Book Review: Mrs England – Stacey Halls

Book Review: Mrs England – Stacey Halls


Release Date:
June 10th 2021
Publisher: Zaffre Books
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

West Yorkshire, 1904.

When newly graduated nurse Ruby May takes a position looking after the children of Charles and Lilian England, a wealthy couple from a powerful dynasty of mill owners, she hopes it will be the fresh start she needs. But as she adapts to life at the isolated Hardcastle House, it becomes clear there’s something not quite right about the beautiful, mysterious Mrs England. Ostracised by the servants and feeling increasingly uneasy, Ruby is forced to confront her own demons in order to prevent history from repeating itself. After all, there’s no such thing as the perfect family – and she should know.

Simmering with slow-burning menace, Mrs England is a portrait of an Edwardian marriage, weaving an enthralling story of men and women, power and control, courage, truth and the very darkest deception. Set against the atmospheric landscape of West Yorkshire, Stacey Halls’ third novel proves her one of the most exciting and compelling new storytellers of our times.

Review

Mrs England is the third book from historical fiction writer Stacey Halls. I read and love both The Familiars and The Foundling, so this was an incredibly anticipated release for me. The story follows Nurse Ruby May a graduate of the Norland Institute. When she is forced to leave her position she knows she needs to find another as soon as possible. When the opportunity comes up to be a nurse to the four England children, Ruby takes the position immediately. When she arrives in Yorkshire she soon finds things aren’t right with the family. Mrs England is detached and mysterious, and the servants won’t talk to her. As Ruby spends more time with the family, she uncovers more than she could possibly imagine.

Stacey Halls is one of those authors where you start reading the book and then become immediately torn between reading it slowly to savour the beautiful writing, or racing through it in a single night because of the compelling story. For me I ended up reading this until the wee hours of the morning, I just had to know what was happening with the England family. The story is really addictive and it has such a fascinating premise. It really focuses on the idea of marriage and power in a relationship. Yorkshire really comes to life in the beautiful and vivid writing and I felt completely transported back to that time period.

Like her previous novels, you can tell an immense amount of research has gone into this story. I loved the slow-building feeling of menace in the story, it’s so atmospheric and there were some moments that definitely gave me a feeling of dread. One of the most compelling things for me was the complex characters – so many of them are way more than they seem on the surface. Mr and Mrs England were brilliant characters and Halls has a brilliant way of making you question who they truly are. Ruby is a really interesting protagonist and I loved learning about her family and her past alongside her time with the Englands.

Stacey Halls is rapidly becoming my favourite historical fiction writer. This is another brilliantly plotted and well-executed tale, one that I will be recommending to everyone I know. If you love historical fiction this one is a must-read.

Blog Tour: Monstrous Design – Kat Dunn

Blog Tour: Monstrous Design – Kat Dunn


Series:
Battalion of the Dead #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: June 10th 2021
Publisher: Zephyr Books
Pages: 432
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

1794, London: Camille and Al are desperately hunting Olympe’s kidnapper. From the glamorous excesses of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to the city’s seedy underbelly, they are caught in a dangerous game of lies and deceit. And a terrible new enemy lies in wait with designs more monstrous than they could ever imagine… Can Camille play on to the end or will she be forced to show her hand?

In Paris, the Duc is playing his own dangerous games. With Ada in his thrall, old loyalties are thrown into question. The Battalion are torn apart as never before, and everything – Ada’s love for Camille, her allegiance to the battalion itself – is under threat.

Review

Monstrous Design is the second instalment in Kat Dunn’s thrilling Battalion of the Dead series. The story picks up right after the events of Dangerous Remedy. We follow Camille and Al as they attempt to get Olympe back and we follow Ada and Guil as they attempt to find where the Duc is hiding out. As the stakes get higher alliances are soon called into question – but will the battalion of the dead be able to survive their latest adventure?

Dangerous Remedy was one of my favourite books of 2020. It was one of those books I still thought about months after reading it, and Monstrous Design was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021. Monstrous Design is action-packed – it’s a rollercoaster ride that does not stop till the very last page. It’s a pretty fast-paced story and despite being nearly 500 pages I read it in a single day. Dunn really hooks the reader in with this addictive plot that’s full of twists – with everyone playing their own game I never quite knew what was going to happen next.

