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The Never Tilting World

by Rin Chupeco

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2166102,959 (3.58)None
A world split between day and night. Two sisters who must unite it. The author of The Bone Witch kicks off an epic YA fantasy duology perfect for fans of Furyborn. Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon--until one sister's betrayal split their world in two. A Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in eternal night, the other scorched beneath an ever-burning sun. While one sister rules the frozen fortress of Aranth, her twin rules the sand-locked Golden City--each with a daughter by their side. Now those young goddesses must set out on separate, equally dangerous journeys in hopes of healing their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands. Told from four interweaving perspectives, this sweeping epic fantasy packs elemental magic, star-crossed romance, and incredible landscapes into a spectacular adventure with the fierce sisterhood of Frozen and the breakneck action of Mad Max: Fury Road.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I have waited obscenely long to read this book. Multiple requests for the ARC got rejected and while sometimes I lose interest in a book when that happens, it wasn’t the case here. Rin Chupeco has become a favorite author of mine this year and there was no way I wasn’t gonna read this book immediately after its release. And I can’t tell you how happy I am that I wasn’t let down.

This world is brilliantly conceived. As a land that has stopped turning and has literally been cleaved into two, the effect this has on the world itself as well as the people is described with stark detail. The half with perpetual sun is basically a desert with even the strong rays of the sun too dangerous for people to be exposed to, the waters drying up in a way that leads to unprecedented droughts and deaths of creatures leaving very few sources of food remaining. The other half is endless night, with unbearable cold and oceans and ice encroaching on the remaining land that is left. There are also acid rains, sand seas, rivers and seas changing course and various other disasters, which make survival the only thing important in this world.

The origin and basis of the magic system is pretty unique, even though the powers that each person possesses are pretty standard for a fantasy novel. I can’t go much into detail because I don’t think I can really explain it properly and maybe you should find it out yourself. However, the myriad of creatures, some sweet, some motivated and some hostile are all wonderfully described and I really dreaded every time a new one showed up. There really were some very monstrous creatures and I think the author captured the horror of them very well.

The writing style of the author is definitely something that you need to get a bit used to. Just like The Bone Witch trilogy, you are either going to completely fall in love or not like it much at all - and you can obviously guess which side I fall on. The author definitely doesn’t believe in info dumps at all, so while we get to know the issues faced by the people in the world right from the beginning, the reason for the breaking of world and the mythology behind the story of the goddesses is revealed very slowly. The only thing that slightly miffed me was that we really didn’t get answers even by the end of the book, and while I’ll surely read the sequel, I just wish we had gotten some more revelations.

The pacing of the story is steady but mostly on the slower side, with some interesting action sequences in between which thrilled me a lot. This book has one of my favorite tropes - a quest - and I really enjoyed the journeys the characters took across the two vastly different but consistently dangerous landscapes. We get 4 different POVs and the author does a wonderful job giving each of them very distinct voices and making me fall in love with all of them. The audiobook also has a full cast production, which made for a great listening experience. I actually read and listened to this book alternately and I loved both ways of enjoying it.

The characters are another strong point of the story and it always gives me immense pleasure when I end up liking all of them. Odessa is the young goddess of the darker side of the world, while Haidee is from the desert side. They both have been brought up very differently but by very similar strict mothers, with Odessa isolated most of her life due to her chronic illness and Haidee a very talented mechanika (despite her mother’s distaste for it). But they both are inherently compassionate human beings who decide to do something to save their world and set out on very similar and perilous journeys. Odessa is also a romance novel lover and it was adorable to see her try to understand the mechanics of seduction by applying whatever she read in her books. Haidee on the other hand is very competent and practical, but jumps into things headlong without worrying too much about what might happen next.

Lan is a former ranger who suffers from ptsd and is tasked with being Odessa’s bodyguard. They have a kind of established relationship from before the book starts, so it was nice to see it grow and change based on circumstances and also the push and pull due to the power imbalance. Lan is very honorable and her struggle to accept the trauma of her past and realize that it’s okay to sometimes ask for help is very painfully but realistically depicted, and I thought it was amazing to see some kind of therapy sessions happening in a fantasy world.

Arjun on the other hand is a desert nomad who is very skilled at doing whatever it takes to survive and wants to kill Haidee because he assumes she is responsible for the breaking of the world and all his people’s troubles. But it’s obvious from the start that they are destined to be together and it was especially their banter that made for some lighthearted moments in an otherwise intense book. They also make for great partners when fighting off creatures hell bent on murdering them and I lived for those scenes. Arjun seems like a grumpy dude in the beginning but he really is a softie and there are some adorable heartwarming moments in the story between him, Haidee and a group of golugongs and I just wanted to give them all a hug.

Right from the cover to the premise, it’s obvious that this book’s main theme is a direct parallel to the climate change emergency of our world. It really showcases how an entire world can be devastated just because a few in power get greedy for more of it. And how in such catastrophic conditions, those with more resources will essentially shut off relief for anyone they deem unworthy. The author’s note about her own experiences with climate disasters in Philippines really makes for a chilling read and gives the book a whole different perspective. It’s mostly a call to action to everyone to do their part in preventing this devastation from proceeding any further.

There is also a whole subplot about verbal/physical abuse by superiors over their subordinates and I think the author gives us a lot to think about with the way she handled this part of the story - if we get to punish our abusers in the same way they abused us, is it really justice and are we really any different from them? Where is the line really between justice and retribution and what is it that prevents us from becoming abusers too?

