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Monday, October 12, 2020

EPIC!: Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

by Rebecca Roanhorse
Series: Between Earth and Sky #1
Genres: Fantasy, Adult
Publisher: Saga
Publication Date: October 13th 2020
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷

I'm not the most experienced adult epic fantasy reader but when Amber at Du Livre couldn't stop raving about Black Sun, curiosity got the best of me. I don't know what it was about Black Sun, but this is the first fantasy book I've read in a very long time that has held my attention all the way through. It's a remarkable character-driven fantasy series opener that's undeniably going to evolve into an epic trilogy. 

Black Sun is told through the POVs of several characters. That in itself should have put me off because I'm not a fan of multiple narrators in books, but Rebecca Roanhorse made the experience smooth and coherent. Each of the four protagonists had a distinct voice and personality which was not only helpful but also made the story enjoyable. Despite the rich characterizations of all four characters, as anticipated, I did have a favorite character and it was Xiala: a kick-butt captain who had magical abilities derived from the power of the sea. She was the most compelling because of her no-nonsense, but kind personality. Xiala's painful yet hopeful journey made her easy to champion. In Black Sun, she was tasked with transporting Serapio, a blind and scarred young man, to the city of Tova in time for the occurrence of a rare eclipse. Though she clearly had the ability to fulfill this demand, the journey was still a treacherous one. 

Serapio was my second favorite character. Black Sun had a heavy focus on Serapio's background because he was at the center of the plot. As a child, he had his eyes carved by his own mother to act as a sacrifice so he can become a god. Crows became his only true companions and eyes as he grew up. His character was intriguing as there were times I wondered whether his motivations were pure, but Rebecca Roanhorse created a strong case for him as a "hero" in Black Sun. This man and his subtly soft actions somehow managed to finagle his way into my heart. One of the other main characters is Naranpa, the sun priest in Tova, who was embroiled in some complicated family dynamics and was the target of an assassination plan. Later on in the book, we also get a POV from Okoa, who didn't get much page space to shine, but who will evidently play a pivotal role in the series. Both of these characters were interesting in their own way, but perhaps not as memorable as Xiala and Serapio.

What I loved about Black Sun was its slow pace. I've found over the years that when it comes to fantasy, I prefer the slower journeys as it allows me to fully immerse myself in the fictional world and understand the politics, the societal structures, the prophecies, and the magical system (AND THE CROWS!). This was my first book from Rebecca Roanhorse and I now recognize why she is a renowned name in the book industry. The Pre-Columbian Americas inspired worldbuilding in Black Sun was exquisite. It's clearly the work of a masterful author and I couldn't be happier to have experienced the start of it myself. I did want to learn more about each of the clans within the world of Black Sun, but I understand that this is a trilogy and there's a lot more to come. Plot-wise too, there was a lot going on in Black Sun, but because of the slower pace, there was a build-up to the plotlines, which I really appreciated. I thought the build-up also helped to make that ending one that readers could foresee and at the same time be astounded by. Please, I need the next book already. I also wanted to mention the flawless incorporation of a diverse cast as well as the use of neo pronouns. Black Sun has one of the most diverse fantasy cast I've read and I couldn't have been happier with it.

I've been looking for a new series to completely engulf me emotionally and Black Sun satisfied that feeling for me. It's truly a breathtaking start to a series that is bound to be a rollercoaster of an experience. I can't wait.

Let's chat!

Do you read adult fantasy books? Is Black Sun on your TBR?
Let me know in the comments below!