Between Earth and Sky #1

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

Summary from NetGalley:

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.

Arc provided by Gallery Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

Confession:

This is an exceptionally well done epic fantasy set in an otherworldly world based on the pre-Columbia era of the Americas. The world building is of course, lush and amazing, the characters are very well developed and the plot is so very interesting with lots of action and political intrigue to keep you interested to the end.

The amazing characters are just a small but important part of this book. We hear from many characters throughout the book, but there are three main narrators and then one that I certainly hope we hear more from.

  • Naranpa is the Sun Priest, who is only trying to do her best to keep the peace and prevent another war with the clans. She is thwarted by her own in ways none of us see coming.
  • Xiala was my favorite character. A young woman who has gone through many hardships to get where she is. Loved her Teek heritage, and hope we learn more about it in future books.
  • Serapio is also a favorite character. He has also gone through many hardships to get where he is. But he is such a lonely young man that you just want to give him constant hugs.
  • Oaka was the one we heard from the least, but I think we will see a lot more from in the future. What I saw I really liked.

The world building is of course is amazing. If you have read other works by this author, then you know what to expect. Everything is described in such a way that you feel that you are there, without the plot being bogged down. The mythology is also, so well woven into the story throughout that it never slows anything down. The pacing of the story is perfect, neither too fast or slow. But it is epic fantasy, so there is some expectation of the surreal and unanswered questions at the end.

I just loved the story and the characters. I loved that for most of the story, except for Serapio and Xiala, the narrators are kept separate until the end of the book. I also really appreciated the mayan and aztec mythologies and cultural influences of the story. This is one you really want to read if you like epic fantasy.

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