Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

The basics

Title: Black Sun


Series: Between Earth and Sky #1

- Black Sun (2020)
- Fevered Star (2022)

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Goodreads Summary:

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.

Read a full summary of Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse below. If you can’t remember what happened in Black Sun and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

what happened in Black Sun?

  • Serapio’s mother is convinced he’s going to be the crow god, and so she gets him to look into the eclipse to blind him and then sews his eyes shut. I’m sure this makes sense to her… Afterwards, she acts as a human sacrifice, and Serapio’s father is too ashamed and upset to look at him so he leaves him in the care of others.
    ~ time jump ~
  • Ten years later, a Teek woman called Xiala is in jail. She’s about to go down for a serious crime when Lord Balam frees her. He wants her to take some cargo (spoiler, it’s Serapio) to Tova in record time. He provides a ship and a crew, so Xiala agrees.
  • The ship sets off. They stop for the night and Serapio tries to join them. He really creeps them out so Xiala takes them back to the ship. They bond a little, and it turns out Serapio isn’t all that weird.
  • Xiala can sing, btw, which means she can somewhat control storms and the water.
  • Naranpa used to be a beggar in the Maw, but has now risen through the ranks of the priesthood. She’s a very important woman in Tova. She was also in a relationship with her bodyguard, Iktan, but that’s now over.
  • The priesthood are preparing to fast for the Convergence, but someone is trying to kill Naranpa which is Not Good. One assassination attempt is thwarted, but there are probably more to come.
  • Xiala bonds with her crew a little and they start to trust her. She takes over the rowing so the men can rest, and they’re all very impressed. This raises their spirits, as they realise they might be in with a chance of getting to Tova on time.
  • Serapio shares a little of his childhood. He was trained to fight from a young age.
  • The matron of the Carrion Crow clan dies, and word reaches her son Okoa. He heads into Tova to speak to the priesthood. Initially he’s unimpressed but then he realises he quite likes Naranpa and she seems sensible. He goes to shake her hand, but Iktan takes that as an attempt on Nara’s life and xe stabs him.
  • Thankfully he manages to get away.
  • Meanwhile, on the sea, things aren’t going so well. There’s a massive storm and a crew member dies. Xiala is blamed for this because other crew members saw her turn into a freakin’ mermaid.
  • The crew lock Xiala up with Serapio because they think she’s dangerous. They realise they can’t get to Tova without her, though, so they beg for her help. She refuses. Serapio then kills a bunch of them using cool crow powers. Good, because I was sick of them too.
  • Naranpa is demoted via a vote from the priesthood. Iktan also voted for this.
  • Serapio talks to a person named Powageh in a flashback. Powageh is Balam’s cousin, and Powageh explains that Balam and Saaya were getting it on. Saaya was obsessed with getting rid of the Sun Priest, and Balam has blood magic so it seemed a nice fit.
  • Powageh explains that Serapio is the vessel for the crow god. Odo Sedoh is his true name.
  • Naranpa goes back to the Maw and goes to find her brother. He asks a witch to protect his sister. The most the witch can do is allow Naranpa to call her name and she’ll come to help.
  • Serapio and Xiala grow closer. They reach the port, and Xiala shows Serapio around a bit. He really likes hot chocolate. They stay with a family who’s descended from the Carrion Crows, so the old guy knows who Serapio is.
  • Word of Serapio’s presence reaches Okoa.
  • We learn that the matron of the Carrion Crow clan actually died in the river, not in her bed like we thought. Something is afoot…
  • Xiala realises what Serapio is here to do. He’s going to take out the priesthood, because he believes it’s his duty. She gets upset. Serapio gets her off.
  • Serapio goes to fulfil the prophecy. He kills pretty much everyone, it seems. Okoa, having heard of his arrival, goes to save him. Okoa also has a massive crow btw who helps him. Okoa takes an unconscious (we think) Serapio away, leaving lots of bodies in their wake.
  • Meanwhile, Naranpa is thrown into the river and possibly dies. The witch comes for her and she is dragged out of the river a few hours after she was thrown in. It’s not clear whether she can be revived or not.

That was our recap of what happened in Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse. Check out our recap list for more plot summaries, and if you can’t find what you need you can request a recap here!

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