Review: Black Sun

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The start of a new series by Astounding, Hugo, Locus, Nebula, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Award-winning author Rebecca Roanhorse, Black Sun is the powerful beginning of the Between Earth and Sky series. Inspired by a pre-Colombian culture, released the day after Indigenous People's Day, this novel is so masterfully constructed that I'm tempted to compare Roanhorse to Nora Jemisin and George R. R. Martin. A tale of repression, opposition, revolution, of cruelty and love, Black Sun is a dark, epic fantasy that is at the top of my list for Hugo and Locus nominees for 2020.

Giving us the stories of Xiala, a Teek boat captain possessed of magic, a mysterious blind man named Serapio that she is transporting to the city of Tova, Lord Okoa, a young man who is brother to the new head of the Carrion Crow clan, and a Sun priest named Narapa, we see the culmination of a celestial prophecy of the Sky Made clans that centers on a remarkable day, the Day of Convergence, a legendary lunar eclipse that coincides with the winter solstice. Described as an unbalancing of the world, one of these characters will unleash a cataclysmic event on the Day of Convergence.

Roanhorse has given us a fascinating world with distinct cultures, deeply enmeshed prejudices, gentle figures who wish to swim against the currents of clan enmity, rebels who foresee a revolution, and the gruesome creation of avatars. The complex relationship between Xiala and Serapio, poignant and incredibly sensuous, is one of the most memorable aspects of this book. Serapio's disability was handled so masterfully in this novel. Indigenous two-spirit persons are also woven into the Tovan culture in a wonderful way, as is fluid sexuality. All in all this novel is just so rich. I want to start reading and listening to it all over again, a sure sign of how much I loved it.

The audiobook, narrated by Cara Gee, Nicole Lewis, Kaipo Schwab and Shaun Taylor-Corbett took a little bit of time to get used to (each voice actor narrates one of the principal characters) but is a very fine production.

I received a digital audio and ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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