Impress a man today, and he’ll expect you to impress him tomorrow, too.Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
This book gave me a lot of mixed feelings. I enjoyed it, yet it grated at me. I soared toward the climax breathlessly, yet it felt like it dumped me unceremoniously at the end. The characters were great, but the romance between the two best ones was kind of meh even though I actually do like it as a concept. The setting was excellent, the stakes gripping…
And yet. I don’t know.
At the beginning of the book, the pace was horrible. I mean so, so slow. The mystery of what Serapio was and why and what all the events were leading up to unfolded at a glacial pace. I was hungry for more, but by the end I found I wished Roanhorse had kept it a secret longer.
Because, truthfully, the mystery of Serapio was entirely underwhelming. It was not revealed in his admission to Xiala, but instead hundreds of pages before that. His role as a god of vengeance was obvious from the first moment the historical Night of Knives was described. The culmination of his arc was as the horizon on a flat sea. Inevitable and visible from a looooong way off.
On the flip side, Naranpa’s ending was disappointing because it was not expected. The opening of her POV was lovely. I love it when we know a POV character will be dead by the end. It makes their arc so much more chilling and fascinating, which — imho — her arc needed because otherwise it was so dreadfully dull.
Lastly, I felt that Okoa’s POV was added much too late in the narrative and offered very little to the story itself. In fact it seemed like he was simple there to function as a plot device. A bridge to the other arcs, a means to get Serapio out of the city at the end and nothing else.
On the whole, the various POVs left me precious little time to sink my teeth into my favorite parts: the setting and the enigma of Serapio (also everything to do with the Teek, more of that please).
Yet, despite these complaints I cannot say that this book was anything but good. It was very well written, included queer (including non binary rep), and had a great, compelling central mystery (even if it turned out not to be a mystery after all) that left me hungry. Even though I knew how it would end, I craved that ending. I wanted Serapio to succeed. I wanted everything about his destiny to be true. I was deeply invested in his journey. Though the ending was a bit disappointing and did not leave me excited for the sequel, I did actually like this book for its line by line prose and it’s atmosphere. And the cover is excellent, my god.
All told, I give it a 4 out of 5.
Next up on my TBR is The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter. Looking forward to getting into it. Until next time friends!
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