The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Summary from Goodreads:
Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.
While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.
But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.
While I ended up liking this book in the end, it was hard going through most of it. It was somewhat slow moving and boring, plus I didn’t care for two of the characters and their storyline. Once I got past the first 100 pages though I found it a very interesting story that I wanted to finish.
There is basically two stories being told here. Tianlan and Odessa’s who lived on the dark side of the planet and Arjun and Haidee who lived on the side where the sun never set. At times it felt like I was reading two totally different books, the characters and settings were just so different from each other. The two stories do not catch up to each other until the last fifty or so pages either, which made it harder to make it through the slower parts.
Arjun and Haidee’s story was the more interesting to me. I really liked both of them. Arjun was a desert forager and orphan. He lost his hand to his magic, but he has some sort of gun that lets him focus his fire power into a pretty fierce weapon. Haidee is the sun goddess, and a mechanika, she likes to tinker with things and make them work. She also cared immensely about the animals in her world, many of whom were changed or killed because of the damage done to the world. Their struggles across the desert to reach the abyss was very exciting and full of very interesting things, like a sand sea. I also liked that Arjun and Haidee start of not exactly as enemies, but certainly a large amount of wariness with each other that eventually turns into love as the overcome the obstacles thrown in their way.
Tianlan and Odessa was my least favorite part of the story and the sections that I found the most tedious. I didn’t like either of them very much as individuals and didn’t really think they worked as a couple either. Odessa is a bit of a brat and doesn’t care about anything except herself and Lan is almost as bad. Their journey across their land to reach the abyss also had obstacles, but most of them were made by them or the large group they were traveling with. There was a lot of friction between the individuals in the group which caused them to loose sight of the purpose of their journey. Also Odessa’s personal journey with who she was and how she was changing just didn’t appeal to me that much. I saw what was happening way sooner than she realized what was happening. There was just too much political intriguing on this side of the story too, that just wasn’t working for me.
The world building was amazing though. The two opposites sides were very distinctive in their floral and fauna and how it affected the people who lived there. I also liked the fact that the sun side was a bit more technologically advanced. It had a very steampunk feel to it. The mythology of the world and the stories we learn about the goddesses was just phenomenal. It really enhanced the rest of the story. The writing is of course well done and beautiful as always.
The main issue I had with the whole book was the magical system. I just never got a good handle on how it worked. I finally figured out about 100 pages in that it was some type of elemental magic, which helped, but I was still frustrated in the mechanics of it. It just wasn’t well explained and the fact that it could be taken away or given to an individual was also just kind of weird.
Even though this book has some issues and was a bit tough to get through, I think it is well worth the effort. The ending was not what I was expecting plus it has a bit of a cliff hanger. I look forward to the next book, if only to find out what happens to Arjun and Haidee.