The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
„HEAD ABBOT SUNG of the Grand Monastery did not know it yet, but this night would change the course of all his days.“
Promising start to a fantasy novella with a strong chinese flavour. The author identifies as non-binary and the main characters as well, at least until they reach their teenage years…
“Sonami had just turned fifteen, yet still wore the genderfree tunic of a child, their hair cropped to a small square at the top of their head and gathered into a bun. They bowed, hands folded in deference.“
It is strange at first, then becomes normal and when eventually gendered pronouns crop up, they seem just as strange. Well done!
We are told the story of twins Moko and Akeha, with the latter part told through the eyes of Akeha.
I wasn‘t sure I would like this, because my track record with fantasy has been poor lately. But once the story picked up speed, I found it hard to put down. The writing and plot were also a lot more accessible as I had expected, based on the blurb and some quick glimpses at it over on Tor.com.
So, very pleasant surprise, I enjoyed this a lot and I will very likely pick up the next novella. I haven‘t looked it up yet, but I hope that it will perhaps tell the story again from the POV of Moko (ok, I peeked, it doesn‘t… but it sounds even better…).
A little something from the author‘s blog/website—My suggestion would be to read this after reading Black Tides, to not spoil yourself unduly: http://jyyang.com/the-tensorate-series/
And, oh yes, something that confused me quite a bit at first but that I eventually just went with: “Welcome to Ea. A planet where extreme weather carves through continents and seas. Where the sun rises and sets six times a day. Where immense monsters grow in bands of low gravity.“
Yep, the sun raises and sets six times a day. That was unusual. So, because the days were so short, people decided to lump three of them together, to make a longer day?
The magic system is fascinating, I really liked the visuals through The Slack and the concept of the Mechanics.
‘Nuff said, off to find the twin novella…