Today he would become a god. His mother had told him so.
The opening line may seem like something any mother would tell her son, but in the case of Serapio, his mother truly believes he will become the Crow God reborn. She blinds him, carves marks of the Carrion Crow tribe into his skin, all so he can fulfil the prophecy on the day of the convergence.
Black Sun was the epic fantasy I was waiting for. I loved all the characters, the world-building was fantastic and I didn’t want to put it down once. The story can be dark at times but overall it felt hopeful, and the majority of the characters showed compassion and a desire to do good, even when things aren’t going quite as planned.
It opens with the mutilation of Serapio by his mother ten years prior. Once you have been shocked by that, the rest of the cast is introduced. A captain with iridescent eyes, feared to be part fish by superstitious sailors. Xiala is Teek, she can sing the sea into submission, but the secretive nature of her ancestors means many think she is something to be feared, or carved up for magic.
Then there are the Watchers, living in the hills remote from Crescent City. Naranpa is the Sun Priest, a position more likely held by a Sky Clan member. But she is young and from a poor background, and not everyone agrees with her position. She wants change, and change can be dangerous.
The Carrion Crow tribe have fallen from grace, and a growing number of them are awaiting the return of their god. The Watchers dismiss this, whilst the reader knows their god is coming, or at least someone who believes they will become one.
The world is inspired by Pre-Columbian Americas, that’s before Europeans went and meddled on the continent. It is so refreshing to read epic fantasy away from feudal systems, and other trappings of European history. Mayan civilization is the inspiration for Crescent City and the Watchers, with their Sun Priest being dominant in their culture, even if faith is wearing thin. The Tovans are based on the Tewa people, indigenous to North America. The Teek’s relationship with the sea is inspired by ancient Polynesian sailing methods.
Serapio, for the first time, was coming home. To a people who didn’t know him, to a house he could never truly live in, even if all he could do was die for them. He would suffer what he must suffer becuase for one brief moment he would be more than himself. He would be all of Carrion Crow, the fist of his people, the sharp beak and talon of his god, and he would not be alone.
After reading this article on Rebecca, I felt her themes of returning home and not-belonging were ever so much more poignant.
The ending is somewhat of a cliffhanger. The main points of this story are resolved, I think it’s more of an “OMG what happens next?” type moment than lack of an ending. And OMG I do want to know what happens next! Bring on book two!
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