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The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang
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The Black Tides of Heaven (2017)

by JY Yang

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tensorate (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Imaginative, and with great potential, but it felt a bit thin to me, the way some YA books can be, although I don't think of this as YA. I liked the plot and characters, but they just weren't fleshed out enough. Similarly, the language could get a bit repetitive. Half way through I started thinking about other books I could be reading instead, which means time to bail. I liked the author's novella [b:Waiting on a Bright Moon|35395539|Waiting on a Bright Moon|J.Y. Yang|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1497037300s/35395539.jpg|56763040] much better. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
Really enjoyed this! Fascinating magic system, wonderful characters and relationships. Good drama. Good action. Very queer, including nonbinary rep. Definitely reading more. ( )
  emeraldreverie | Nov 15, 2018 |
I read this book after [b:The Red Threads of Fortune|33099586|The Red Threads of Fortune (Tensorate #2)|J.Y. Yang|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1485291555s/33099586.jpg|53763118] although chronologically it comes first. Still, I don't think it impacted the overall experience for me.

While The Red Threads of Fortune is an intensely internal narrative, The Black Tides of Heaven is much more externally focused. We get a wider view of the world and its rules, its history and its conflicts. We follow the characters over decades of their lives, watching them grow and come into their own. The diverging paths of Mokoya and Akeha are illustrated with poignancy and care, and Akeha's struggle to define himself in a world over which he has little control, a world he finds more and more to be deeply, brokenly cruel is so wonderfully presented.

The way gender is explored in both novellas (but moreso in this one) is amazing and for me, a genderfluid person, seeing gender as something that isn't imposed by society but rather decided upon by the individual was incredibly validating and affirming. Akeha's discovery of his gender and even, in a strange way, his cruel and power-hungry mother's reaction was affirming and well-written representation of the many different ways gender can be explored in fiction.

I loved the worldbuilding so much, its depth and narrative relevance. I love the respect and care shown by the author to the characters. I loved the creativity, the originality, and the wonder present in this book and its companion.

I can't wait to finish the next in the series!! ( )
  ElleGato | Sep 27, 2018 |
The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang is one of the two standalone introductions to their Tensorate series. Both it and The Red Threads of fortune can be read independent of each other, but run parallel to each other. It's a fascinating construction for the start of a series, but I can't speak to how well it works yet, because so far I've only read one of the two books. Sorry guys!

What I can speak to, though, is Yang's storytelling mastery. The Black Tides of Heaven is a tightly woven book with compelling characters and beautifully strange worldbuilding. Akeha is a strong-yet-vulnerable character of the type I adore, and they way he relates to his twin, Mokoya, her husband, and later his own lover, are all strong and incredibly real-feeling. The fact that I cared so deeply about all of these characters and their relationships in a book that I could finish in a day is just a testament to how well Yang knows how to draw you in and pull on your heartstrings.

I love the conceit of magic as threads and tension, and adore the fact that each person in this civilization gets to choose their gender, and that some know it at an early age, and some have a hard time choosing even when they're approaching adulthood. It's so real, so wonderful, so necessary, to see a world where everyone has to think about their gender at least enough to choose it, and people don't have to live in bodies that make them appear to be a gender that they don't feel, instead of some blindly accepting the gender that they were both with, and some constantly feeling weird and wrong for questioning what they were born with. It's a beautiful background detail that I absolutely appreciate as someone who's just beginning to think that they might belong somewhere on the nonbinary scale. It's a balm to see a world where thinking about those questions is the norm, rather than abnormal.

That is to say that I loved this book, and found in it's stormy pages a little bit of peace, and a whole lot of wonder. I would definitely recommend this book.

This review was first posted on my blog. ( )
  VLarkinAnderson | Sep 24, 2018 |
2018 Hugo Awards Best Novella Nominee ( )
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yang, JYAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shimizu, YukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my queer family, who chill with me in the Slack
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 076539541X, Paperback)

The Black Tides of Heaven is one of a pair of unique, standalone introductions to JY Yang's Tensorate Series, which Kate Elliott calls "effortlessly fascinating." For more of the story you can read its twin novella The Red Threads of Fortune, available simultaneously.

Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as children. While Mokoya developed her strange prophetic gift, Akeha was always the one who could see the strings that moved adults to action. While his sister received visions of what would be, Akeha realized what could be. What's more, he saw the sickness at the heart of his mother's Protectorate.

A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down and preserve the power of the state. Unwilling to continue to play a pawn in his mother's twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step away from his sister Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond he shares with his twin sister?

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 31 Jan 2017 20:39:12 -0500)

"Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as infants. While Mokoya developed her strange prophetic gift, Akeha was always the one who could see the strings that moved adults to action. While Mokoya received visions of what would be, Akeha realized what could be. What's more, they saw the sickness at the heart of their mother's Protectorate. A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down and preserve the power of the state. Unwilling to continue as a pawn in their mother's twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step away from Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond they share with their twin?"--Publisher's description.… (more)

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