Book Review: Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Black Sun

(Between Earth and Sky #1)

by Rebecca Roanhorse

For a fan of epic fantasy and historical fantasy, being swept into Pre-Colonial America was a treat. Roanhorse builds a sweeping world but also gets into pictures of everyday life. She brings the mystical and extraordinary into the ordinary with Black Sun.

We get an epic fantasy lens of multiple perspectives tying together the present and the past masterfully. I was riveted from page one.

The POV Characters:

An avatar for a god named Serapio. Serapio’s backstory is classic fantasy, where he is trained by many teachers, but it quickly comes into question whether he’s a hero, an anti-hero, a villain, or a dupe for his mother and her friends, who were bent on revenge. Black Sun really explores the whole nature versus nurture debate. I think it is more profound than that. The book also explores what happens to children who lack love are willing to do to get it.

A Teek woman named Xiala. Xiala is a ship captain charged with taking Serapio to Tova. She’s got time and weather constraints, an untrustworthy crew, and secrets. I found this character the most fascinating. She’s lusty and hedonistic, but she’s no terrible male trope in a woman’s body. There are reasons behind her behaviors. And, I’d like to shout out for bisexual representation done right.

A sun priestess named Naranpa. Naranpa is a woman who came from humble beginnings to rise to the highest position possible in the priesthood. She’s a smart and capable person, who is so blinded by faith she cannot see treachery all around her. I didn’t like her character at first. I’m not down with holy types trying to impose their religion on everyone else. The moment she sought out her gangster little brother, you’ll see the lengths Naranpa will go and why she deserves to be on the top.

Each of these characters’ stories would be enough but combined and how they’re tied together is what makes this story a masterpiece. Usually with epic fantasy, you’re bogged down with world building for the first several chapters, but Roanhorse artfully uses the multiple points of view to show the readers the world rather than tell.

I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment in this series.

©TJ Deschamps 2021

Published by TJ Deschamps

Tammy loves to build worlds with words, exploring themes the effect of diaspora on the generations born elsewhere than their ancestors with the backdrop of tech or magic and dragons (sometimes both). These stories are inspired by her own family's immigrant experience. She's queer and many of her characters fall somewhere on the LGBTQIA spectrum (though that is not the focus of her work). She's married to an engineer who dances. Together they are raising three precocious teens in the Seattle suburbs. Two of her children are neurodiverse. Her experiences have taught her much about the world, its beauties and its injustices. All of this comes through in her fiction with a healthy dose of absurd humor.

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