Black Sun by Rebecca RoanhorseBlack Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
Narrator: Cara Gee, Nicole Lewis, Kaipo Schwab, Shaun Taylor-Corbett
Series: Between Earth and Sky #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on October 13, 2020
Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, Indigenous Fantasy
Length: 12 hrs 47 mins
Pages: 454
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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four-half-stars

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.

Black Sun is the first book in Between Earth and Sky trilogy, and it is a high fantasy inspired by the civilizations Pre-Columbian Americas. The winter solstice in the holy city of Tova usually means a time for celebration and renewal. But this year a solar eclipse will occur with the winter solstice. The story marches toward that Convergence.

I listened to the audiobook and each of the four points of view had their own narrator. We have Xiala, a boat captain who can control both water and people with her Song. We have Serapio, a blind man who Xiala needs to make sure is in Tova before the Convergence. The chemistry between them is fabulous. Naranpa is the Sun Priest, doing her best even though she has more enemies than she understands. Last is Okoa of clan Carrion Crow, who we know the least, but seems the most willing to accept what he doesn’t understand. They’re all compelling characters, each an outsider in their own way, and their stories move along at a good pace, letting us see the world and begin to understand the conflicts they are all swept up in.

The book was engrossing, with a dark shadow hanging over all of the events. It’s a world to get lost in. The writing was rich and descriptive. It’s possible to be good and bad, outsider and leader, honest and a liar. Magic, prophecy, political intrigue all kept the story moving ahead quickly, but without the quiet moments getting lost.

My one complaint – and for me it’s a pretty big one – is the end. We get all this lead up to the Convergence, to the confrontation between the Serapio and the priests, to The Event. While there is a bit of what we’re expecting, mostly we’re just left hanging, waiting for the second in the trilogy to see how it all plays out. I’m not a fan of cliffhangers. I loved this book enough to put the 2nd on my to-read list, but I’m also angry at the end. After almost 13 hours of listening, I got “to be continued.”

About Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse is a NYTimes bestselling and Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Award-winning speculative fiction writer and the recipient of the 2018 Astounding (Campbell) Award for Best New Writer.

Rebecca has published multiple award-winning short stories and five novels, including two in The Sixth World Series, Star Wars: Resistance RebornRace to the Sun for the Rick Riordan imprint, and her latest novel, the epic fantasy Black Sun. She has also written for Marvel Comics and for television, and had projects optioned by Amazon Studios, Netflix, and Paramount TV.

She lives in Northern New Mexico with her husband, daughter, and pup. She drinks a lot of black coffee.

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