Reviews

El sol y el vacío by Gabriela Romero Lacruz

shottel's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.25

Oh, how much I wanted to like this book more. And yet, unless you’re a fan of the fantasy genre specifically, or perhaps of South American-inspired settings, I couldn’t recommend it to you.

Let’s start with what went well: The setting. One of my favorite fictional settings I’ve encountered in a long time. I’m a huge sucker for religious themes and topics, which weigh heavy on the plot. I personally haven’t read much inspired by South America, so it was refreshing and new to me to see a fiction book draw heavily on its history and culture. I might read the sequel just for further worldbuilding.

Additionally, I felt the one-on-one fights were excellent. Clear and visceral. I’ve read more than a few good novels with confusing, poorly wrote fights that drag down the whole thing.

Now, what didn’t go well: The characters. There are two main protagonists in this novel. I deeply disliked them both. One of them is self-righteous, to the point of overlooking her own deeply heinous actions; the other is cowardly and perpetually impulsive, an awful mix that made for a character that repeatedly made her own situation worse and regretted it moments later. That’s not enjoyable to read. It’s frustrating. At times, I was rooting against both of them.

To make matters worse, there was only one character in the book I felt was compelling, and the author hid away his motives until about 80% of the way through the book. When his backstory got more detail I was actually frustrated because it made him deeply interesting. I would’ve greatly preferred reading the entire novel from his perspective. That’s notable, because I read this novel in part because I love sapphic women leads, but I now wish the book was about the straight guy.

The other thing I felt went poorly was the fights that weren’t one-on-one. Most notably, there is a particular large battle in the second half which comes off as incredibly lackluster. Startlingly so, in fact, given how much I felt the one-on-one fights were great. Generously, it felt like reading a college freshman’s attempt in a creative writing class that got a B-.

All in all, I only recommend this book if you’re a fantasy genre fan or want some more South American in your fiction. Otherwise, spend your time elsewhere, because if the setting won’t carry it for you, then characters definitely won’t.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

rosehhreads's review against another edition

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1.0

incest?? in the year of 2023?? no thank you.

thaumatologist's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

I really enjoyed this book! I found parts of the first half a little hard to follow (which is probably a me problem, as an audiobook listener with an auditory processing disorder), but I found the world to be lush and well crafted with an interesting plot to keep things moving. 

This book really shines in the characters, though. They are complex and flawed and real in a way I typically don't expect in a fantasy novel; I wouldn't classify the characters as "likable" per se, but I always found them compelling. They do some awful, awful things to other characters and are generally unreliable narrators, but they have the depth to make their actions understandable if not appealing. By the end, I was rooting for them to make better choices than they had up to that point. 

Did they? Well, I think it's worth the read to find out. 

kiana_reads's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

thoughtsstained's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging emotional mysterious sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.75

Full review posted at Thoughts Stained With Ink:

The Sun and the Void by Gabriela Romero Lacruz was another book where I knew almost nothing about it going into it. I honestly wanted to read it because I am friends with the agent who represents this author, so I try to support their authors' books! Getting to support a female Venezuelan author had me extra excited.

Though it took me a while to get through it, I ended up enjoying The Sun and the Void!

Overall, I enjoyed The Sun and the Void! Despite taking a second to get into it, by the end, I was really annoyed when work meetings interrupted the final few hours of the audiobook. I'm excited to see what happens next in the sequel, I think coming out in January of next year? 

julesgalgan's review against another edition

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  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

2.0

jackofcats's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional hopeful mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

wordly_and_toggs's review against another edition

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adventurous dark medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

2.5

dusksolace's review against another edition

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adventurous dark slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

overall enjoyed the story enough to finish it without any struggle - I never got bored and was consistently interested to know what was gonna happen next but ultimately it felt lackluster at the end.

the characters were the strength for me, I liked how flawed they all were, and there was some really great worldbuilding too. It loses points though with the plot.

it started to fall apart for me when the big plot twist/reveal was supposed to be that
the ritual doesn't just require a bit of blood from the 9 damas, it requires them to be sacrificed entirely.
which I honestly thought was a fact that all of the characters knew from the beginning and at least cleared up confusion as to why
no one seemed to think it was *that* big of a deal that Celeste was the 9th dama.

If the characters had in fact known the extent of the ritual, and Celeste being the 9th dama was the major plot twist, that would have worked so much better.


I'm also still trying to figure out why Enrique, who was a major character throughout the entire book suddenly disappears and becomes irrelevent towards the end.
Why was he not there for the ritual? Why is this not explained further than "Doña Usulina had him fooled too :/". Like the author couldn't be bothered to think his character arc through at the end, and ended up making his existence from the start completely pointless.
 

The author had a lot of strong ideas but ultimately fumbled them in the final act, unable to tie the many interconnecting characters and plots together neatly. 

theflowerchild25's review against another edition

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adventurous slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0