Title / The Black Tide of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune
Author / JY Yang
Publication Date / 2017
Overall Star Rating / ★★★.5
The Black Tides of Heaven (236 pages) 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 (213 pages).
First of all I using two novellas is quite an interesting way to introduce us to this new world. Despite it being a novella though it covers alot of ground. You guys probably know by now that I love good world building and although this definitely lays the foundation of a fantastic world, it doesn’t quite pull through on the delivery. Yang, who identifies as non-binary, has created a unique world where everyone is born genderless and choose their gender later in life. I enjoyed this aspect of this world as it’s not something that I’ve come across in many (if any) fantasy books I’ve read. I think it is so important to see every part of our society reflected in the books we read so I loved this aspect of these novellas, However I think the world itself could have done with more depth. In my opinion it was just used as a back drop, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I prefer more exploration of fantasy worlds. I want to know more about the world and how it operates. You don’t get a good grasp of the world, in my opinion and there is so much potential for it. There were a few times throughout both novellas that I was confused because I didn’t understand the world or the magic system. Both needed more depth. Consequently I found that I couldn’t become fully immersed in the story or world. The focus is definitely set more on the characters, specifically the two twins and their relationship with each other. The sections that focus on this are definitely the most fleshed out. I really enjoyed seeing these characters grow and change, and see their relationship develop. If you like quite character driven fantasy stories, then these novellas may be worth checking out. The characters are generally well written, although I would say that there are perhaps too many characters at times. There are many interesting characters but that’s both a good and a bad thing. Due to the shortness of these novellas you can’t really get a lot of depth from the characters. I especially wanted to know more about Sonami – I thought she was a really intriguing character. I did think that overall the characters were well written and I especially enjoyed the twins relationship develop. The plot was a good but again could have had more depth. It skips time quite a bit and there were quite a few things that could have been explored more but wasn’t due to the size. Basically in some ways I think this may have worked better as a full length book, instead of novella. However I do quite like the idea of using novellas as a way of introducing readers to a new world because it does kind of leave you wanting more.
Overall I thought these two novellas were great. I really liked the concept but I think the execution was perhaps a little lacking. Something just didn’t quite work for me. Part of me thinks that this may have been better if it was a full length novel because then there would be more time to fully explore things. The other part thinks that using novellas is quite an interesting way to introduce us to this world. Right now I am definitely interested in continuing with this series and I would recommend checking these novellas out. Have you guys read these? What did you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.