Black Sun is an epic fantasy based, for a change, not on a white medieval-type world, but on the pre-Columbian Americas. It is also chock full of diverse types of people in every way, and it was all no big deal, which was great. We have three main characters for most of the book, and a fourth is added about halfway through. I knew I was in good hands as soon as the POVs started switching and there was a definite shift in tone and word choice that showed she was in control of her craft enough to differentiate between characters in her style, which is a thing that many, many, many published authors don’t seem to know how to do.
Our characters: Serapio, a child groomed from birth by his mother and a secret cabal to become a reborn crow god who died hundreds of years before; Xiala, a ship’s captain with power over the water because of her heritage as a Teek, who is hired to ferry Serapio to the holy city of Tova for unknown purposes; Naranpa, the sun priest in Tova, who is fighting from the inside to make changes to her religious institutions, and who has to overcome her past as someone from, essentially, a bad part of town (it’s a lot more complicated than that); and Okoa, a warrior (trained like all warriors in peacetime) of the Crow clan who arrives in the story just as things are going to hell.
I loved the glimpses of mythology that we got here. I loved how ambiguous everything was. You’re really not sure if you should be rooting for Serapio to do his thing and become the god reborn, because other characters are on the other side of it, and you don’t want bad things to happen to them, either. I really loved most of the characters, especially Xiala and Serapio, but reading Naranpa’s sections were frustrating. I hate reading about people who are out of their depth and are constantly being outplayed. I really think we needed to see more of her being competent and badass at her job before things started to fall apart for her. SPOILERS I also hated her stupid rival priest, whose name I can’t remember right now, and I am not ashamed to admit a little part of me was happy when Serapio/the crow god murdered her at the end END SPOILERS. This is really the only reason I couldn’t give the book five stars.
I am super interested to see where this series is going, because along with different types of characters, I think Roanhorse might be constructing a different type of story that won’t be as easily anticipated by people used to the arcs of white fantasy novels.
Also, the cover is beautiful and I’m so glad I own it in hardcover.
CBR BINGO: New Series