Mini-Reviews: Race to the Sun + Black Sun

Hello, friends! I have another set of backlog reviews for you. I really need to sit down and edit all these reviews I have sitting in my drafts. The only good thing about this is I haven’t been writing a ton of new reviews lately, so it’s nice to know I won’t run out of reviews to post anytime soon. Today, I am bringing you reviews for two books both by Rebecca Roanhorse. I picked up her middle grade, Race to the Sun, when I couldn’t get a hold of the audiobook for Black Sun, but I finally managed to pick up the latter as well. Both of these were stellar reads and I just love when writers can write for multiple audiences so well.

Title: Race to the Sun Author: Rebecca Roanhorse Series: N/A Pages: 306 Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents Release Date: January 14th 2020

TW: racism, bullying, homophobia

"Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect monsters, like that man in the fancy suit who was in the bleachers at her basketball game. Turns out he's Mr. Charles, her dad's new boss at the oil and gas company, and he's alarmingly interested in Nizhoni and her brother, Mac, their Navajo heritage, and the legend of the Hero Twins. Nizhoni knows he's a threat, but her father won't believe her. When Dad disappears the next day, leaving behind a message that says "Run!", the siblings and Nizhoni's best friend, Davery, are thrust into a rescue mission that can only be accomplished with the help of Diné Holy People, all disguised as quirky characters. Their aid will come at a price: the kids must pass a series of trials in which it seems like nature itself is out to kill them. If Nizhoni, Mac, and Davery can reach the House of the Sun, they will be outfitted with what they need to defeat the ancient monsters Mr. Charles has unleashed. But it will take more than weapons for Nizhoni to become the hero she was destined to be . . ."

Rebecca Roanhorse’s Race to the Sun is a daring thrill ride whose heart lies in a family-centered story. Nizhony Begay is your normal seventh grader with one exception. She isn’t the best at sports or school, but longs for some sort of recognition. She can also see monsters, but it’s not a secret she likes to share. When her father is taken by a wily monster, Nizhony, along with her brother Mac and best friend, Davery, must go on an epic quest to not only save him but also the world. Nizhony has a great youthful and humorous voice. She longs to be special, but is unsure if she has what it takes to be an actual hero and monster slayer. With help from various beings, Nizhony and company are faced with almost impossible odds. But Nizhony is far braver and selfless than she gives herself credit for. One storyline that particularly had me enthralled was Nizhony having to deal with her mother’s abandonment. It’s heartbreaking, but also full of hope. Nizhony must deal with her anger and sadness while also trying to understand that sometimes people are faced with impossible decisions, but this doesn’t negate their love for you. Race to the Sun, with its page-turning action and Navajo-inspired storyline, is sure to delight readers of all ages.

★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5)


Title: Black Sun Author: Rebecca Roanhorse Series: Between Earth and Sky, #1 Pages: 454 Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers Release Date: October 13th 2020

TW: forced prostitution, suicide, homophobia, racism

"The 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 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."

Rebecca Roanhorse builds a world like no other with her latest high fantasy series. Inspired by pre-Columbian times, Black Sun, her first book in the Between Earth and Sky series, follows the ascent and descent of several characters as they approach the day known as Convergence. In Tova, the Watchers, priests of different orders, are revered and paid homage. But there is plenty of distrust of their governance. The Carrion Crow clan in particular has clashed with the Watchers on numerous occasions. Carrion once held fast to the old religion but its followers were deemed blasphemous and hunted down and slaughtered on the Night of Knives. But there remains a small, devout group, still loyal to the Crow God, who hopes to see their God return and exact revenge. Serapio has known his fate since he was a boy, the first moment his mother gave him his first hatah, a tattoo symbolizing who his body belongs to. Now he must fulfill his destiny and return to Tova to confront the priests who slaughtered his people. Roanhorse’s fantasy novels are so enriching, always painting a vivid and lush story. The characters always feel like products of their worlds, each with their own desires and motivations. I love that we are introduced to several different characters and loved seeing how they interact and how each of their paths are destined to collide. Religion plays a vital role in this world, but it is often mixed with politics. Truth is often snuffed by those in power in an effort to hold on to said power. There is also really interesting mythological elements as one character is introduces as Teek, beings with strong ties to the sea. They are powerful, but are often discriminated against because of the mythos that surround them. With Black Sun Rebecca Roanhorse has risen as a powerhouse fantasy writer and if you are not reading her work, you are missing out on some of the most intricate and groundbreaking fantasy publishing has to offer.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5)

The Friday 56: Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse

The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“The blood looks like an impact stain of some kind. Something or someone was hit hard enough to spatter. Gunshot is my first thought even though the concrete bricks are intact. I examine the wall opposite me, but they’re clean too. Which means that if the blood was back spatter from a gunshot, there’d be front spatter too. And there’s nothing.”

Rebecca Roanhorse is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Storm of Locusts, sequel to Trail of Lightning, once again packs a punch. If you haven’t picked up this series yet, I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to return to this world again. Read my review here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “It’s been four weeks since the bloody showdown at Black Mesa, and Maggie Hoskie, Diné monster hunter, is trying to make the best of things. Only her latest bounty hunt has gone sideways, she’s lost her only friend, Kai Arviso, and she’s somehow found herself responsible for a girl with a strange clan power.
      Then the Goodacre twins show up at Maggie’s door with the news that Kai and the youngest Goodacre, Caleb, have fallen in with a mysterious cult, led by a figure out of Navajo legend called the White Locust. The Goodacres are convinced that Kai’s a true believer, but Maggie suspects there’s more to Kai’s new faith than meets the eye. She vows to track down the White Locust, then rescue Kai and make things right between them.
      Her search leads her beyond the Walls of Dinétah and straight into the horrors of the Big Water world outside. With the aid of a motley collection of allies, Maggie must battle body harvesters, newborn casino gods and, ultimately, the White Locust himself. But the cult leader is nothing like she suspected, and Kai might not need rescuing after all. When the full scope of the White Locust’s plans are revealed, Maggie’s burgeoning trust in her friends, and herself, will be pushed to the breaking point, and not everyone will survive.”