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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn comes the “engrossing and vibrant” (Tochi Onyebuchi, author of Riot Baby) first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.

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 best-selling author of The City of Brass) and most original series debut of the decade.

©2020 Rebecca Roanhorse. All rights reserved. (P)2020 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about Black Sun

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Can’t wait for the next instalment

Love the uncolonized vision Roanhorse has created. It’s a definite “free your mind” experience based on an Indigenous perspectives, values and cultures.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Can't Wait for the Sequel

From the synopsis, I knew it was going to be epic, but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer brilliance of BLACK SUN. I feel like any words I use will minimize what I feel about this book. It's like standing before the Grand Canyon and trying to take a selfie with it. It's impossible. No photo will do it justice just as my review will never be good enough.

With an eye-widening first chapter, Roahhorse pulls you into indigenous myths inspired by pre-Columbian Americas. The setting is visually stunning in its world-building, and the magic systems and political intrigue accompany you into a world of Sun Priests, giant crows, and mermaids.

This is a multiple POV book. We have a blind young man, a magical captain, a Sun Priest, and a beast rider. All on their own paths that converge with a thunderous roar at the book's conclusion. I loved the different POV's personally, but I know some people have a hard time with them especially with high fantasy such as this one. I connected with each character on a personal level. The author excels in placing humanity in her characters so well that you learn to empathize and cheer for them. The pacing of this book is fast, packed full of action and heart. Everything was superb.

This is definitely one you want to listen to because the audio narrators totally make you BELEIVE the story in a way just reading it doesn't. I thought that it was so well emulated, so well articulated, and the emotions and story got that much deeper in my soul because of that.

There is a HUGE cliffhanger at the end of this one, so be prepared for that! At least the sequel will be releasing fairly soon so you can pre-order it (like I did) so that you can read it right away!

The author set out to write epic fantasy and she hit the mark a million times over. I would compare BLACK SUN to books such as THE FIFTH SEASON, THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER, and KUSHIEL'S DART to name a few. With a YA comparison to THE SEVENTH SUN and SOULSWIFT.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

epic, beautifully read

epic, beautifully written and read. 5 stars for all. Please ms roanhorse keep writing and producing these awesome stories.

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A Dark, Mysterious Fantasy Thriller

Black Sun opens strong. A mother maims her child for religious reasons and then sacrifices herself. We're left wondering whether she was criminally insane, a religious zealot, or the mother of a true prophet. Perhaps all three. And so we begin.

There are a few main characters here, including the standard Han Solo sort of character, a girl named Xiala, captain of a ship, living for pleasure and quips. Normally, these characters bug me, but for some reason, this one didn't. I liked her, and I loved how her secrets were slowly revealed.

Xiala is tasked with transporting a blind priest to a faraway land, but she suspects that there is something sinister about him. Ominous.

The other main characters are Naranpa, a priest, and Okoa, a guard. Both are immensely likeable, but they are in opposing factions, and these factions are headed towards war. This adds even more tension to the mix.

The prose is engaging and vivid, the worldbuilding is fantastic and fresh, there are mysteries buried everywhere, and a looming tension weighs on everything. And the plot moves fast, too. This is a true thriller.

One of my favourite things about this story is the horror of a moral system unlike our own. Characters who seem nice in every way can commit vile deeds from a place of selflessness. And because this moral system is foreign and unpredictable, it gives us the sense that almost anything can happen.

My only complaint is that the book ends on a cliffhanger. It seemed like a different, more satisfying ending was coming. But we're robbed of that. Perhaps in the sequel. Ah well.

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Disappointing

This book is good, but compared to Trail of Lightning and especially Storm of Locusts, I found myself disappointed.

Maybe it was the points of view. There are four in the book, one introduced so late that I never connected with him as a character but only saw him as showing parts of the story the others couldn't. The crow god was the most fleshed, past and present melding seamlessly to form a complex picture of who he is and the sort of people who would try to manipulate him. I hope those machinations show in the sequel, because they fell flat here.

The sun priest was the least fleshed. Here was what purported to be machinations and political intrigue but was really just finger pointing that conveniently thwarted a plan with no real intention to do so. I was intensely disappointed in this "political maneuvering".

I was also disappointed by the disability rep. It wasn't good rep at all, but rather a regurgitation of stereotypes of the blind "overcoming" their disability. He was still blind in the end, but the work arounds so he could see and move through the world without difficulty annoyed me. Even the (mermaid) captain, whose body parts are prized for magic, had only one joint of her littlest finger removed. It wouldn't do to have the love interest be disfigured in any real way. (Shocked gasp!) Come to think of it, maybe I'm more angry than disappointed.

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  • Lisa Davidson
  • 2020-10-26

5-star Concept; Too Many Threads Left Hanging

Roanhorse's Trail of Lightning and Storm of Locusts are two of my favorite novels. Black Sun displays the same imaginative facility with fascinating characters, intriguing world-building, and compelling plot--but unfortunately it ends as a definite precursor to Book Two, without any satisfying sense of closure. I think it should have been part of a longer work. Honestly I am exasperated by the marketing of "series" dictating the abrupt ending of so many otherwise interesting novels. I almost feel like returning Black Sun for the way I feel cheated out of the full story arc. Whether part of a series or not, books need to stand alone on their own intrinsic merits.

