This is a spoiler free review of The Black Coast, a new adult fantasy series that was released on 16th February!
➸ adult fantasy
➸ published in 2021
➸ content warnings: violence, gore, death, misogyny, homophobia
☆ ATMOSPHERE: 5
☆ WRITING STYLE: 5
☆ PACING: 4
☆ CHARACTERS: 5
☆ PLOT: 4
☆ ENJOYABILITY: 5
☆ INSGIHTFULNESS: 4
When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them, for they know who is coming: for generations, Black Keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Iwernia. Saddling their war dragons, the Naridans rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own homeland by the rise of a daemonic despot who prophesies the end of the world, they have come in search of a new home. Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the cross-fire of the coming war for the world – if only its new mismatched society can survive.
The Black Coast is a refreshing fantasy with the fascinating concept of two cultures attempting to work together and maintain peace. However, there are plenty of threats, betrayals, plotting and battles to keep you entertained, as well as the complex array of characters. This didn’t feel like a 600+ page book at all, and I could have kept reading about this world for much longer.
We follow a vast range of characters, all with different beliefs, attitudes and motivations. The main POVs are:
Tila: sister to the Naridan God-King with a secret persona
Saana: a Tjakorshan chief of the Brown Eagle Clan, looking to settle in new land
Daimon: adopted son of the lord of Blackcreek, a Naridan village
Rikkut: a fearsome Tjakorsha warrior
Jeya: a thief living in Alaban
The only thing that stopped me from giving this a full 5 stars was the POVs. It was hard to adjust to the switch in POVs at points, especially when not with Saana and Daimon, who have the biggest POVs and therefore we have the biggest investment in. However, I was genuinely invested in or at least intrigued by every single character, and it was interesting to see how everyone was connected to each other. Most of all though, I loved the interactions, particularly between the Tjakorshans and Naridans in Blackcreek. Their cultural differences were explored through language, beliefs and customs, and both sides grew to accept but also challenge certain notions like gender roles and sexuality. The gender system was unique, and there are also lots of queer side characters and relationships, although I wish there was a queer main character too.
The Black Coast is both a character and plot driven story. While there is an emphasis on individual characters and their interactions, there is plenty of action, and we also get a glimpse of wider politics and the looming threat of largescale war. This is a great first book in the series, with lots of intriguing subplots to follow and many different directions open to take next. I can’t wait to read more!
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