In Monstrous Design we are transported to England as well as France and Dunn really makes the sights and sounds of both cities come alive in the story. My favourite thing about Dangerous Remedy was the brilliant characters and that was definitely the same in Monstrous Design. I loved being back with the Batallion again and it was fascinating seeing how the characters grow in this second instalment. I think Al is still my favourite, but I honestly love them all. I also really liked getting to know James more and learning more about his motivations as a character. He was a really fascinating POV character – he is really complex and torn between loyalties. Like wise I loved Camille and Ada, they are such compelling characters and I think I could read a dozen books about the crew and their daring heists.

Monstrous Design is a brilliant sequel and I am incredibly excited to see where Kat Dunn will take us in book three. If you’ve been curious about this series I definitely recommend picking it up and if you’ve already read Dangerous Remedy, you need to pick up book two now!

Book Review: The Wolf and the Woodsman – Ava Reid

Book Review: The Wolf and the Woodsman – Ava Reid


Release Date:
June 8th 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.

Review

The Wolf and the Woodsman is the dark and captivating tale of Évike, the only woman in her pagan worshipping village without magic. When the king demands a pagan girl as a blood sacrifice, the village offers Évike up. En route to the capital with the deadly Woodsman, they are attacked, leaving only Évike and the captain left alive. She soon learns he is more than he seems and the two must reluctantly team up to stop an attempt to seize the throne that will have catastrophic repercussions for both the pagans and the Yehuli people.

I’ve been trying to find a book that will fill the hole left by Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy and this is absolutely it. With beautiful writing and a wonderful fairytale-style story, The Wolf and the Woodsman completely sucked me in and stole my heart. This book has immediately catapulted to one of my favourite books of all time. I loved everything about this book. Reid has a really lyrical writing style, the world she has created practically leaps off the page and I was completely fascinated by the magic in this story. There is lots of body horror and quite a bit of gore in the story, but it’s an incredibly well-executed story, and one I did not want to end.

One of the things I loved most about this story is the incredible characters Reid has created. Évike is a really compelling protagonist, attempting to understand where she fits in the world being half pagan and half Yehuli. Gáspár is similarly a really fascinating character and I loved watching the relationship between the two develop as the story unfolds. The story is steeped in Jewish folklore and mythology, which I found completely fascinating. The story also very much focuses on the horrors of religious persecution and ethnic cleansing, inspired by events in Hungarian history.

The Wolf and the Woodsman is the sort of book that I was completely torn between racing through to see how it ended and taking my time to savour every moment. This is an incredible debut, and I cannot wait to read more from Ava Reid. It’s definitely the kind of book that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. This book has already been getting quite a bit of hype and it is absolutely well deserved. If you’re a fan of books by Katherine Arden and Naomi Novik, this is a must-read.

 

Blog Tour: The Blacktongue Thief – Christopher Buehlman

Blog Tour: The Blacktongue Thief – Christopher Buehlman


Series:
Blacktongue #1
Release Date: May 27th 2021
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review

Synopsis

Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, which includes (but is not limited to) lock-picking, knife-fighting, wall-scaling, fall-breaking, lie-weaving, trap-making, plus a few small magics. His debt has driven him to lie in wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler that crosses his path.

But today, Kinch Na Shannack has picked the wrong mark.

Galva is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. She is searching for her queen, missing since a distant northern city fell to giants.

Unsuccessful in his robbery and lucky to escape with his life, Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva’s. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford.

Review

The Blacktongue Thief is the first in an all-new fantasy series from acclaimed horror author Christopher Buehlman. I have long been intrigued by Buehlman’s horror books, but when I heard about this epic fantasy tale I knew this was going to be a must-read. The story follows Kinch Na Shannack, a man trained by the Taker’s Guild to lock-pick, steal and a whole host of other useful skills. Kinch owes the Taker’s Guild a great deal of money for his education and has no choice but to steal from those travelling through the old forest road. When Kinch chooses the wrong mark, he ends up tangled up with Galva, a knight and warrior from the goblin wars, who is on an epic quest to find her missing Queen in a far off city that has been ravaged by giants – what could possibly go wrong?

