ representation. Oh, and a cliff hanger ending. Ugh...it's going to a be a WAIT for the sequel!
(I was given an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.)
A tight, intricately plotted book with a fully realized world and compelling characters. BLACK SUN should be considered a masterclass in fantasy writing and take a space next to the greats of the genre.