Monday, July 17, 2023

Review: The Sun and the Void by Gabriela Romero Lacruz


The Sun and the Void (The Warring Gods #1) by Gabriela Romero Lacruz
Publication Date: July 25th, 2023
Paperback. 511 pages.

About The Sun and the Void:

"In a lush world inspired by the history and folklore of South America, a sweeping epic fantasy of colonialism, ancient magic, and two young women's quest for belonging unfolds.

Reina is desperate.

Stuck living on the edges of society, her only salvation lies in an invitation from a grandmother she’s never known. But the journey is dangerous, and prayer can’t always avert disaster.

Attacked by creatures that stalk the region, Reina is on the verge of death until her grandmother, a dark sorceress, intervenes. Now dependent on the Doña’s magic for her life, Reina will do anything to earn—and keep—her favor. Even the bidding of an ancient god who whispers to her at night.

Eva Kesare is unwanted.

Illegitimate and of mixed heritage, Eva is her family’s shame. She tries her best to be perfect and to hide her oddities. But Eva is hiding a secret: magic calls to her.

Eva knows she should fight the temptation. Magic is the sign of the dark god, and using it is punishable by death. Yet, it’s hard to deny power when it has always been denied to you. Eva is walking a dangerous path, one that gets stranger every day. And, in the end, she’ll become something she never imagined.

The Sun and the Void is a story with a strong premise and start, but excessive amounts of dense info-dumping and a struggling storyline prevented the story from becoming something a bit more special for me. This book was very hit and miss for me at various points of the story. I really wanted to love this book and still think it's a very solid fantasy, but unfortunately it just wasn't executed as well as I'd like it to have been. 

The premise of The Sun and the Void is fascinating and follows protagonists Reina and Eva, two women living very different lives in very different places–though they aren't without their similarities, as both have trains of races that are deemed unacceptable in their current societies. We are introduced to a world in which certain races of people are slowly being eradicated to varying extents in different locations, and we get a glimpse into how both Reina and Eva are treated in their own societies. Reina is drawn into working with her grandmother on a task that centers on some fairly dark tasks, while Eva is forced to determine how to balance her interest in magic with the fact that magic is publicly denounced where she lives. 

The story follows a split narrative between Reina and Eva, and I'll admit that I sometimes struggled to tell these two apart based on their individual voices alone. I really liked getting to follow Reina in particular on her journey because she goes through some fairly intense experiences in this book, and I found Eva also compelling in how she was learning to navigate her own struggles. Despite this interest, that was pretty much where a lot of my curiosity about these characters ended, as I didn't find myself all that invested in their storylines overall and honestly found them both slightly grating by the end of the book. 

I struggled a lot with the plotting in this book, and I think it's largely because there seemed to be a lot of world-building and backstories and additional information that the author wanted to input into the story and the plot as it stood just did not hold up to that much detail and complexity. The plotting also felt a little up and down in terms of consistency and importance, and it felt as though there were often a lot of different questions or plot points mentioned that didn't really end up having a satisfying execution or conclusion to fully answer those. Since this is the start of a series, I'm sure some of this could be addressed in later books, but it still just didn't quite work for me in this book. 

Because of these plotting issues, I found the pacing quite inconsistent as well. The story started off strong with exciting introductions to both Reina and Eva and I found myself excited to see how the story would continue. Unfortunately, these exciting starts were quickly brought to a halt as the pacing slowed and almost ground to a halt as things were slowly explained to readers and the overall plot of the story had to be introduced. There would be moments throughout the book where I found myself actively engaged and looking forward to what was next, but these were almost as constant as the times when I found myself having to push myself through the book when I was starting to lose interest in slower-paced moments. It felt like there was a lot of filler and scenes that could have been edited out. 

As I've mentioned, there was a lot of world-building and background that was presented in this story, and while this had the potential to create a really lush and vivid world, something about it felt just a bit too overdone and forced to where it didn't feel like it worked cohesively with the rest of the story. I wanted to really love this world and fall into the extensive lore the author has created, but I just couldn't ever get into it because of how disconnected it all felt. It was a little frustrating since I found the setting itself really interesting and did want to know more about this world, but the execution of it just didn't seem to work out for me. I also felt like the magic system could have been developed slightly more, but that is something that I would honestly expect to have an even stronger in future books. 

Lastly, I just want to mention that despite all of the issues I had with The Sun and the Void, I did really enjoy the author's writing style and think that there is a lot of potential for growth with her work. Some of the excessive world-building or descriptions may. not have worked for the pacing of the story, but they were still well-written and had a distinct style to them that I could see working well for other stories by this author in the future. 

Overall, I've given The Sun and the Void three stars. This is a really solid fantasy for anyone who enjoys some in-depth backgrounds and compelling overall storyline, but I didn't really connect with it all that well myself.  I will probably check out the sequel to see if any of the issues I had with this book are resolved int he next one, and I'd certainly be curious about any other future books from Gabriela Romero Lacruz as well. 

*I received a copy of The Sun and the Void courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon |

1 comment:

  1. I need to start this, I'm so behind with my July books. But now I'm a little worried and hesitant! It's such a long book, and if you struggled with the plot and pacing, I might have the same issues you did...