Around the World for a Good Book selection for Singapore
Author: Neon Yang
Title:The Black Tides of Heaven
Narrator: Nancy Wu
Publication Info: ©2017 Neon Yang (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
Akeha and Mokoya are the twin youngest children of the cruel and dictatorial Protector. In The Protector’s empire, people called Tensors are able to control elemental forces using a magical skill known as slackcraft.The Protector’s control of the Tensors enables her absolute rule. Children in the Tensorate are raised without gender with physical differences suppressed by slackcraft. When they come of age they can confirm their gender.
The twins are initially raised at a monastery until The Protector learns that Mokoya has developed a gift of prophecy and forces them to return to the empire. Akeha flees to aid a nascent revolutionary moment while Mokoya tries to avoid having their mother abuse their gift. All of this builds to a final confrontation with the lingering question, can Akeha and Moyoka defeat their mother without succumbing to her dependence on violence.
This book falls into a genre called silkpunk, fantasy fiction that draws on aspects of Asian antiquity with more modern technological elements. I can’t say that I quite “get” it but it is a unique and interesting novella.