The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time
October 15, 2020 7:54 AM EDT

In author Neon Yang’s The Black Tides of Heaven, twins Akeha and Mokoya are sent by their mother, the leader of the Protectorate, to be raised in a far-away monastery. Initially inseparable, the twins’ paths begin to diverge as they grow into their abilities—both are gifted in the art of Slackcraft, a magic system that allows them to manipulate the natural world—and their individual identities. (In the world of the Protectorate, it is customary for children to choose their gender before becoming adults—but the certainty with which Mokoya makes her choice takes Akeha, who will choose to be male, by surprise.) The Hugo and Nebula-nominated novella has all the weight of an epic without the page count, but it’s worth noting that it’s not the only entry point into Yang’s richly-envisioned Tensorate series: Its twin, The Red Threads of Fortune, was published on the same day in 2017, and the duo can be read in any order. —Cate Matthews

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