Tensorate: The Black Tides of Heaven – J.Y. Yang
Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as children. While Mokoya developed her strange prophetic gift, Akeha was always the one who could see the strings that moved adults to action. While his sister received visions of what would be, Akeha realized what could be. What’s more, he saw the sickness at the heart of his mother’s Protectorate.
A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down and preserve the power of the state. Unwilling to continue to play a pawn in his mother’s twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step away from his sister Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond he shares with his twin sister?
I read this because the cover, by Yuko Shimizu, is really cool. Also the reviews are mostly 5 or 4 stars. My reaction echoes that of those who gave fewer stars.
This is a highly original novella that presented a world that works on nature magic to power technology, where people are genderless until they confirm their chosen gender and where matriarchy is the norm. The story follows the twins, Mokoya and Akeha from childhood, teens to adulthood. The twins were sent to a monastery as bargaining chips by their mother, the Protector. They learned to use the Slack, the magic system of the Tensorate world, which is probably similar to qi. Mokoya then revealed her prophetic gift and the twins were soon returned to the Protectorate palace. When they were almost 17, Mokoya confirmed she was a girl and the issue of gender identity was explored.This is the part of the story that was interesting and well-developed.
The second half of the story follows Akeha as he struck out on his own and got entangled with the Machinists. Here, things happened but I didn’t really care much about them because they just sort of happened and not elaborated upon. Generally, I felt the story had a lot of interesting ideas and plot threads but lacked details or follow up. I love the authenticity of having an Asian author create an Asian-based world and this book could have been up there with the great ones had the entire Tensorate world been more fleshed out.
3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it