Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

TITLE: Black Sun
AUTHOR: Rebecca Roanhorse
LENGTH: 450 pages
PUBLISHED IN: 2020
GENRE: fantasy (based on pre-Columbian indigenous peoples of the Americas; LGBTQ+ characters)
ISBN: 9781534437678
REASON FOR READING: discovered it on Goodreads
RATING: 5/5

Summary (book jacket):

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.

My Thoughts: I absolutely loved this story. The back-and-forth in time and different characters/settings the chapters focused on took a few chapters to get used to, but as long as you pay attention to the time & location heading each chapter, it isn’t all that confusing. I think the back-and-forth timeline was utilized in a great way here, because chronological order would’ve left the story with large jumps through time.

I loved the characters and the settings. Most of the fantasy I read is young adult fantasy, and while this isn’t so mature that an older teenager couldn’t/shouldn’t read it, it definitely felt like the audience was meant to be adults and I could pick up on those subtle differences. The main characters are Naranpa, Okoa, Xiala, and Serapio, all of whom come from different backgrounds and different clans. I’m not well-educated on pre-Columbian indigenous tribes in the Americas–a large fault of the American education standards I plan to rectify in the homeschooling of my children. I would say I know more than most people I know personally, but there is a lot to be desired because of the vast difference between those nations. Roanhorse described the characters and settings well, and I can only hope my imagination based on what I know of indigenous nations is near to what she was attempting to (fictionally) portray. This might be jumping the gun, but I could see this and the future two books of her trilogy become an amazingly beautiful & fantastical film–an indigenous production from top to bottom hopefully, if it ever did come to fruition.

I cannot pick my favorite portion of the story because anytime I picked it up to read, I couldn’t put it down. The character of Okoa was less developed than the other three; however, based on how the book ended, I can only imagine he will receive his due diligence in the next book(s). I’m anxiously awaiting the next installment, which I hope comes out sometime in 2021.

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