Sunday, December 16, 2018

Book: Jy Yang's "The Black Tides Of Heaven"

Every fantasy that I can recall reading have always been likely based on Eurocentric medieval culture.  Knights, sorcerers, kingdoms - that kind of stuff.  My latest read, Jy Yang's "The Black Tides of Heaven", comes at fantasy from an Asian perspective and was totally refreshing.

Along with the Asian angle, Jy Yang brings an interesting gender-centric view as well.  The author describes themselves as "a lapsed journalist, a former practicing scientist, and a master of hermitry. A queer, non-binary, postcolonial intersectional feminist [...]" {from the About The Writer section of the book}.  In the book characters choose their gender.  Once a gender is chosen, mages use magic and chemistry to physically change the person's body to the gender of their choice.

The book is the beginning of a series.  This book sets up a conflict between the magic users and the non-native users.  The book is almost self contained but there are many places the story can go.

The one confusing thing in the book is the use of pronouns.  The author uses they/them/their to refer to persons who have not chosen their gender.  While I read I often has to pause and think if they were referring to a single person or multiple people since 'they' often is used to refer to two or more people.  Once the main characters choose their gender the confusion dissipated.

I gave this book four stars out of five on Goodreads.  The different perspectives gave the story some freshness that I liked.

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