Tensorate #2: The Red Threads of Fortune by J.Y. Yang

Read: 11 June, 2018

One of my complaints about The Black Tides of Heaven is that the story was something of a whirlwind – we were whisked through the lives of Akeha and Mokoya, catching only glimpses along the way. This has been fixed in Red Threads, the entire plot of which takes place in only a handful of days. And while the goal of Black Tides was somewhat nebulous, Red Threads establishes its plot from the very first scene. It made for much tighter story.

I loved the exploration of gender in Black Tides, in which each character is gender neutral until they choose their gender for themselves. With that already established, we get a look at how imposed identity can clash with self-identity, as Rider is misgendered by another character.

Red Threads spent a lot more time delving into the magic system (the ‘Slack’) and how it works. It was nice to get a bit more detail, and I especially liked that different cultures might have completely different understandings of the same magic.

My main complaint is the same as it was for Black Tides – so much of the story could be explored in much more depth. I want to know more about Rider, I want to know more about their past, I want to know more about what Mokoya is thinking… Things happen, and it’s clear that Yang has a much bigger story imagined in their head, but those details just don’t seem to be making it down onto the page. So while I’ve enjoyed every bit of this series that I’ve read, I’m frustrated that the world isn’t coming to life for me the way it clearly is for the author.

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Tensorate #1: The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang

Read: 13 February, 2018

I loved this story for all the things it does differently – for its setting, for its take on gender, for its take on homosexual relationships, etc.I just wish that the author had taken more time with it all.

This is a short enough story as it is, made even shorter as we are whisked along on a whirlwind tour of the first 35 years of Akeha and Mokoya’s lives. The scenes we are privy to are important, but so much of the character development happens off-screen.

This is a fantastic start, but the series needs a lot more exploration. I hope that there’ll be more details filled in by the sequels, because this story has a lot of potential.

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