Etta

Audiobook Review: Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1)

Published June 29th 2021

Author: Rebecca Roanhorse

Narrators: Cara Gee, Nicole Lewis, Kaipo Schwab, & Shaun Taylor-Corbett

Audiobook Length: 12 hours 47 minutes

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 even 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 a “brilliant world that shows the full panoply of human grace and depravity” (Ken Liu, award-winning author of The Grace of Kings). This epic adventure explores 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 this “absolutely tremendous” (S.A. Chakraborty, nationally bestselling author of The City of Brass) and most original series debut of the decade

Black Sun (#1)
Fevered Star (#2)
The Mirrored Heavens (#3)

Black Sun is the first novel in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy set in the pre-Columbian Americas. It is set in the Meridian, where the characters are either in the city of Tova or are traveling there for the Convergence, the day when the Earth, moon, and sun align. There are four clans: Carrion Crow, Water Strider, Golden Eagle, and Wind Serpent who are led by the Watchers, which consist of the Sun Priest (hawaa), the Priest of Knives (tsiyo), the Priest of Records (ta dissa), and the Priest of Healing (seegi).

The story follows four characters: Serapio, Nara, Xiala, and Oaka. Serapio was blinded by his mother when he was younger as she believed he was prophesized to be involved with the crow god. He is on a mission to seek vengeance. He is aided by Xiala, a disgraced Teek sailing Captain, who is taking Serapio to Tova. Next is Naranpa (Nara), the Sun Priest in the city of Tova, who is trying to maintain peace, monitors the heavens, studies the patterns of the sun and the moon, and must revisit unpleasant memories from her past. Finally, there is Okoa, the warrior prince of the Carrion Crow clan. The first two get the most exploration followed by Nara and then Okoa. There seems to be more to come, so I am not sure how much page-time each will get in the sequel. As Serapio and Xiala are traveling together there were a few moments where their parts felt repetitive, however, their motivations and individual journeys were different enough to be interesting.

Each chapter begins with a countdown to the Convergence, so slowly the reader pieces together the history and, eventually how the characters all fit together. Everything in the world is well-described, so it was easy enough to picture the characters and events. There were some moments where the reader went back in time as well as stayed in the present. Along with the multiple characters and subplots to track, it was difficult, at first, to follow along, however, it did all make sense in the end. The ending does feel a little abrupt, but it was semi-expected as there is a sequel. Overall, this was an interesting story and with the cliffhanger ending, I definitely cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel!

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