48 people found this helpful

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  • Joshie
  • 2020-12-04

Great story but lacks any kind of an ending

I really enjoyed this story, and the narration was well done. I regretfully feel the need to dock a star on the story. There is no satisfying ending to this story. Every single storyline we’ve been following through the entire book is left unresolved. I’m okay with a book in a series leaving a cliff hanger, leaving a few things unresolved, but leaving the entire book with no kind of conclusion felt very misleading and dissatisfying. I’m wary of the next book, but I’ll probably listen to it. If that has the same lack of ending, I won’t go further in the series. I don’t enjoy being abandoned in the middle of a story.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Anthony Henry
  • 2021-01-02

Built Us Up Just to Let Us Down

This story had the makings of an epic quest. Roanhorse creates amazing characters with tons of depth and back stories that catch fire to the readers interest, slowly illuminating the plot within the plot. Each character moves through their own personal story arch but soon you start to sense their connection and you are certain that a "convergence" is approaching, the build up is so good that I was absolutely heartbroken when one by one each characters story just stops. Now I'm all for unhappy endings and or cliffhangers that signal the coming of a sequel but this story clearly just ends with no ENDING. The reader is left with so many untied knots that you wonder what was the purpose of all that string in the first place? So while this might have had the makings of an epic quest in the end we are only left with questions...even death is uncertain.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Valkyrie
  • 2020-10-24

Sweepingly Epic

Beautiful world building. A fully fleshed out cast of characters. And a full sweeping adventure with an end that leaves each of our main POV characters’ fates up in the air (literally in one case!) So, if you hate cliffhangers, buy this book and save it to read until the next one drops! But honestly, while Roanhorse’s prose are accessible and make for an easy read, she manages to pack so much into this story that, having time to read it now and then reread it at least once before the next one is available, will be more of an advantage than a burden. At least for me!

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 2021-08-15

Religious ideological political power struggles

Rebecca Roanhorse's Black Sun is an epic fantasy tale based on pre-Columbian themes. An extremely rare astronomical event is the backdrop for a return to ascendency of the Carrion Crow clan resulting from a putsch many years earlier. Their usurpers, the Watchers are astronomers and have been calling the shots ever since. A young man, mutilated by his mother as a child, journeys to Tova, the main city to exert his godhood status and restore the Crow position in the community. Along the way there are multiple agendas, back-stabbings, and double crosses to provide lots of action.

Roanhorse relates the tale from four distinct perspectives. Each character has an extensive backstory revealed through multiple flashbacks. The political structure is complex adding a sense of realism to what is otherwise a fantasy story and meshes nicely with long standing prophecies and religious rituals. While the tale ends with a modicum of closure, events do not play out as intended, setting up sufficient fodder for an anticipated sequel.

The choice of four different narrators for the four perspectives was wise and adds considerably to the listening experience. Each narration is well done.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • James Closs
  • 2021-10-12

Familiar Characters in a Fresh Setting

A strange kid/man with a destiny.
A bawdy, brash, bi-sexual sailor woman.
The low-born girl who was helped into high society by an eccentric elder patron.
The man trying to keep out of the religious zealots of his people who want him to join.

These are not new archetypes, but they are archetypes that I generally like. The novelty, for a fan of the fantasy genre, is that the fantasy tropes you might be used to of Ale and tall-masted ships and Dragons and demons, have been replaced by lore and legends and myths of The Americas before being colonized. The sour cactus alcohol, the penchant for chocolate with hot peppers, the crossing of a sea in a large canoe, and the story cruxing around a sun god and a crow god and other elements people familiar with the folklore the author is pulling from: in another work written from a Euro-centric fantasy, these would be elements heavily exoticized with the main characters commenting "My, such strange food! I like it, but I think I'd prefer an Ale from home and bite of cheese!" So I really liked the venture into a different flavor of fantasy.

Unfortunately, the plot, aside from some stuff near the climax, I found kinda predictable. Also there were some romantic elements that were kinda like "Okay, this is here for the shippers, but golly we're spending a lot of time on it!" I never had a problem with the plot, but if it had been a Euro-centric tale, it would not have been not different enough from anything else to get above 3-stars. Much like my English Professor, you get a C for doing the minimum requirement. I give this a B for novelty in setting and a few surprises at the end, but there were a few too many awkward romance bits and predictable high society drama. If there's a sequel which can really build on this, then I might revisit my opinion, but if the next one is more of the same counting on its novel folklore to maintain interest, then I'm only giving the Novelty star out on the first round.

Performance: having different voices for each character's perspective was nice, and everyone did a good job. Nothing really stood out as above and beyond though.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • rsingh
  • 2021-07-21

Falls short on every account

This story had a ton of potential however poor writing, forced plot points and overly crisscrossed timeline makes this a painful read.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Samantha Dunaway Bryant
  • 2021-02-04

Fascinating world, complicated characters

So, when does book 2 come out? Cuz I'm going to need that soon. What an amazing ride! Fascinating world, amazing characters. I'm not generally one for court intrigue sorts of stories . . .but the plotting and machinations came with huge emotional stakes and I was riveted.

I was already a Roanhorse fan from her Sixth World series, but this is a whole different level of awesome. So, hurry up, Ms. Roanhorse and get that next book out here. I'll be here waiting :-)

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-11-23

love love loved it!

So many amazing characters with lush backgrounds and cool magic systems. I'm ready for book 2!!!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-11-19

So worth the read

I wasn’t sure when I first started listening, but the more I got into it the more I enjoyed it to the point where I couldn’t put it down. I haven’t been this in love with a book in a long while. The voice acting is all beautiful done and the story is so different and unexpected. It is told from different perspectives and it gets to the point where you love hearing from everyone and it’s hard to tell who to root for. I’d suggest this to anyone. Put it on your reading list.

1 person found this helpful