The Blacktongue Thief is one of those books that sit down to read a few chapters of, it sucks you in and before you know it it’s 3am and you’ve finished the book. This is a fast-paced story, full to the brim with magic, action and adventure. Buehlman has created an absolutely fascinating world with a detailed history and intricate world-building. I loved learning about the goblin wars and I was completely fascinated by the magic in this story. Kinch’s magic centres on luck and this felt like a really unique idea.

The Blacktongue Thief has some of my new all-time favourite characters and if you love stories that are equal parts dark and hilarious, this is definitely a book for you. There are tons of funny moments, particularly as Kinch and his crew get further in their quest to find the Queen. I definitely found myself laughing out loud at some of the situations they end up in. There are plenty of complex characters and while Kinch was my favourite I really liked Galva and Norrigal too. I definitely found myself rooting for these characters and I can’t wait to see where Buhelman takes them in the next instalment.

This story is full of detailed action scenes and features so many things fantasy fans will love. If you want a shadowy, scheming guild, flesh-eating goblins, krakens, giants, witches and a whole lot more, you’re going to love what The Blacktongue Thief has in store. This will absolutely be one of my favourite books of 2021, and I can’t wait to read more from Christopher Buhelman.

Blog Tour: The Whole Truth – Cara Hunter

Blog Tour: The Whole Truth – Cara Hunter

Series: DI Adam Fawley #5 (See my review of book four here!)
Release Date: April 29th 2021
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.75/5 stars

Synopsis

When an Oxford student accuses one of the university’s professors of sexual assault, DI Adam Fawley’s team think they’ve heard it all before. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

Because this time, the predator is a woman and the shining star of the department, and the student a six-foot male rugby player.

Soon DI Fawley and his team are up against the clock to figure out the truth. What they don’t realise is that someone is watching.

And they have a plan to put Fawley out of action for good…

Review

Cara Hunter is back with an all-new thriller in the DI Fawley series. This time Fawley and the team are dealing with a sexual assault case at Oxford University, but the victim is a six-foot rugby player and the accused is a professor at the top of her field. As the team work to uncover the truth they soon learn there’s more to this case than meets the eye. As the team race against the clock, the body of a missing woman is discovered and as the investigation begins it seems the only real suspect is Fawley himself.

Cara Hunter is one of my favourite thriller writers and I was so excited to read the latest instalment in this series. All the Rage completely captured my attention, and The Whole Truth was exactly the same. When I picked up The Whole Truth I didn’t move from that spot for several hours and I ended up a very tired person at work because I’d spent the whole night reading. This series is one of the most gripping I have ever read and I could not put the book down.

Just like the previous instalments, The Whole Truth is entertaining, full to the brim with twists and turns with an extremely quick pace. I love the way Hunter weaves in different kind of media with interview transcripts, podcasts and tweets. I think this is such a fascinating addition and really brings the story to life. I also love getting to know the different officers in Fawley’s team as the investigation is mixed in with their personal lives. All of the characters in the team have different personalities and it’s fascinating watching them come together to solve the mystery. The story is incredibly well executed and I hope the wait for book six isn’t too long because I am in desperate need of more!

If you love fast-paced police procedurals, this series is an absolute must-read. All the books in the series can be read as a standalone, but I definitely suggest buying more than one at a time, as soon as you finish one you’ll definitely want to pick up another.

Blog Tour: Malice – Heather Walter

Blog Tour: Malice – Heather Walter


Release Date:
April 13th 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 496
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who cursed a line of princesses to die, and could only be broken by true love’s kiss. You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one actually cares about what happens to our princesses. I thought I didn’t care, either. Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to the throne. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating – and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again. Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I-

I am the villain.

Review

I am an absolute sucker for a fairytale retelling, so when I heard about Malice – a sleeping beauty retelling where Princess Aurora falls in love with the villain – I was immediately desperate to get my mitts on it. This story was everything I wanted and more – it was an incredibly dark and compelling read.

