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  • Writer's pictureMandy McHugh

*****Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse: A Review

Give this book all the stars.

Rarely do I find a world-building book that captures and holds my attention. Dense texts of description in order to get the story started are difficult for me to get through, and because of that, I don't typically choose titles in the fantasy genre. I will also admit that I've never seen a Star Wars movie. Maybe someday, but today is not that day. However, I am familiar with Rebecca Roanhorse's writing, and with the stunning cover and summary, I was THRILLED to receive an eARC of Black Sun. Nara is the Sun Priestess whose progressive views on tradition threaten the existing order. Serapia is a highly-trained, purposely blinded man who believes he's "chosen" and is on mission that could end in catastrophe for everyone. Xiara is the captain commissioned to sail him to Tova to fulfill his destiny before the Convergence. Okoa is head of the Crows, navigating grief, destiny, and the delicate balance between war and peace. Based on various pre-Columbian myths and told in four alternating POVs, Black Sun centers around a prophecy, old vs. new worlds, and how the separate journeys of different clans/groups intertwine and culminate on the Convergence. When I finished this, all I could think was WOW. First, the world building was expertly done and so subtle you don't realize you're learning about entire histories within a single chapter epitaph, an excerpt from a sacred text or a curse or a cultural narrative. These not only framed the chapters, but helped give valuable information for context without bogging down the explosive plot in intricate details. Characters are the true star here, and each POV is richly developed and independent--a difficult feat to pull off, especially in the confines of a first in the series. Trying to explain complex histories and ties and betrayals while giving four main characters their own voices, breathing life into supporting characters who are less the focus but still add depth and insight for our main characters--this could easily be messy or overwhelming, but Roanhorse weaves these strands with dexterity and grace, and never once did I find myself confused or wishing for less. I wanted more, specifically of the relationship between Serapio and Xiara. Their characters jumped off the page, and I was invested in their journey more than any of the others--which, I think, is bound to happen in any epic fantasy. Everybody has a Potter house or a GoT affiliation, after all, and this was no different for me. Xiara's voice was vivid and beautiful, and her interactions with Serapio were special. Their histories and stories, the tension and understanding, I could read a book just about the two of them and be happy. Overall, Black Sun is a stunning, engaging, beautiful read with complex characters, masterful world building, and an abundance of action. Huge thanks to Gallery and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.


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