If you love books with excellent ensemble of diverse characters, a very complex world and some adorable romances, then you should pick this up. If you have previously enjoyed the Bone Witch trilogy, you’ll probably like this a lot too. If like me, you are fan of characters going on physical as well as metaphorical quests, then this book is a perfect choice for you. The audiobook is also excellently narrated, and I loved listening to a full cast. The book however can be a bit slow, so maybe keep that in mind before you dive into it. I may not be entirely satisfied with the ending, but I really loved the journey this book took me on and I’m already upset that I’ve got to wait a very long while to see how it all ends. ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
I remember the world back when it was soft and good, where I could watch the sun set before stars graced the sky with their shine. Do you know what I would give to see a sunset again, lad?

Marketing is so weird. Frozen? Hardly. Mad Max, sure, if Mad Max invented cobbled-together dune buggies. Instead it didn't really fit into anything I'd ever read before.

At least what I got from it was a high-octane road trip adventure, in a uniquely magical world, with two pairs of POVs belonging to some fantastic characters. And also, that amazing cover, gahhh.

The Never Tilting World follows Lan & Odessa (part-bodyguard, part-healer & chronically ill cinnamon bun goddess being chaotic lesbians together), as well as a second pair, Haidee & Arjun (big mechanics nerd with too much heart for her body & cranky rogue-type being REALLY SWEET TOGETHER WOW). Both pairs are journeying to the place where eternal-day and eternal-night meet. On the way they meet hoards of monsters, spooks, storms, and overall mortal danger.

This was especially inventive which I loved the most. It felt like a D&D campaign mixed with a book because of the outlandish monsters, travelling format, and magic system just fit for a D20. You're thrown right into the magic system and world with scant explanation, but I kind of enjoy scrabbling for purchase when it comes to that: that follows for the rest of the book's lore and rituals and the whole goddess thing, so hold on tight.

It was also a fantastic character book! Precious beans, all of them.

Only complaint was the long bit of slogging in the middle, which spilled into some big character moments that didn't quite feel earned. It's minor though, and there was enough fun along the way for me to be distracted from that, and the ending payoff was still really exciting.

Again, I feel the dread of reading such early ARCs - I'm gonna have to wait FOREVER for the next book!! Still, I was super grateful and excited to get my hands on this one, and it didn't disappoint. ( )
  Chyvalrys | Aug 5, 2020 |
The Never-Tilting World by Rin Chupeco is the rare young adult fantasy novel that I did not devour nor really enjoy. The story never fully grabbed my attention, and there was no emotional connection to any of the characters. For a genre that I adore, the entire book is disappointing.

One of the problems lies in the fact that I only liked one of the heroines. I feel like one is much more sympathetic a character, less spoiled and selfish, and therefore more tolerable. Considering the story shifts between the two heroines, only enjoying half the story is going to be an issue.

Another problem is that I feel like there are not enough answers. Even more frustrating is that none of the narrators provide us additional insight into the events before or as they occur. Readers receive none of the benefits of being an outside observer when all of the narrators are figuring things out at the same time as the reader.

In a similar vein, there is not enough actual world-building. Ms. Chupeco leaves most of this to casual mentions, which means that for a large portion of the novel, readers must piece together the clues to build this world. While I enjoy natural world-building within a narrative, I do not feel Ms. Chupeco did a credible job of achieving this, which left me more confused longer than I feel I should have been.

As such, I would be perfectly okay had this been a standalone novel. Unfortunately, The Never-Tilting World is the first novel in an as-yet-unfinished duology. Given my lack of interest in the general story and disregard for one of the main characters, I am okay with this being one series I do not finish.
  jmchshannon | Apr 9, 2020 |
This is the first book in The Never Tilting World series by Chupeco. I have read all of Chupeco’s other books and loved some of them but didn’t love others. I am kind of mixed on this one. I thought the world was really interesting. However, I didn't like how much jumping around there was between different characters and didn't think it worked well. I also thought a lot of the dialogue between characters sounded really awkward and forced.

This is set is a post-apocalyptic type of world but has a heavy fantasy feel to it. It switches POV between two young women and two young men. I found the world fascinating, it’s very “Mad Max” like with things like sandworms and desert marauders.

I had a lot of trouble staying engaged in the story though. The jumping around between the 4 different POVs was distracting and the two sisters sounded too similar in voice, I kept having to check to remember whose POV I was reading from.

Overall this was okay but not great. While it is a very creative world, I struggled a lot with staying engaged with the story and characters. I don’t plan on continuing the series. ( )
  krau0098 | Oct 11, 2019 |
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A world split between day and night. Two sisters who must unite it. The author of The Bone Witch kicks off an epic YA fantasy duology perfect for fans of Furyborn. Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon--until one sister's betrayal split their world in two. A Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in eternal night, the other scorched beneath an ever-burning sun. While one sister rules the frozen fortress of Aranth, her twin rules the sand-locked Golden City--each with a daughter by their side. Now those young goddesses must set out on separate, equally dangerous journeys in hopes of healing their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands. Told from four interweaving perspectives, this sweeping epic fantasy packs elemental magic, star-crossed romance, and incredible landscapes into a spectacular adventure with the fierce sisterhood of Frozen and the breakneck action of Mad Max: Fury Road.

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