Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
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.
WOW WOW WOW!!!! I was expecting something special from Black Sun because Roanhorse is such a fantastic writer, but all of my expectations were completely blown out of the water. This book is exciting, smart, unique, and so. dang. GOOD.
Roanhorse’s clear strong-suit as an author is building unique, authentic worlds. Tova and the surrounding lands are reminiscent of pre-colonial America, and specifically resemble the Mayan empire. This inspiration taken from history gives the book a feeling of realism, even as the magic comes at you from many different directions. There’s so much detail, but without ever getting bogged down in it. And I mean, wow, the descriptions! I really felt like I was there.
But, in my opinion, what sets Black Sun apart from Roanhorse’s Sixth World series are the characters. They are so complex and varied. I found them all fascinating, and I was completely caught up in their journeys, even when (especially when) they were so different from me as to be unfathomable. I loved how everyone was so flawed and shades-of-grey. This is NOT a good vs. evil story. It is pure intrigue at its FINEST, and that is only possible when the characters are compelling and believable.
I had honestly forgotten how much I enjoy epic fantasy. You can tell, even from the beginning, that this story is a long, convoluted one that can’t possibly wrap-up in a single book. Doesn’t matter, I’m totally here for ALL of it.
Hands down, one of my favorite books of the year. Perfect for fans of The City of Brass or Game of Thrones. Just, wow.