Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Black Sun was breathtaking. As I know from her fabulous Sixth World series, Roanhorse thrives on creating complex, compelling worlds and this novel was no exception  I was instantly and utterly immersed in the environment: the city of Tova with its soaring Mesas and swaying bridges, bisected by the chasm containing Tova’s roiling underbelly, Coyote’s Maw. Every small detail opened up a world of curiosity for me: I am desperate to learn more about the legendary, matriarchal Teek, the merchant city of Cuecola, the legends of gods and ancient powers that fill in the edges of the tale. While this lush world-building was one of my favorite things about the novel it also was part of my small frustration: there are so many more things I want to know and understand in this novel than are clearly laid out by its conclusion. This is almost certainly due to the fact that it is the beginning of a large story. Black Sun is the start of a series rather than a stand-alone novel, something I wasn’t totally clear on going into it. 

However, this gripe was only a small blip compared to how much I loved the rest of the novel. The characters were complex and fascinating. I adored the characters we got perspective from: the mysterious Serapio, the sailor Xiala, the Sun Priest Naranpa, but wished that others had a little more time with the narrative; namely Okoa, Zataya, and Denaochi who were slightly more minor characters but nonetheless exemplified extraordinary potential for expanding the world.

It was also refreshing to see fantasy inspired by a culture that I do not see frequently represented. Roanhoarse mentions in her author’s note that she drew from Maya, Tewa, and Polynesisan culture and folklore when constructing the novel. It is also clear from her author’s note that she did thorough research and put time and effort in consulting with other indigenous individuals on their representation in the story. In a time when so much high fantasy is dominated by pseudo-european narratives, it is enlightening to see new perspective.

Published by Emma Wolfe

My name is Emma, and I am a Clinical Psychology PhD hopeful doing research in Boston. In my spare time, I am also a book reviewer and blogger. I specialize in science fiction and fantasy, but enjoy genre-bending literature of all kinds. I am also an amateur creative writer; my work has been published in national undergraduate literary magazines such as The Albion Review and the Allegheny Review.

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