Friday, January 15, 2021

Slay by Brittney Morris

Are you a fan of video games, or young adult fiction?  Then you need to check out Slay, Brittney Morris's debut novel.

In real life Kiera Johnson might be a quiet honors student but online she rules over SLAY, a massive game built on African beauty and culture.  No one knows that Kiera is the game developer- not her friends, not her family, not even her boyfriend.  She's happy to keep her worlds separate, but that becomes impossible when a murdered teen who played her game turns SLAY into a global controversy.  Now every news channel has an opinion on her work and one player is threatening to sue her over the game.  Can she protect her game and her secret identity without losing everything she's worked for?

This book is so much fun to read!  It's got the gutsy heart that makes any good YA novel great.  Morris also writes really wonderfully about nerd culture- the good, but also the bad that can come along with being Black and a girl in those spaces.  It's the kind of quick read that will suck you in, so it's perfect if you've made a new year's resolution to read more! 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

 

If you are a fan of high fantasy but you're looking for something a little outside the time-honored tropes of the genres, then you definitely need to check out Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse's epic first installment in a new series inspired by pre-Columbian America.

In the holy city Tova, the sun priest and her followers prepare for the celebration of the winter solstice.  A solar eclipse that will coincide with this festival promises to make this year a time of power and rebalancing the world, and forces swarm across the city waiting for a new world to be born.  At the same time a ship sets sail for Tova.  Its captain is a woman who can calm the seas with a song, and her single passenger is a young, blind pilgrim.  This traveler seems harmless, but as he and the eclipse close in on Tova, a dangerous destiny begins to converge as well.

This series has a lot to offer fans of epic fantasy novels, with its prophesies, intersecting character sagas, and innovative systems of magic.  Roanhorse also clearly set out to push at the boundaries of what you'd typically find in this genre.  As an indigenous writer she was very upfront about wanting to set a fantasy novel outside a typical, vaguely-European setting, and the world she created is so much fun to read about.  I liked the feeling of discovering a new place that you get from Black Sun, and each of the three main characters we follow has a story that I loved to bits.  I cannot wait for the sequel, and cannot recommend reading this enough!