The story follows Alyce – the one and only Dark Grace. Feared and shunned for her powers, Alyce has very few friends and knows almost nothing about her Vila heritage. Meanwhile the kingdoms last remaining heir – Princess Aurora – has turned twenty, meaning she only has one more year to find her true love before she dies. Can Alyce find a way to lift the curse – even though she’s the villain and we all know how that story ends?

As soon as I picked up Malice I was completely hooked and I was swept along in this gorgeous story. I loved the world Walter created for this. It was beautifully imagined and there was plenty of well-explained world-building to allow the reader to get to know the world more. The story is pretty fast-paced but I found that just kept me turning the pages quicker and quicker because I didn’t want to miss anything.

Our main character Alyce is a really fascinating one. She’s the ‘wicked villain’ but she’s so much more than that. I really enjoyed seeing her learn more about her powers and there’s tons of character growth. I found myself quickly becoming sympathetic towards Alyce and I was rooting for her from the get-go. I love morally grey characters and it was such a fascinating exploration of the evil sorceress character.

Malice might be inspired by Sleeping Beauty but I felt like this was such a unique story that brought a fresh perspective to a familiar story. I loved the slow burn romance in this story too, it was well executed and I loved seeing Alyce and Aurora’s relationship develop. Malice was an incredible read and one I know fantasy fans are going to absolutely fall in love with. This has been one of my favourite books of 2021 so far and I cannot wait to see what Walter writes next.

Blog Tour: The Unbroken – C L Clark

Blog Tour: The Unbroken – C L Clark


Series:
Magic of the Lost #1
Release Date: March 23rd 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.

Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

Review

The Unbroken is the first book in an all new fantasy series. This is a dark and brutal story that follows Touraine, who was stolen from her home as a child and raised to be a soldier for the empire. Now she is returning to her homeland to help put a stop to the rebellion. As Touraine fights alongside her battalion she begins to question where her loyalties really lie – to the empire who trained her or the homeland she barely remembers? Luca is a princess doing everything she can to quash the rebellion, but she needs help to stop it while she attempts to remove her uncle from the throne. Touraine and Luca form an alliance, but will it be enough?

I loved every second I spent reading this book. This is such a compelling read and despite being nearly five hundred pages I raced through it – it’s one of those books you just can’t look away from. Clark has a really lovely writing style and it was so easy to get lost in this gripping tale. It’s a pretty fast paced book, with lots of action. It’s brimming with political intrigue and really focuses in on the themes of colonialism and racism. It’s an absolutely stunning book, that is at times painful to read.

The world building is excellent in this story, Clark has crafted a fascinating world and I cannot wait to see where the story will go in book two. This is a queernorm world and there are some incredibly compelling characters – Touraine is such a conflicted character and goes through so much in this story. I thought Luca was also a really fascinating character and it was so interesting to see two characters from such different worlds come together. Both characters go through quite a bit of growth in this story as they form an alliance and if anything that has just left me wanting more and more.

The Unbroken is a complex story that Clark has executed incredibly well. It’s full of tense moments that had me on the edge of my seat. It’s an incredible tale with a slow burn romance, tons of political intrigue and just a hint of magic. The Unbroken is undoubtedly one of my favourite books of 2021 and if you’re thinking about picking this one up, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Blog Tour: Winter’s Orbit – Everina Maxwell

Blog Tour: Winter’s Orbit – Everina Maxwell


Release Date:
February 4th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Everina Maxwell’s exciting debut.

While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

Review

Winter’s Orbit is an absolutely incredible debut that I did not want to end. The story follows Prince Kiem of the Iskat empire and Count Jainan of the planet Thea as they are rushed into an arrange marriage following the sudden death of Jainan’s partner Prince Taam. The marriage must appear perfect in every way to smooth over the tensions between the two worlds. When it’s discovered that Taam’s death may not have been an accident, Kiem and Jainan must work together to find the truth and stop a war from brewing.

If I could give this book six stars I would. After hearing so many rave reviews I went in with pretty high expectations but it was everything I wanted and more. This is a brilliantly told story, with a well paced plot and detailed world building. I just loved the concept of this book – the reckless prince who always gets into trouble and the serious science scholar who have to stop a war and understand their feelings for each other? I loved the mix of political intrigue, murder mystery and romance. It was such a creative story and I loved it from beginning to end.

