The Sun and The Void

By Gabriela Romero Lacruz

The Sun and The Void, a novel by Gabriela Romero Lacruz
Book details

For a long time, the Fantasy genre felt very Western European. So many of the fantasy worlds seemed to be based on a version of Medieval Europe, but that has not been the case for some time now. It does not take much searching to find a book that very much still feels like fantasy but has a different sense of time and place. Gabriela Romero Lacruz’s The Sun and the Void has the same DNA as Tolkien and the likes, but also brings its own South American take to the genre, inspired by the folklore. A world of magic with a different feel. 

Reina and Eva are two young women trapped in their situation. Reina has nothing and has risked all on an invitation to visit her mysterious grandmother. Eva should be respected, but her illegitimacy and mixed heritage makes her a social pariah. Both women want their lives to change for the better and in doing so will change the landscape of the entire country. As the Gods begin to rise from their slumber Reina and Eva will play a pivotal role. 

As a genre, fantasy has a lot of tropes. They are comfortable and you want a few of them in the story so that you feel that you are reading the right book for you. At its centre, Sun reads like a classic fantasy story of two coming of age characters. It reminded me of the chunky epics of the late 80s and 90s. A sense of High Fantasy and bright magics, but this is also a book of 2023. 

Misogyny has often played a part in the genre, but just seen as a given. The female characters are placed in lesser roles, one or two get to play a significant role. Lacruz has placed the female characters central from Reina and Eva, but also the likes of the grandmother. However, the author does not play down the hardships that they must go through. There is a lot of repression to go through before Reina and Eva can rise. This makes their ascension all the sweeter. 

As well as exploring the role of male dominance, Lacruz also uses the book to explore class and racism. This is a world not just of humans, but of Valcos. In some places the Valco are in charge, but in many they are persecuted to near extinction. Reina and Eva find themselves dealing with this persecution and eventually use it help fuel their power. 

Another traditional element that Lacruz brings to the story, but adds a South American spin, is the magical structure. For more people, the use of magic requires a rare element to help power it. Who controls the source, controls the power. There is a sense of light to the story, not just in tone, but the colours feel brighter. 

At over 500 pages, this is a proper fantasy epic. With nominally two main characters it is a deeper study than many books in the genre. There are epic action sequences and magic, but it feels more a personal journey of growth. Lacruz has used the format to build some interesting characters and explore fantasy concepts that are often present but swept into the background. Sun is a different type of fantasy but feel very much of the genre. There is plenty here to entertain the fan of fantasy, but those who like character and relationship development will get the most from the book.  

Written on 19th September 2023 by .

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