“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.
Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.”
I got an ARC of this book.
That’s it. That’s the whole review.
This book starts off with a horrific scene that really just set the tone for the whole book. Each plot line was so wonderfully written and intertwined even when they were seemingly unrelated. It was so intensely perfect. I am struggling to find words that express how I feel. I have already started to poke iam to read faster. I have so much to say, but it is so full of spoilers and intense feelings (and probably caps lock shouting “I KNOW” at each other).
The casual queer rep is what I want other authors to see. There is no need to make a whole plot line out of a character being queer or even to fully define it when it isn’t relevant to what is going on. Having the Sun Priest casually admit to having had a physical relationship with another priest who used neo pronouns was just simple and wonderful. Added depth to the characters and gave some context for their interactions. Do I know either of their sexualities? No. It wasn’t something I needed to know. Though I do need to know more about both of those priests, just because I love them. They might be my favorite characters.
The Teek plots were so full of heartbreak and longing. I wanted to hug Xiala so close. I wanted to protect her from the world. I wanted to know every single detail about her world. There is something about her that made me so excited. She was tough, she was a bit crude, and I am pretty sure she could have killed me without really trying. Can I be her friend? I really need to see more of her.
The time jumps made perfect sense and they revealed things at just the right moments. I was so impressed with just how fluid everything was. It was perfectly arranged and plotted. The timing and the pacing was spot on. It was an amazing book. I really can’t find anything to complain about. I tried earlier to complain about something and it didn’t go well for me. I messaged my partners about how there was a cool sounding game described and that I was pissed that a version I could play didn’t exist yet. I did a quick google, but with the wrong term. As soon as I used the right word, there was an academic text about the development of the game and how it changed over time and over land. There were even diagrams of the different way the boards could look. There was a lot of information on how to play the game and how everything worked. The game was tracked through Mexico and some of the United States. The game was such a small detail, but the way that Roanhorse included it so accurately was such a big thing for me. So my attempts to be mad about something led me to finding out that Roanhorse really did her homework. Even on a detail as small as a gambling game that only appears twice in the book, once by name and once to advance the plot. If she put that much effort into that small of a detail, I can only imagine the things I missed.
Overall, one of the best books I have read this year and probably the best fantasy novel I have ever read.
5 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book.
You can buy the book here.