Everina Maxwell has created some really brilliant characters and I really liked seeing both Kiem and Jainan as their awkward relationship built into something more. The story is told from both perspectives which I really enjoyed too. The romance is a slow burn and I liked the way that Maxwell developed the relationship slowly, giving the reader a chance to really get to know both characters. The story does focus quite a bit on domestic abuse, so there are trigger warnings for that too.

Whilst this is a space opera it also felt like a cosy, comforting read and I flew through it because Maxwell has such a lovely writing style. I think this would be a great crossover for someone looking to read more science fiction. It’s a cute and fun read, whilst still full of political intrigue and mystery. Overall I thought this was a truly fantastic debut and I cannot wait to see what Everina Maxwell writes next.

Blog Tour: The Shape of Darkness – Laura Purcell

Blog Tour: The Shape of Darkness – Laura Purcell


Release Date:
January 21st 2021
Publisher: Raven Books
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

As the age of the photograph dawns in Victorian Bath, silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another… Why is the killer seemingly targeting her business?

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them.

But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…

Review

Laura Purcell is one of my favourite authors so when I heard she was releasing a new book I was incredibly excited to read it. All of the books I have read by her have been five star reads so I had pretty high expectations going in. The story follows Agnes, a silhouette artist who lives in Bath with her elderly mother and nephew Cedric. Her business is struggling to stay afloat and when her customers start being murdered she wonders who exactly is targeting her. In a search for answers Agnes meets Pearl, a child who is able to contact the spirit world. Agnes asks Pearl to help uncover who the killer is, but in doing so reveals so much more.

Like Purcell’s previous novels, The Shape of Darkness is dark, full to the brim with a tense, unsettling atmosphere. I was completely hooked in by this book and I read it over the course of a couple of days. It’s beautifully written and I loved the way Purcell weaved this story of seances and murder. The story is pretty fast paced, it felt faster than either The Corset or The Silent Companions and I absolutely did not want it to end.

The story is a fascinating one and I really liked learning about the work Agnes did as a silhouette artist. Agnes is a really interesting protagonist and it was fascinating to see her attempt to juggle her business, providing for her family and uncovering the killer. I also really liked Pearl and enjoying seeing the story unfold from both points of view.

The Shape of Darkness is perfect winter reading. It’s a tense, addictive read and one you will not be able to look away from. If you’ve read any of Purcell’s other books or you’re a fan of Victorian Gothic fiction, this is absolutely a must read.

Book Review: Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse

Book Review: Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse


Series:
Between Earth and Sky #1
Release Date: January 21st 2021
Publisher: Rebellion Publishing
Pages: 454
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

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 event 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 an epic adventure exploring 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 the most original series debut of the decade.

Review

Black Sun is the first book in a new series from Rebecca Roanhorse, author of Trail of Lightning. The story is a multi-perspective tale following different characters on the lead up to a rare solar eclipse in the holy city of Tova. We follow Xiala, captain of a ship that is carrying a strange man to the city. The passenger – Serapio – is a blind and scarred young man with much more to him than meets the eye. Then there is the Sun Priest, preparing for this celestial event and attempting to navigate the politics of the order. As the solar eclipse begins, the three characters must battle for survival.

This is my first time reading a book by Rebecca Roanhorse but I absolutely loved it. This well executed fantasy tale gripped me from the very beginning and I found myself picking this book up at every opportunity, even getting up early in the morning just to squeeze in a few extra chapters. I loved the complex and diverse characters that Roanhorse created in this world. Xiala was my favourite, she’s much more than a down on her luck sea captain and I loved seeing the relationship grow between her and Serapio. I similarly found Serapio fascinating, he’s an ambiguous character and you’re never quite sure if he’s a villain or not. Roanhorse created incredible characters in this wold and I’m so excited to see where they end up in the next instalment.

The world building is well plotted and we are treated to lots of information and history without feeling info-dumpy. I really loved the world and the magic in this one and I can’t wait to learn more as the story progresses. The story was quick paced with plenty of action to keep the reader hooked in. If you’re a fan of dark and fast paced fantasy this is definitely one to pick up. Black Sun will absolutely be in my favourite books of 2021 and I’m already dying to get my hands on book two.