Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
Published by Saga Press on October 13, 2020
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.
Without a doubt one of my favorite books of the year, Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is an epic multi-POV adventure that is engrossing from start to finish. The author brings a breath of fresh air to the fantasy genre with this unique tale inspired by the civilizations of the pre-Columbian Americas. It’s fast paced with tons of action and the ending will leave you reeling.
Roanhorse weaves an intricate, vivid world that bursts from the page and this lush setting is home to gods, prophecies, magic and more. Religion and politics take center stage as a solstice approaches and the author is able to explore multiple religions that coexist as well as fanaticism. She also delves into struggles against the confines of society, history, and power.
What truly makes this story standout though is the intriguing characters that give voice to the narrative. There’s Serapio a quiet, controlled blind man with unimaginable power; Xiala, a disgraced pirate with unique skills of her own; Naranpa, priestess of the sun, navigating the ever shifting hierarchies of Tova; and Okoa, the son of a murdered clan matron.
As their stories intersect and converge, the vast scope of the novel is revealed and the future of these characters and this world reach a tipping point. Don’t let the size of this story scare you though, readers will have no trouble keeping up with this standout saga. If you haven’t read any of Rebecca Roanhorse’s work previously, Black Sun is the perfect place to start.