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Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

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Rating: 5/5

What It’s About:

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.


The Review

My first 5 star book of 2023! There were so many things that I loved about Black Sun. I was fully engrossed in the book the entire time. To kickoff this review, I will begin with the end in mind. Roanhorse shared in her final acknowledgements that she always dreamed about writing an epic fantasy set in a fictional world inspired by the pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas. She also comments that it’s very rare for epic fantasies to be inspired by the Americas and believes that one reason is the misconception of indigenous cultures as primitive. Then she goes on to point out how advanced these cultures were in architecture, astronomy, trade, etc. The pre-Columbian culture in Black Sun is what I love so much about this book.

The World Building

Roanhorse gave just enough detail to build the fantasy world of Black Sun while keeping the story moving at a steady pace. In particular, the visual descriptions of the indigenous characters, their clothings, and adornments were stunning. I found myself constantly in awe. The different regions, clans, and societies were interesting and it reminded me alot of Game of Thrones.

The Characters

This book is told from the point of view of four different main characters, Serapio, Xiala, Naranpa, and Okoa. Xiala and Serapio were by far my favorite characters in Black Sun. They were so complex and the author did an amazing job of building up each one with their past experiences that led them to starting their journey together. And boy did they have an incredible journey. *Small spoiler* The chemistry between them was too hot to handle. I can’t remember the last time I shipped a couple this much in a book.

Naranpa’s character took some time to start to evolve, but things got interesting once certain events took place. Okoa kind of showed up late in the game, which makes me curious about the role he will play in the second book. There are also some other characters who were very intriguing because they were either…1) a villain that I loved to hate 2) very sus and it was hard to know whose side they were on.

The Plot

The plot had me hooked from chapter one. For an epic fanstasy, the pacing was surprisingly fast paced. The story was so exciting because it was clear that the four main characters were all going to have a part in a big event, aptly called The Convergence. But what the reader doesn’t know is how the storylines will come together. The story is told with elements of dark power, prophecies, and plenty of political intrigue. The ending definitely was set up to continue the story in the next book. I’m very interested to see what Narampa and Okoa’s future hold since their stories seemed to be just beginning.

Final Thoughts

I’m so excited to already have a 5 star read so early in the new year! What an auspicious beginning! I had so much fun reading Black Sun and I plan to continue the series. This book was so enthralling that I was reading at any chance that I got. I would love to see this series adapted into a film. I think it would be so good! If you liked Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno Garcia (my review), you might also enjoy this book.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought.

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