Black Sun

hardcover, 464 pages

Published Oct. 13, 2020 by Gallery / Saga Press.

ISBN:
978-1-5344-3767-8
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4 stars (60 reviews)

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 …

4 editions

reviewed Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Between Earth and Sky, #1)

First in a trilogy

4 stars

Excellent worldbuilding, likeable characters - it actually pulls off the thing I've seen a few times where characters on opposing sides are all presented as likeable. Often, I end up not caring about any of them; here, I find myself wanting things to go well for all of them.

Selling points: South/meso-American-inspired setting; bi rep; nonbinary rep. (Also blind rep but I'm not sure I can recommend it on that basis - Rebecca Roanhorse obviously made an effort with the disability rep here, but he's also a reincarnated god, and as someone who's not blind on that level myself I don't think I can fairly judge whether or not she hit the balance well.)

Warnings: violence; child abuse; child neglect; ritual injury of a child by a parent; a sex scene, tasteful but fairly explicit; end on quite a sequel-hungry note.

Warnings:

Review of 'Black Sun' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

A pulpy fantasy in a setting inspired by South American and indigenous cultures. It ends on a massive cliffhanger and while one arc of plot is resolved, it does not feel like this book stands by itself. Annoyingly the plot is driven by characters making bad decisions they probably shouldn't have been in the position to make and what passes for political intrigue is really just high school drama. The effort that's gone into works building is all that brings this up to ⭐⭐⭐, I don't care enough to suffer through another two of these.

reviewed Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Between Earth and Sky, #1)

interesting worldbuilding, narrative structure, but definitely 1/3

4 stars

The Mesoamerican (?) world is interesting, and the explicit use of timestamps on each chapter (including foreshadowing, jumping back and forth) is somewhat unique, but the book definitely leaves the reader with that "Ooops I started a trilogy" feeling.

Review of 'Black Sun' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

3, 3.5 stars? This was fine, serviceable. Not something I loved or hated. I think if it were a movie I might continue on to the next in the series, but as a book I’m not especially interested in continuing.

What I liked:
1) The setting, the world, or what I got of it. I liked the setup of the clans, the Teek, the cultists.
2) Opening chapter. Loved it! Such a strong dramatic, engaging moment.
3) The political intrigue. Again - what I got of it, I enjoyed. Naranpa’s situation is the kind of fantasy drama I eat up.
4) Some of the climax with Serapio. I felt like I could visualize that battle, and it was a wild time.

What I didn’t like, much of which I recognize are preferences and subjective, not flaws of the book:
1) Character work. I found it lacking. The four POVs were …

reviewed Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Captivating story, engaging writing

5 stars

The character and world building in this book is phenomenal. I love that the author based a fantasy world on indigenous central american cultures and not medieval England (yawn).

I always appreciate a book that's got quality LGBTQ+ characters (both in terms of sexual attraction as well as gender identification).

The book got pretty intense and violent in parts, which is why I'm rating it 4 stars. Readers who don't mind that sort of stuff might appreciate it as a 5 star book. I'm not kidding when I say that the story and characters are really well done.

I finished this book last night and am excited to start the sequel tonight!

Review of 'Black Sun' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

"There was magic in the world, pure and simple. Things she didn't understand. Best get used to it."

I'm waffling hard on whether to give this the 5 stars that I feel like it deserves, and the 4 stars I want to give it out of consistency with my other books I really loved but didn't stick the landing. I'm definitely sure this was a favorite book of this year for me so far, though.

The story this book tells is from the point of view of four different characters. Xiala, a Teek captain tasked with ferrying a blind man to a distant city within a very short time for an urgent date with a Sun Priest before the Convergence (an eclipse on the solstice). Serapio is the blind man, blinded by his mother at a young age to be the vessel for a crow god bent on vengeance against …

Richtig gute, epische Story

4 stars

… Punktabzug für das Cliffhanger-Ende. Dachte die Geschichte sei abgeschlossen, aber das „Ende“ ist kein so semi offenes, sondern richtig offen. Nunja, muss ich wohl auch das Sequel, „Fever Star“ hören. Was mich auch störte an dem nicht abgeschlossen Ende: Es fühlte sich an, als hätte die Autorin sich nicht getraut, bei manchen Charakteren eine Entscheidung zu treffen. Aber wir werden sehen, ich hoffe, dass ich falsch liege. :)

Was die Story angeht: Schönes Fantasy Setting wenn mich auch der arg symmetrische Aufbau (es gibt etwa genau 4 Clans und passend Stadtviertel und so) etwas irkt und zu sehr an Sentai Serien erinnert. Schön, dass queere Charaktere vorkommen und Neopronomen nicht hinterfragt werden. Nicht so toll fand ich, dass die meisten Protagonist_innen Auserwähle oder Royals sind, was mich immer sehr anöded. Ich erlebe lieber Geschichten von 0815 working class Charakteren und ohne Magie (jdf dann wenn nur Auserwählte diese nutzen …

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4 stars

Listened to this over a weekend where I REALLY needed to escape, it was fun and engaging and I definitely got really wrapped up in the world. I didn't know very much going into it but I'd read another short story by this author that I really liked and I saw it recommend a bunch / nominated for hugo, etc. I thought the setting was extremely sick and want to learn more about how the author built the world. Lots of fantasy elements which is unfortunately not totally my jam, but I enjoyed it a lot nonetheless.

reviewed Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Between Earth and Sky, #1)

Review of 'Black Sun' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Deeply mixed feelings. Roanhorse’s new world is imaginative, rich and vivid. Her pacing is excellent. The characters, unfortunately, fall completely flat. They’re mere plot devices to move the story on: they have little agency of their own, no inner lives; the relationships between them are for the most part contrived and unsatisfying. The Doomsday Device guy docilely goes along with his preordained fate; the High Priestess is a sappy milquetoast consistently three moves behind everyone else; the Dashing Adventure Heroine — okay, she shows a lot of promise, but she has a lot of shit to get together first.

The story itself is disappointing: it all hinges on a Great Prophecy, and visions of revenge, and a lot of seriously unlikely events coming together in just the right way. There are hints of some Grandmaster-level scheming, but all of it predates the events in the book, those characters having set …

Review of 'Black Sun' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Holy expletives deleted. I have not had this visceral a reaction to a book in a long time. It was slow to start, most epic fantasies are, but by the last 150 pages plot is POPPING. So many pieces fell into place, but I'm also left with so many questions. Which is good, because the sequel comes out in the spring. I cannot wait! If you're not reading Roanhorse what are you even doing with your life!?

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